'Whose idea is this?' Virtual queue on day 1 of May BTO launch sees wait time of over an hour

'Whose idea is this?' Virtual queue on day 1 of May BTO launch sees wait time of over an hour
PHOTO: HDB, Screengrab/Reddit

When the Housing Development Board (HDB) launched some 5,000 Build-to-Order (BTO) flats on their website yesterday (May 30), several prospective buyers found themselves having to wait in line to apply for a flat. 

HDB had earlier rolled out this virtual waiting room feature in the November 2022 sales exercise to better manage online traffic in cases where there are many applicants accessing the system at once.

In a 17-second clip, TikTok user Dionislovespink said that she visited the sales launch page after work.

"It turns out that there's a virtual queue," the bemused woman said, adding that her experience was like waiting in line to buy concert tickets.


Dionislovespink's estimated wait time to access the HDB website to view the housing projects was around 21 minutes.

In this case, applicants enter the virtual waiting room before they can access the HDB Flat Portal, which shows details of the BTO flats and Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) on offer in May.

However, it seems that other users had to wait longer. In a Reddit thread shared on the same day, it showed that the wait time was over an hour for some.

"Whose idea is this," one netizen questioned.

In the comments, several netizens shared their woes of being in the virtual queue.

"Entered the website an hour later, but had to queue again after accidentally pressing the browser button," one of them said. 

"Taking 'Singaporeans love to queue' too seriously," another said. 

Other netizens pointed out that the virtual queue might be introduced to prevent users from overloading the system.

"It's actually good," one netizen said, while another shared that successful applicants will be determined by a computer ballot and not on first-come-first-serve.

HDB launched 5,495 BTO flats on Tuesday (May 30) in Bedok, Kallang/Whampoa, Serangoon and Tengah.

About 90 per cent of the BTO flats have a waiting time of less than four years, according to HDB.

The latest May sales exercise also saw 1,500 units made available as Sale of Balance Flats.

Longer waiting time due to more BTO applications: HDB

In a Facebook post shared on Wednesday (May 31), HDB said that they are aware of feedback about waiting times in the virtual waiting room. 

The longer waiting time is due to higher application volume from the combined BTO and SBF launch, and those applying for a HDB flat eligibility letter (HFE). 

Enhancements have since been made to reduce the waiting time, HDB said, adding that it now ranges from three to 20 minutes this morning.

Applicants are shortlisted via a computer ballot and on a first-come-first-served basis, according to HDB. 

"Buyers can submit their applications anytime before the end of June 5," they said. 

As for the HFE, HDB said that application was opened on May 9 to give flat buyers "sufficient time to work out their financial plans", and obtain a preliminary HFE assessment prior to the sales launch. 

Those who have completed their preliminary HFE check but are unable to apply for a flat are advised to fill up an e-feedback form on HDB website. 

ALSO READ: 'Can I BTO during MOP?' Commonly asked questions about eligibility to buy an HDB flat


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