Better luck next time? Couple won't give up after 8 BTO attempts that allegedly failed

Better luck next time? Couple won't give up after 8 BTO attempts that allegedly failed
The couple first tried for Kebun Baru Edge in August 2020 (right).
PHOTO: Reddit/ValuablePie, HDB

Getting a BTO flat is a rite of passage for many Singaporeans.

Unfortunately, due to the overwhelming demand for public housing, some couples have found themselves in for a long wait. 

One couple, bummed about their failed Build-To-Order (BTO) attempts, complained on Reddit on Wednesday (Oct 12), the day that the BTO results were announced for the highly sought-after Central Weave @ AMK

The pair, who only wanted to be known as Vincent and Cheryl, told AsiaOne that this would be their eighth failed BTO attempt since 2020, excluding an unsuccessful application for a Sale of Balance Flat (SBF).

Some of the other BTO developments they said they had previously applied for include Kebun Baru Edge and Telok Blangah Heights. They also applied but were unsuccessful for a unit at Bishan Ridges under the SBF scheme. 

The couple, who have been dating for seven years, admitted that when they applied for their first BTO project Kebun Baru Edge, it was not in their dream location but was the "best in that batch". 

However, the first rejection letter left them feeling "dejected", said Vincent. 

"We knew the odds were against us but when it comes to visualising the place you stay in, it's very hard not to get romantic about it," he told AsiaOne. 


The couple, who are in their 20s, also declined to reveal their occupation. 

While every subsequent rejection letter wasn't easy to stomach, Vincent shared that they have since learnt to manage their expectations.

"For the ninth attempt, even though I was also in love with the place, I had eight prior reality checks and eight prior reminders of mathematically, how slim my chances were."

"So when we failed for the ninth time, it was very expected," he said, adding that he is now living with his parents in Jurong while his girlfriend is living with her parents in Woodlands. 

After his eighth rejection, Vincent said he contemplated attending a Meet-the-People session at his constituency to seek help but decided against it. 

"I thought about it and I realised that objectively, there is nothing exceptional about my then-eight successive failures, it's not like I have five kids.

"So, it didn't warrant the intervention or support of a Member of Parliament," he explained, adding that he has no regrets in abandoning that course of action. 

Biological clock is ticking

However, Vincent said that time isn't on their side because they would like to start a family soon. 

"What is looming is Cheryl's biological timer ticking away," explained Vincent, adding that the delays in getting a house have pushed back their plans of having a child by a few years. 

While there's always the resale route, Vincent said they "cannot stomach the current HDB resale market right now" in terms of prices. 


For now, Vincent said they will be trying for the Tengah project in the upcoming Nov 2022 ballot. 

But if their subsequent BTO attempts fail, they said they'll probably bite the bullet and source for an old resale unit near a primary school. 

More BTO flats for first-timers 

For aspiring flat owners, especially first-timers, there will be more BTO flats available in non-mature estates, starting with the BTO sales launch in August. 

The Ministry of National Development (MND) and the Housing Board said in August that at least 95 per cent of the four-room and larger BTO flats in these estates will be set aside for first-timer families, which is up from 85 per cent. 

The allocation quota for first-timer families for three-room flat supply in non-mature estates will also increase to at least 85 per cent, up from 70 per cent.

According to MND and HDB, the adjustments to the allocation quotas are to give first-timer applicants "greater certainty" in securing their first homes, as this group form the bulk of BTO applications. 

In a reply to a Straits Times forum letter in June, HDB said that they encourage flat buyers to apply for projects with low application rates to maximise their chances of securing a flat.

"These are generally BTO projects in non-mature estates, or BTO projects with a larger flat supply."

The Housing Board also said then that virtually all first-timer families have been invited to book a flat within their first three applications for a BTO flat in non-mature estates. 

"While there are applicants who have not been invited to book a flat despite multiple applications, these applications usually include those for BTO projects in mature estates or in Sale of Balance Flats exercises.

"No additional ballot chances are given for such applications due to the limited flat supply. Some may also have turned down an opportunity to book a flat," it added. 

Minister for National Development Desmond Lee said in Parliament earlier this month that the authorities will intervene and do what is needed, as seen in the latest property cooling measures, to keep public housing affordable for Singaporeans and ensure the property market is stable.

He also added that supply has also been increased in both the public and private housing markets amid demand, such as the ramping up of BTO flat supply.

ALSO READ: More young Singaporeans considering renting and flat sharing as they find current property prices too high: Study

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