One of them remarked how difficult it was to get a BTO flat in Singapore, having failed 3 times in a row.
“By the time I finally get my house and move in ah, already in my 40s liao!”
It is no secret how bidding for a new BTO flat can feel like a game of lottery.
And it’s almost like you’d empty all your good karma if you managed to get a good queue number for a popular BTO location.
We know that getting a BTO flat is difficult.
But have you ever wondered what’s the probability of getting a flat?
I came across this table done up by a redditor (@justastatistic) which provided a quick overview of the chances of getting a queue number for the last 10 BTO exercises.
That got me curious since I haven’t really seen such numbers tabulated before.
TL;DR: Probability of Getting an HDB BTO Flat Queue Number
In this article, we will be looking at numbers based on 4-room BTO flats.
|BTO Exercise||No. Of Units (Non-Mature Towns)||No. Of Applicants||Probability of Getting a Queue Number||Probability of Getting a Queue Number by This Round|
Source: Reddit, numbers edited by me for clarity
We are also assuming that all applicants have equal ballot chances, without additional benefits from priority schemes such as the first-time applicant scheme or the parenthood priority scheme.
The ballot chance is also averaged by using the total sum of units and applicants, which means that we are not taking into consideration any specific BTO project.
From the table above, we can see that there’s a 98.46% chance you’ll get your queue number if you’ve been unsuccessful for the past nine rounds.
This means that if you’ve gotten to that stage, there’s only 1.6% chance of failing to secure a unit.
You’d have spent $100 solely on application fees though…
And not every one of us would’ve had the stamina to stick to the BTO route till our tenth application.
Some might have hopped onto the resale train by then.
Probability of Getting an HDB BTO Flat Queue Number in a Mature Estate
We’ve just seen the success rates for a BTO flat in a non-mature estate.
Since mature estates are the usual hot spots for each BTO exercise, I decided to do similar calculations for the probability of getting a queue number for a mature estate as well.
|BTO Exercise||No. Of Units (Mature Towns)||No. Of Applicants||Probability of Getting a Queue Number||Probability of Getting a Queue Number by This Round|
As expected, the probability of getting an HDB BTO flat in a mature estate is lower given how popular these locations usually are.
If you’re someone who has been bidding for a flat in these zones for the past ten tries, there’s still a 16.3% chance that you wouldn’t get a queue number.
How Does the HDB BTO Application Ballot Work?
HDB manages HDB BTO applications through a computerised balloting system that randomly assigns you with a queue number.
You are then invited to book (or select) a flat based on the order of the queue number.
The smaller your queue number, the earlier you’re called up to book a flat.
And the earlier you can book a flat, it means the greater the selection of HDB units to choose from.
Oh, getting your queue number is only half the battle won…
If Your Queue Number is Within the Flat Supply of the BTO You Want
As long as the Ethnic Integration Policy (EIP) racial quota has not been met.
You have a chance of securing a flat.
If Your Queue Number Exceeds the Flat Supply of the BTO You Want
You need to pray that enough people drop out and decide not to book a flat.
Maybe they’re picky and can’t get the high floor or unit they want when it gets to their turn to pick.
Or they changed their minds and would rather go for an HDB Resale flat instead.
Either way, the EIP racial quota will still apply.
How To Increase Your Ballot Chances
Lucky for us, not all ballot chances are made equal.
We do have existing priority schemes that can increase our chances of getting a queue number.
Here are some that you can use to your advantage:
Ways to improve BTO ballot
|Priority Scheme||HDB BTO Flat Allocation||Things to Note|
|Apply for a non-mature estate as a First-Timer Applicant||First-timer Applicant with NO other priority schemes||10%|
(2-Room Flexi and 3-Room)
(4-Room and bigger)
|Some non-mature estates (and flat types eg. 5-Room) can be pretty popular too|
|Have kids||Parenthood Priority Scheme|
|30%||Not a reason to have children especially if you are not financially or emotionally ready for the commitment|
|Apply for the same BTO and be neighbours with your parents||Multi-Generation Priority Scheme|
Up to 15% of 2-Room Flexi or 3-Room flats
Corresponding number of 2-Room Flexi or larger flats
|Can only choose from preselected units which are spread across different blocks, and on both high and low floors
Shared queue number so everything must be done together (eg. signing of option, lease agreement and etc.)
|Live near (or with) your parents||Married Child Priority Scheme|
|30%||Your parents can't move for the time it takes for your BTO to be built + 5 years (until you reach MOP)|
|Have more than 2 children||Third Child Priority Scheme|
|5%||You must have at least 3 children to qualify and they all must continue living with you in the new flat (until you reach MOP)|
|For divorced or widowed persons with children||Assistance Scheme for Second-Timers (Divorced/ Widowed Parents)|
(2-Room Flexi and 3-Room in non-mature estates)
|Only applicable if your child is 18 years and below|
|For tenants of HDB rental flats wanting to purchase their own home||Tenants’ Priority Scheme|
(2-Room Flexi and 3-Room)
|Only applicable if you and your family have lived in an HDB public rental flat for at least 2 years
If you choose a 4-Room flat or bigger, this scheme will not be applicable
|For elderly||Senior Priority Scheme|
|Your parents or married child must continue to live within 4km (until you reach MOP)|
Also, if you have unsuccessful application attempts in non-mature estates, your total ballot chances will increase accordingly.
|Number of unsuccessful applications|
(for BTO in non-mature estates)
|Ballot chances accumulated as a first-timer applicant
(for BTO in non-mature estates)
|0 to 1||2|
And if you still can’t seem to get a flat after multiple tries…
Perhaps it’s time to take the HDB Resale flat route instead.