HDB home buyers now able to book balance flats at any time

From Tuesday (Jun 11), those looking to buy a balance flat from the Housing and Development Board (HDB) can view the online listing at any time of the year and book a flat as early as a day after making an application. 

This new option of an "open booking", first announced by National Development Minister Lawrence Wong in February, would allow more home buyers to move into their flats earlier, said HDB in a media release on Tuesday. 

Previously, potential home buyers would have to wait for the twice-yearly Sale of Balance Flats or Re-Offer of Balance Exercise to purchase unsold Build-to-Order flats. 

Under the first open booking, a total of 123 flats will be available, comprising 105 flats in mature towns such as Ang Mo Kio, Toa Payoh and Bukit Merah, as well as 18 flats in non-mature towns like Bukit Batok and Jurong West. 

Details are now available on HDB’s website and interested home buyers can apply from Jun 18. 

"The one-week period gives interested applicants time to gather information on the flats offered, before submitting their application," said HDB.

"Applicants will be able to select and book a flat on a first-come-first-served basis. During the flat selection appointment, applicants will be assessed for eligibility before they book a flat."

A fresh supply of Re-Offer of Balance Flats (ROF) will be made available for open booking twice a year - in February and August. To allow time for preparation, online applications will be suspended for about two weeks before each injection of new flats. 

"During each suspension, HDB will publish the dates for the next inject and when it will start accepting online applications, so that home buyers can plan ahead for their purchase," said HDB.

The ROF exercises, introduced in 2017 to help young couples get their first home sooner, have been popular with buyers.

Since August 2017, almost 3,400 units have been offered in ROF exercises, with about 3,000 households booking a flat. Of these, 1,850 households, or 62 per cent, have already collected the keys to their flats, HDB said.

“The new open booking of ROF flats, together with the existing sales modes, will provide more options for home buyers to find a flat that meets their budget and needs," said the housing board. 

"HDB will continue to monitor the response and make refinements to our sales processes where necessary.”