[2020 Update]: No More ROF Scheme, but Here’s How You Can Still Buy HDB Flats if You Missed Out on SBF Exercises

PropertyGuru Editorial Team
[2020 Update]: No More ROF Scheme, but Here’s How You Can Still Buy HDB Flats if You Missed Out on SBF Exercises
The HDB Re-Offer of Balance Flats (ROF) scheme was a popular scheme introduced by the government, which was popular with buyers. Introduced in 2017 to help young couples to secure their first home sooner, the ROF scheme has undergone some recent changes lately to improve waiting time.
However, in March 2020, the government announced the Re-Offer of Balance Flats (ROF) scheme would be removed to allow home buyers to obtain their flats more quickly. Below is what you need to know.

What are HDB ROFs?

HDB ROFs are basically flats ‘left over’ from previous HDB Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) exercises. These include unsold flats from previous BTO exercises, surplus SERS replacement flats, and flats repurchased by HDB.
Like SBFs, ROF exercises consist of flats that were not selected, or were given up for other reasons (i.e: couple decided to break up, failed to pay the downpayment, or opted for another flat) .
Do take note that since these flats are unselected units, this means that your options may be limited. For instance, if you’re looking for a 4-room flat, there are only a few units in a small handful of estates you can choose from. You’re also more likely to get a flat at a lower floor that doesn’t offer a view you desire. Plus, due to the ethnic quota, some flats are not available for certain ethnicities.
On the flip side, a majority of these flats are already completed or are near completion, the waiting time is a way shorter waiting time compared to SBF and BTO sale exercises.
With that, let’s take you through the advantages, processes, and eligibility criteria for HDB’s ROF scheme.

What are the benefits of HDB’s ROF scheme?

#1. Shorter waiting period

The ROF scheme’s most attractive advantage is the shorter waiting time. Not only does the ROF exercise allow you to apply online at any given time, you can also expect to book a flat as early as the next working day.
With this, the HDB ROF scheme enables a greater number of homeowners to book and move into their homes much more quickly. The waiting time is definitely shorter as compared to getting a BTO flat, especially if the construction has started.
If you’re in urgent need of housing, you would be able to receive the keys to your newly completed flats and move in as soon as 3 months after the application.

#2. Higher chances of securing a flat

Unlike other sales exercises, you’re not required to indicate your preferences for the flat type and location when applying through the ROF exercise. In addition, you can also see the flats that are available for your ethnicity online before you start applying.
This means that if you’re less particular about the location and type of the flat, and meet the ethnicity criterion, you’ll have a higher chance of getting a suitable flat.
4 times a year
2 times a year
Throughout the year, with new flats released 2 times a year
Pool of flats
New flats
Unselected BTO and other flats
Unselected SBF flats
Flat selection appointment
1.5 months after application onwards
2 months after application onwards
As early as the next working day after application
Key collection
About 2.5 to 4 years
Completed flats: within 3 months
Flats under construction: when flats are completed
An individual holding a house key after ROF Scheme
Under the ROF scheme, applicants can get their keys as early as 3 months of application.

How do I apply for a flat through HDB’s ROF scheme?

The application process for the ROF scheme is pretty straightforward.
  1. You can start by viewing the list of flats available for selection. Once you have found the right flat, be sure to check if you’re eligible to buy it.
  2. After that, you can start applying for either HDB loan or bank loan. Remember to get the HDB Loan Eligibility form if you’re applying for HDB loan or the loan approval form from your bank.
  3. Together with the loan form, you can then proceed to submit your application and pay the $10 admin fee online.
  4. If your application is successful, you’ll be shortlisted via a computer ballot. You’ll then be invited to book your flat based on your allocated queue number and unit availability. As mentioned earlier, you can book for a flat as early as the next working day of the application submission.
  5. You can collect the keys and move into your new home within 3 months if your flat is already completed. If your flat is still under construction, you’ll be able to collect the keys to your new home once it’s ready.

Who’s eligible for HDB’s ROF scheme?

Only married couples and first-time applicants are eligible for the HDB ROF scheme. These are the conditions that you will need to meet in order to buy a flat through the scheme:
  1. At least one of the applicants must be a Singapore Citizen
  2. Applicants must be at least 21 years old
  3. Total household income must be within the set income ceiling:
    1. 3-room flat: $7,000 or $14,000 depending on project
    2. 4-room flat or bigger: $14,000 or $21,000 if purchasing with extended family
  4. Applicants must not own other property overseas or locally, and must not have disposed of any property within the last 30 months
  5. Applicants must not have bought a new HDB/ DBSS flat or EC, or received a CPF Housing Grant before; or, have only bought 1 of those properties or received one CPF Housing Grant thus far
To ensure if you’ve met HDB’s eligibility criteria for ROF flats, you can check your eligibility by registering your particulars here.
With schemes such as HDB’s ROF scheme, you have more options in applying for a flat. Instead of getting a BTO flat or a resale flat, you can enjoy a faster application process under the ROF scheme. Plus, you won’t have to wait for long to move into your new home.

Removal of HDB ROF in 2020

As mentioned above, despite being popular among buyers, the HDB ROF was removed after a new policy change by the government.
Previously, all unsold flats from HDB SBF exercises will be first offered through the ROF exercises. If these flats remain unselected, they will be made available for open booking.
However, in March 2020, the government announced the Re-Offer of Balance Flats (ROF) scheme would be removed to allow home buyers to obtain their flats more quickly.
With the removal of ROF exercises, all unsold BTO balance flats will be first be offered through the HDB Sale of Balance Flat scheme. If they remain unselected, these HDB Sale of Balance Flats will be then be offered for open booking, instead of going through another round of HDB ROF exercise like in the past. Read more about the HDB SBF exercises and the new policy change here.
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