Key Developments To Come For Public Housing In Singapore

Key Developments To Come For Public Housing In Singapore

Rejoice, potential homeowners! More public housing and shorter BTO waiting times are in the works, says Minister for National Development Desmond Lee. Speaking at the Ministry of National Development (MND) and National Youth Council (NYC) Forward Singapore engagement on 20th November 2022, Mr Lee responded to concerns raised by young Singaporeans about housing prices and availability in Singapore.

What could the future look like for Singaporeans in their 20s and 30s looking to buy their first home? We round up the main takeaways from Mr Lee’s sharing:

1. Housing for those with urgent needs will be prioritised

Many young couples in Singapore have lamented about not being able to get a queue number for a BTO, despite applying multiple times. The government acknowledges that it is increasingly difficult for supply to keep up with the demand, especially if this trend of households fragmenting – members of one household going out to live on their own – is going to continue.

Furthermore, even within the first-time buyer group, some people have more urgent needs than others. For example, a young couple with kids may need their own home more urgently than a newlywed couple whose parents have a large enough home to accommodate them. Yet, we can’t ignore the needs of singles and seniors who may urgently need a home of their own.

While BTO and resale flats prioritise first-time buyers by means of subsidies, there is not much in terms of policies in place now to differentiate between different groups of first-time buyers. Mr Lee says that more will be done to explore how Singapore can prioritise access to public housing according to the urgency of one’s housing needs while working on increasing the overall availability of public housing.

2. BTO waiting times will be reduced

The construction industry is finally picking up after suffering the impacts of COVID-19 restrictions, manpower shortage, and supply chain delays. With the government working hard to reduce further delays, less than 50% of BTO projects in 2022 were delayed by six months or more, compared to more than 80% in 2021. But all things considered, the total waiting time for BTO is still pretty long, at an average of four to five years currently.

HDB is working to reduce BTO waiting times for upcoming projects to alleviate the housing crunch. Last November’s BTO launch saw the Tengah project being the first to be designated under HDB’s Construction Transformation Project (CTP), which will pilot a range of innovative building methods to increase productivity. The 2,077 units at Garden Waterfront I & II @ Tengah have a waiting time of slightly over three years and will be built employing methods such as 3D concrete printing using a special concrete reinforced with fibre-glass.

3. Definition of mature and non-mature estates will be revised

BTO projects in mature estates continue to see overwhelming demand, while those in non-mature estates pale in comparison. However, as many property observers have noted, there is little to distinguish between mature and non-mature estates. Some non-mature estates are, in fact, very well-stocked with facilities and boast fantastic connectivity to the city area, making them no worse than the so-called mature estates.

Yet, the very labels of ‘mature’ and ‘non-mature’ estates associate a sense of prestige with ‘mature’ estates and give rise to some homeowners who will choose their homes based on these location classifications. To avoid perpetuating this biased preference for homes in mature estates, the government will be relooking at the classification of mature and non-mature estates and their relevance to housing policies.


With these advancements in Singapore’s housing scene, hopefully more young Singaporeans can finally afford and fulfil their housing needs more easily in the coming years. But for those of you who are looking for a home urgently, you may consider the HDB resale market or rental for the time being.

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