The Housing Board announced on April 24, 2020, that the launch of Build-To-Order flats in May is postponed until further notice from the board.
May was seemingly the month to open sales exercises for BTO housings in planning areas of Singapore that include areas such Tengah and Choa Chu Kang in west region of Singapore and Tampines and Pasir Ris in the eastern parts of Singapore. Besides that, approximately 160 assisted living HDB for the elderly in the Bukit Batok district were to be launched in May as well. This postponement of the launch schedule came after the circuit-breaker measures were extended to June 1 by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
** Typically, the phrase circuit-breaker refers to safety equipment that stops the flow of current in an electric circuit. However, for Singapore, it implies home quarantine to break the chain of transmissions of the COVID-18 pandemic in the community, a protective step to avoid local transmission and contain the outbreak.
The announcement by the housing board states that the postponement was on account of closure of worksites. Typically, the board exercises four sales schedules every year. The sales program is exercised in the months of February, May, August, and November. The HDB has clearly established the deferral, however, they are yet to announce the new launch date. Neither did they establish any plans or delays for the launch exercises of August and November.
It is stipulated by the real-estate experts, the housing board may postpone the sales exercises scheduled for August and November to put-up for the delay of the launch in May. People are speculating that the board may arrange a mega combined launch for May and August sale exercise, but the property experts think otherwise. The experts claim that the chances are extremely low as it limits the buyers of getting only one flat. Moreover, in case the May sales program is pushed to June or July, it is very unlikely of HDB to conduct the August sales program to maintain a balanced chain in the market and prevent a instantaneous influx of HDB flats in the market. All this means the deferred May sales exercise will insinuate the probability of positioning the Aug and November sales.
December 2019, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong declared openly that the housing board would propose 17,000 new flats in the year 2020, the figure was exceptionally higher than last year’s figure of 14,600. The next steps will be largely dependent on the application rate for the projected May launch. As per the HBD, the fundamental aspect is to satisfy the housing needs of the masses.
The ongoing COVID-19 crisis has introduced major disruption in economic growth. It has predominantly influenced the buying abilities of the consumers, buyers who are not in dire need have adopted a wait and see approach. This is applicable for flats as well, and those who are in urgent need may have to seek help from the resale market. Amidst this global crisis, buyers are preferring to take a more cautious approach.
The HDB assured that post the lift of the circuit-breaker regulation imposed by the Prime Minister, the construction of BTO projects would be expedited.