After much research on the HDB website and discussion forums, we have decided to opt for the most common route, which is to bid for a BTO flat. Why so?
1. BTO: Build To Order is a flat allocation system by the HDB which provides flat owners the flexibility in buying new HDB flats as these projects are usually confirmed after each sales launch.
They take around 3-4 years to complete, which is good in my case since boyf has just started working not long ago and I have been spending most of my funds holiday-ing for the past 2 years lol 🙊
2. Grants: 2 types of grants are available, SHG & AHG, depending on the areas that you bid for, either mature or non-mature estates.
SHG - Special Housing Grant, only available for non mature estates and for 2-flexi to 4 room flats.
This grant is only given to families with combined average income of $8,500 or less in the past 12 months.
AHG - Additional Housing Grant, is capped at $40,000 and is allocated based on combined average income in the past 12 months for 2-flexi flats or larger. This grant is only given to families with combined income of $5,000 or less.
As boyf has only started working in April, his income will not be taken into account since it's less than 12 months. This is good for us since only my income is taken into consideration (at least until next April) which means that if our BTO is successful and AHG is approved, we will have some grant discount.
The best part? Say you have an increment in your pay after you BTO, it doesn't matter as they only take into account your salary at the time of your BTO. 👍
3. First Timer: BTO is based on a computerised balloting system and as a First Time applicant, we are allocated 2 ballot chances.
18th May - 24th May
This is the flat application period for the May 2017 BTO sales launch. Four BTO were launched in the May 2017 sales launch, 2 in mature estates and 2 in non-mature estates,
i. (Geylang) Dakota
ii. (Toa Payoh) Bidadari
i. (Woodlands) Marsiling
When our friend showed us the May launch in February, we were quite interested with the one in Dakota. The BTO flats are within walking distance from the Dakota MRT station and Old Airport Road Hawker Centre.
Fig 1.1 - HDB Dakota's Breeze Online Brochure
When I discussed it with my Dad, he suggested Bidadari since it is very central and conveniently located near Serangoon, Ang Mo Kio and the East. I wasn't familiar with the roads around that area and decided to check out the site with boyf. Bidadari is quite centralised however, the BTO site is located at the back which means distance from both Woodleigh and Bartley MRT are roughly a 10 minutes walk.
At that point of time, as we were considering the possibility of bidding a 5 room flat, Bidadari was our number 1 choice since there were none in Dakota. Over time, we discussed and analysed the differences between a 4 room and 5 room BTO flat i.e. price, space, value etc. After much consideration, we decided to bid for Dakota, our 1st choice in February due to the fact that a 5 room's extra space of 20 meters square is not large enough to convert into a bedroom, thus not worth the extra $100,000 upgrade.
To our surprise, when the online brochure for the BTO at Dakota came out, there are 4 room flats with built in Balcony, similar to those in the 5 room flats. Our decision has been finalised! 😁
Fig 1.2 - HDB Dakota's Breeze Online Brochure
The date we applied for our Dakota BTO. 😬 With a few clicks and $10, we have successfully bid for a 4 room flat at the Geylang estate. Results will only be out roughly a month later in July.
I was curious about the total number of applications at Geylang and religiously went to the HDB website daily (until 25th May as the final update was at 2 pm lol) to check the numbers. Probably due to the fact that it's my first time bidding & I was pretty excited.
P.S. I only kept track of the 4 room flats application figures since we bid for a 4 room at Dakota.
284 Applicants - 18th May 5 pm
941 Applicants - 19th May 5 pm
1,335 Applicants - 20th May 5 pm
1,840 Applicants - 21st May 5 pm
2,308 Applicants - 22nd May 5 pm
2,702 Applicants - 23rd May 5 pm
3,173 Applicants - 24th May 5 pm
3,493 Applicants - 25th May 2 pm
I only focused on the First Timer application rate as it indicates the number of First Timers vying for a 4 room flat set aside for First Timers in Dakota. The final First Timer application rate is 4.2, meaning for every 4 room flat, approximately 4 First Timers are vying for it. In mature estates, 95% of flat supply are reserved for First Timers, out of which 30% for PPS, 30% for MCPS and 35% for other families.
Note: PPS & MCPS are priority schemes
There are a total of 671 units 4 room flats in Dakota. Based on the calculation, 671 units x 95% x 35% = 223 units of flat supply set aside for First Timer - Other families. Looking at the First Timer application rate of 4.2, our chance was originally 25% based on 95% flat supplied to total First Timers. Based on 35% flat supplied to First Timer - Other families, our chance has dropped significantly to 9.2%*. 😰
*Percentage drop is a rough calculation based on proportion since number of First Timers - Other Families is unknown
Regardless, bidding for a BTO flat in Geylang still has a higher chance of us getting a ballot number as compared to striking the lottery.
May the Force be with us! 😬