HDB targets frivolous applicants

HDB targets frivolous applicants 


First-timers who reject two offers to buy a flat lose priority status for a year

By Jessica Cheam 


THINK hard before you apply to buy a new Housing Board flat: Lodging frivolous applications will now get you sent to the back of the queue.

New HDB rules unveiled yesterday target flighty first-time buyers who have been hedging their bets by applying for flats when they often have no intention of closing the deal.


The HDB said the move ‘will encourage applicants to consider their options carefully’. It also addresses concerns that the thousands of applications that pour in for HDB projects bear little relation to the actual take-up rate.


Look at Punggol Lodge, launched in October. There were 464 four-roomers on offer, attracting 1,484 applications, but when offers went out, 1,069 ‘buyers’ eventually said no thanks.


And when 60 three-room flats were offered in November’s launch of Segar Meadows in Bukit Panjang, 98 per cent of first-timers – those who applied to purchase a flat for the very first time – who were offered a flat, rejected the chance to buy.


The HDB hears all sorts of excuses. Some applicants said they wanted to also consider flats under other HDB sales or that the unit they really wanted had already been selected. Others indicated that they weren’t cashed up.


The demand for new flats shot up last year after young couples, who were priced out of the resale market, tried for new HDB homes, which are often cheaper.


The rush – and problem with frivolous applicants – prompted National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan to call for a review of the rules last month.


The new rules, which apply immediately, have a ‘two strikes and you’re out’ approach. A first-time buyer who rejects an offer to buy a flat twice or more at any HDB sales exercise, loses his first-timer priorities for a year. That effectively puts him at the back of the queue with the second-timers.


First-timers get two chances in a ballot. If they live near their parents, they get two more, under the Married Child Priority Scheme.


Last August, the HDB also began setting aside 90 per cent of the flats in a sales exercise for first-timers. The rest were earmarked for second-timers.


These are the first-time privileges a person could lose for a year if they get too picky.


But the HDB is also helping genuine first-timers who repeatedly miss out in ballots. If you apply twice and miss chances to buy, you can have another shot on your third try and your name goes into the ballot once more. For your fourth try, you get entered two more times, and so on.


This applies only to build-to-order projects in newer estates like Punggol. The old rules gave first-timers extra chances only on the fifth try, but at all estates.


First-time hopefuls like administrative officer Chen Xiuling, 26, said the new rules would help weed out those with a ‘just apply and see how’ attitude.


But 26-year-old insurance agent Sarah Teo thought the ‘two strikes’ rule was a bit strict: ‘What if both times you were left only with undesirable flats on a low floor, at bad locations?’



Source: Straits Times


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