In the last four years, almost 25,600 BTO flats were offered within older residential areas such as Queenstown, Bukit Merah, Tampines, Toa Payoh, Ang Mo Kio, Bishan and Clementi.

The Housing and Development Board on Sunday (25 July) said the number of new Build-to-Order (BTO) projects in mature estates have increased by almost 50%, from nine in 2017 to 13 last year, reported TODAY.

With this, the proportion of new BTO flats in mature towns also grew from 44% to 55% over the same period, said HDB.

This is due to the strong demand for housing within older residential areas, such as Ang Mo Kio, Clementi, Queenstown, Bishan, Bukit Merah, Tampines and Toa Payoh.

National Development Minister Desmond Lee revealed on his Facebook page that HDB offered almost 25,600 flats within these areas over the last four years.

He shared that young couples had messaged him asking for help to apply for a BTO flat within mature estates in recent years, since they wished to live near their parents who have a home within these older towns.

“While we have set aside most of the new flat supply for such first-timer families, demand for new flats in mature estates remains high,” he said as quoted by TODAY.

To meet the needs of homebuyers, around 17,000 BTO flats will be launched this year, up from 14,600 flats in 2019 and 16,800 units in 2020.

But with application rates for BTO flats in mature estates being higher, HDB encouraged homebuyers to consider non-mature estates for a better chance of securing a unit.

Specifically, the application rates for BTO projects in mature towns jumped to 6.7 times in 2020 from 2.8 times in 2017. Over at non-mature towns, the application rates climbed to 4.8 times from 2.1 over the same period.

Overall, demand for new BTO flats increased, with each unit receiving 5.8 applications in 2020, up from 2.3 in 2017.

In fact, the same trend was also observed in the Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) exercises—in which flats not sold in previous BTO projects are offered—between 2017 and 2020.

Under this scheme, the average application rate stood at 5.4 times for flats located in mature towns and 4.8 times for those in non-mature towns.

The strong demand for housing is driven by the growing number of marriages in the last decade. The number of married couples increased from 880,800 in 2010 to 977,300 in 2020.

In the near term, HDB expects higher housing demand due to a bigger number of “echo” boomers, which refer to those born in the late 1980s to 1990s, reaching marriageable age.

Another factor is the rising trend of smaller households as singles and young couples prefer to live separately from their parents, albeit still close by.

A survey conducted by HDB in 2018 showed that the proportion of married couples 54 years old and below who prefer to live near their parents increased to 24.3% in 2018 from 21% in 2013.

Conversely, the proportion of older residents aged 55 and above living close to their married children grew to 22.9% from 21.4% over the same period.

This trend is mirrored in the higher take-up rate of the Proximity Housing Grant, which provides families acquiring a resale flat a grant of up to $30,000 if they choose to reside near other family members.

According to HDB, the proportion of resale deals with this grant rose by around 21% across both mature and non-mature towns between 2017 and 2020.

“While the majority of past BTO supply have traditionally come from the non-mature estates, there is a continued need to provide for more new flats in mature estates as well, so that the children of HDB residents living in mature estates can also have the opportunity to live close to their parents/parents-in-law for better family support,” said HDB as quoted by TODAY.

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Cheryl Chiew, Digital Content Specialist at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact her about this story, email: