The Pinnacle @ Duxton BTO saw dismal interest from Singaporeans in 2004 when HDB launched this rare iconic BTO in Tanjong Pagar with the government hinting that there may be no more new BTOs in the CBD in future. HDB received 5,171 applications in total for the 1,848 units available at The Pinnacle @ Duxton which is less than 2.8 times oversubscription in 2004.
More than 2,500 applicants were known to have given up their chances when they were called by HDB to lock-in their preferred units at The Pinnacle @ Duxton to select from the 1,232 units of 4-room BTO flats and 616 units of 5-room BTO flats in 2004.
Prices for The Pinnacle @ Duxton BTO units in 2004 ranged from $289,200 to $380,900 for 4-room flats and $345,100 to $439,400 for 5-room flats in 2004. Based on the average prices, these BTO units are priced nearly 50% higher than the prices of older resale HDB flats at Everton Park right beside The Pinnacle @ Duxton BTO flats.
"After The Pinnacle @ Duxton achieved MOP status by end of 2015 and home owners started putting their flats in the resale market for sale, everyone was stunned when resale prices of this city area flats quickly exceeded one million dollars breaking past HDB resale records month after month in Singapore" said real estate professional Kiwi Lim from the largest private real estate agency Huttons Asia. "I believe after this, many Singaporeans start eyeing city area / city fringe HDB BTO launches and demand for such BTO launches soared."
Home seekers made a beeline for the four-room Build-To-Order (BTO) flats in Geylang, which has one of the highest application rates in recent years - 14 times oversubscribed. As of 5pm on 18 Aug 2020, HDB announced that the largest flat type in the housing project named Dakota One saw more than 14 first-time applicants vying for each of the 334 four-room flats. These flats are within walking distance from Dakota MRT station and the famous Old Airport Road Food Centre. With Dakota MRT almost at residents’ doorsteps, residents will have direct train access to areas like Dhoby Ghaut, Botanic Gardens, Marina Bay, and Harbourfront.
2021 - 28 times oversubscription
Home seekers made a rush for the 4 room Build-to-order (BTO) flats in Telok Blangah - considered as the most expensive in HDB's sales exercise contributing to one of the highest application rates. Telok Blangah Beacon is located in the mature estate of Bukit Merah, the 70 such flats on offer attracted 3,124 applicants on the last day of May in 2021.
With an amazing 28 times oversubscription rate, only one in more than 28 first-time applicants will get a Telok Blangah Beacon BTO unit there. It was even harder for second-time applicants, with more than 412 applicants vying for each available unit. Prices for the four-room flats, which are within walking distance of Telok Blangah MRT station, range from $602,000 to $710,000. This BTO project drew such strong subscription that it exceeded Dakota One BTO flats the year before.
2021 - Prime Location Public Housing (PLH) Model
In a joint statement on Wednesday (27 Oct), the Ministry of National Development (MND) and the Housing Development Board (HDB) announced a new Prime Location Public Housing (PLH) model of HDB BTO in prime districts that aims to keep HDB flats located in prime districts affordable and inclusive to the majority of Singaporeans.
Under the new scheme, Housing Board (HDB) flats that are built in prime, central locations in Singapore from today onwards will be subjected to a 10-year minimum occupation period (MOP). Additional subsidies will be clawed back by the government upon their resale as well under the new Prime Location Public Housing (PLH) model (find out more by clicking the image above).
In November 2021, HDB tested the market by launching River Peaks I and II - the first BTO to be under the PLH Model in the city fringe location of Rochor. HDB saw a huge drop in demand to only 3 times oversubscription for the four-room flats in the first Build-To-Order (BTO) project under a new Prime Location Public Housing (PLH) model. There were 2,105 applicants vying for the 680 four-room units at the Rochor BTO project - River Peaks I and II - which is next to Jalan Besar MRT station.
2023 - Standard, Plus and Prime BTO Flats
At the National Day Rally (NDR) on 20 August 2023, Prime Minister (PM) Lee Hsien Loong announced a new classification of flats to better reflect the locational attributes of HDB’s Build-To-Order (BTO) projects. Potential homebuyers can look forward to more affordable BTO flats in attractive locations.
The distinction between mature estates and non-mature estates has blurred over the years as non-mature estates have become more built-up, with better amenities and transport infrastructure. The Government has invested heavily in these towns, and they now have excellent connectivity and a full suite of amenities.
As announced by PM Lee, HDB will introduce a new classification system from effective from 2nd Half of 2024 to differentiate future BTO projects by their locational attributes:
- Standard flats will come with the standard subsidies and standard restrictions that are applied to all BTO flats. They will continue to form the bulk of the housing supply.
- Plus flats, a new category of flats, will be in choicer locations within each region across Singapore (e.g. near MRT station, town centre). For example, Plus flats could be offered in the upcoming housing precinct in Bayshore, which is close to amenities such as MRT stations, a community club and East Coast Park. These flats will come with more subsidies and tighter restrictions, compared to the Standard BTO flats.
- Prime flats are in the choicest locations within Singapore, usually closer to the city centre. They will come with the most subsidies across the three categories, and will have the tightest conditions. These flats are currently offered under the PLH model.
The government hopes to curb million dollar flat transactions and the new restrictions for Plus and Prime flats could slow wealth accumulation as new homebuyers will be discouraged from using their BTO flats as a stepping-stone to accumulate wealth and upgrade to private property. The change is intended to reinforce the message that public housing is primarily meant to serve as a home for the long term and not to be used for speculative investments or treated as short-term assets.
Keppel BTO - Plus or Prime?
The first BTO project in the Greater Southern Waterfront is expected to be launched within the next three years, which will kickstart the transformation of the area into a mega waterfront development. This project is part of HDB flats that will be built on the 48ha site of the Keppel Club - which will be redeveloped for housing when Keppel Golf Club's lease expired on 31 Dec 2021. Another 3,000 units are expected to be private housing.
Measuring around 48 hectares – about the size of 86 football fields, this area will see about 6,000 Housing and Development Board (HDB) BTO flats built on the site of Keppel Club, with the first Build-to-Order (BTO) project expected to launch within three years as announced by the Minister for National Development Desmond Lee on 12 April 2022 (Tuesday).
Will Keppel BTO flats be launched under Plus or Prime BTO models? How will the subscription take-up rate be? Only time will tell.