Average wait times for BTO projects remains at four to five years, says Desmond Lee

Cheryl Chiew6 Oct 2021


The total waiting time for BTO projects is still under six years, with BTO projects launched this year and last year having wait times ranging between three to 5.5 years.

Including delays brought about by the pandemic, the average waiting time for ongoing Build-to-Order (BTO) projects has remained between four to five years, said National Development Minister Desmond Lee in Parliament on Tuesday (5 October).

“Barring further unexpected developments, most flat buyers can expect to move into their flats within four to five years after booking their flats,” he said.

He noted that the wait times for BTO projects launched in 2020 and this year range from three to 5.5 years.

Hougang Citrine and Alkaff Breeze in Bidadari, for instance, have waiting times of over three years, while Garden Court @ Tengah has a waiting time of around 3.5 years.

Some projects, such as Queen’s Arc, are expected to take longer at around 5.5 years.

“This is because the conditions of the site are difficult, and construction will take longer, or these are projects with very high storey-heights, which require more construction time,” explained Lee.

“These have caused some people to worry that all new BTOs will take six to seven years. But these are in the minority.”

Lee was responding to Member of Parliament Cheryl Chan Wei Ling, who asked whether the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic will affect the previous estimated timelines of BTO projects.

In his reply, the minister shared that the Government’s support measures have helped keep the pandemic-induced delays to BTO projects to a year or less.

This is except for one project “which had already experienced project difficulties unrelated to the pandemic”, he said.

As such, the total waiting time for BTO projects has been kept under six years.

The Housing and Development Board (HDB) has rolled out measures “to help contractors complete ongoing projects in a timely manner”.

This includes helping firms safely recruit workers from various countries and sharing the hike in manpower costs.

It also implemented antigen rapid testing (ART) in addition to rostered routine testing (RRT) at worksites to minimise work stoppage due to virus transmission.

“To help with the higher cost of materials, HDB has extended the period of protection against steel price fluctuations and supplied contractors with more concreting materials at protected prices,” said Lee.

HDB has also helped affected flat buyers secure interim housing, he said, noting that the supply of flats under the Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme (PPHS) will be increased by 800 units in the next two years.

“For low-income households with no family support and no other housing options, HDB will consider offering Interim Rental Housing (IRH) on a case-by-case basis,” stated Lee.

“Flat buyers who face delays that exceed their Delivery Possession Date (DPD) will be compensated at the amount and for the period as set out in the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act (COTMA), which applies to all developers.”

HDB will also consider waiving flat booking forfeitures as well as the one-year wait-out period based on the circumstances of flat buyers, such as those who opt to cancel their BTO flats due to delays and purchase a resale flat “to meet their urgent housing needs”.

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Cheryl Chiew, Digital Content Specialist at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact her about this story, email: cheryl@propertyguru.com.sg


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