HDB SBF 2022, Open Booking of Flats and More: Guide to the Different Types of HDB Sales Launches

·11-min read
HDB SBF 2022, Open Booking of Flats and More: Guide to the Different Types of HDB Sales Launches
HDB SBF 2022, Open Booking of Flats and More: Guide to the Different Types of HDB Sales Launches

Most of us probably associate an HDB sales launch with HDB BTO flats, but did you know that HDB also has sales launches for Sale of Balance Flats (SBF), open booking of flats and Executive Condominiums (ECs) too?

In this introductory guide, we will walk you through these different types of public housing offered as part of HDB’s sales launches in 2022.

Summary of the Types of HDB Sales Launches

Here’s a table to summarise the key difference between the different HDB sales launch property types that we’ve looked at: 

Sales launch

Built by

Key features

BTO flats

Government

Launched four times a year, 2.5 to 5.5 years waiting time

SBF

Government

Launched twice a year, shorter waiting time than BTO flats

Open booking of flats

Government

Flats under this exercise are available immediately, on a first-come-first-served basis. A fresh supply of flats will be made available to view on 28 September 2022, 10am. The commencement date for online application will also be announced then

Executive condos

Private developer

Launch frequency is variable, built like a condo but first sold by HDB 

DBSS

Private developer

Scheme suspended indefinitely as of 2012, still available on the resale market for a premium

Recent and Upcoming HDB Sales Launches

Already know it all? Then dive straight into shopping for your new home! Here are the latest HDB BTO flat and opening booking of balance flats.

HDB sales launches

Date

Estate / project

Upcoming BTO launch

Nov 2022

Bukit Batok, Kallang/Whampoa, Queenstown, Tengah, Yishun

Open Booking of Flats will commence

Nov 2022

To be confirmed

Unsure about the various types of HDB sales launches? We can help. Let’s begin with HDB BTO flats.

HDB BTO Flats: Available Four Times a Year

First introduced by the government in 2001, BTO flats are what most of us are familiar with when it comes to HDB sales launches. 

As the name suggests, BTO flats only begin construction if demand exceeds 70%. BTO launches from HDB take place once every three months (in February, May, August, and November) in which a range of flats will be launched across a few estates. These flats vary in size, from 2-room Flexi to 3Gen flats.

[ArticleCallout]{ “title”: “Types of HDB BTO Flats Available for Selection in Singapore’s BTO Sale Launches (2022)<br><a href=\u0022https://www.propertyguru.com.sg/property-guides/author/editorialsg\u0022></a>”, “excerpt”: “Learn about the various types of BTO flats offered and their key features.”, “link”: “https://www.propertyguru.com.sg/property-guides/types-bto-flats-available-selection-12102”, “image”: “https://img.iproperty.com.my/angel-legacy/1110×624-crop/static/2019/03/An-unfurnished-BTO-unit-propertyguru-singapore.jpg” } [/ArticleCallout]

One major benefit of getting a BTO flat is that they’re one of the most affordable public housing options in Singapore. For instance, during the recent August 2022 HDB BTO sales launch, the selling price of a 2-room Flexi flat in Jurong East started from just $97,000. What’s more, this excludes CPF Housing Grants.

The waiting time for a BTO flat is about three to four years. However, in 2018, HDB started launching certain projects with a shorter waiting time of about 2.5 years. Still, the construction delays brought on by the manpower crunch due to the COVID-19 pandemic spell long waiting times for a BTO flat still.

In early 2019, it was announced that HDB would announce new projects six months in advance, instead of the usual three months. This means home buyers would have more time to plan their BTO flat application. The waiting time for BTO flat applicants has also been halved, from 6 weeks to 3 weeks. 

[ArticleCallout]{ “title”: “BTO Application Rates in 2022 Are High: Here’s How to Improve Your HDB BTO Application Ballot Chances in Singapore<br><a href=\u0022https://www.propertyguru.com.sg/property-guides/author/eugenialiew\u0022></a>”, “excerpt”: “For those planning to apply for the upcoming BTO launch.”, “link”: “https://www.propertyguru.com.sg/property-guides/hdb-bto-ballot-chances-priority-schemes-31048”, “image”: “https://img.iproperty.com.my/angel-legacy/1110×624-crop/static/2021/07/bto-application-rate.jpg” } [/ArticleCallout]

king george's heights feb 2022 HDB BTO PLH
King George’s Heights, the Feb 2022 PLH BTO flats. Source: HDB

HDB launched 4,993 flats under the August 2022 BTO exercise. If you didn’t manage to successfully ballot for one of these flats or didn’t find a project in an estate that you fancy, don’t lose heart. Check out the upcoming November 2022 BTO launches,

[ArticleCallout]{ “title”: “HDB BTO February 2023: The 3 Announced Estates and Where We Hope the BTOs Will Be<br><a href=\u0022https://www.propertyguru.com.sg/property-guides/author/meredith\u0022></a>”, “excerpt”: “Using the URA Masterplan and URA Space, we make a guess at where the upcoming BTO launches will be.”, “link”: “https://www.propertyguru.com.sg/property-guides/hdb-bto-february-2023-launch-where-will-the-new-flats-be-69543”, “image”: “https://img.iproperty.com.my/angel/1110×624-crop/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2022/09/hdb-bto-february-2023-launch-where-will-the-new-flats-be-cover.jpg” } [/ArticleCallout]

HDB Sale of Balance Flats (SBF): Available Twice a Year

If waiting three years for an HDB BTO flat is too long of a wait, perhaps you might want to consider getting a flat through the HDB Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) scheme. 

Essentially, the flats that are sold in the HDB SBF sales launches are: 

The good thing about HDB SBF sale launches is that there are more estates that you can choose from, compared to HDB BTO launches where flats are launched in around up to three or four estates. In addition, HDB provides more information about these HDB SBF flats, including the block number and unit number, allowing you to know the exact location of a unit. 

By buying an HDB SBF flat, you also get to enjoy a shorter waiting time. These flats are mostly already under construction, so you can expect to move in less than three years. There might also be flats that are ready for you to move into. 

HDB SBF sale launches are usually offered twice a year. However, do take note that you can only apply for either an HDB BTO or an SBF unit, and not both.

[ArticleCallout]{ “title”: “Comparing HDB Flats in the Same Estate: How Old Should You Go? (BTO vs HDB Resale Price in Singapore 2022)”, “excerpt”: “If you’re deliberating between a BTO and a resale flat, check this out.”, “link”: “https://www.propertyguru.com.sg/property-guides/pgf-same-estate-hdb-flats-40608”, “image”: “https://img.iproperty.com.my/angel/1110×624-crop/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2022/06/05155114/pgf-same-estate-hdb-flats-cover.jpg” } [/ArticleCallout]

Open Booking of Flats

In the past, all unsold flats were pooled together in another exercise known as Re-Offer of Balance Flats (ROF). 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.

Now, all unselected flats from SBF exercises will be open for direct offers.

With the removal of ROF exercises, all unsold HDB BTO balance flats will first be offered through the HDB Sale of Balance Flat scheme. If they remain unselected, these HDB SBFs will then be offered for open booking, instead of going through another round of HDB ROF exercises like in the past.

[ArticleCallout]{ “title”: “HDB SBF (Sale of Balance Flats)/Open Booking or Resale Flat: Which Should You Buy?<br><a href=\u0022https://www.propertyguru.com.sg/property-guides/author/editorialsg\u0022></a>”, “excerpt”: “Between an SBF, Open Booking, and resale flat, what’s the difference? Find out.”, “link”: “https://www.propertyguru.com.sg/property-guides/sale-of-balance-flats-or-resale-hdb-flats-43974”, “image”: “https://img.iproperty.com.my/angel-legacy/1110×624-crop/static/2021/03/sale-of-balance-flat-open-booking-of-flat-or-resale-hdb-flat.jpg” } [/ArticleCallout]

Executive Condominiums (EC)

City View @ Boon Keng DBSS flats
The DBSS scheme was suspended indefinitely in 2012 (Source: JGP Architecture)

Executive condominiums (ECs) are also part of HDB sales launches. A hybrid of private and public housing, ECs were first built in 1999. Note that the launch frequency for ECs every year isn’t fixed and may vary every year.

Enclosed in a gated compound with security, ECs typically feature amenities like swimming pools, clubhouses, gyms, and playgrounds – facilities you would also find in a private condo. 

ECs are targeted at the “sandwich class” – families whose household incomes exceed the income ceiling for an HDB flat, but are not high enough to comfortably afford private housing.

Although ECs are built by private developers, they are much lower in price than private condos. This is because the land they are built on is subsidised by the government. If you’re eligible, you can even use CPF housing grants when buying an EC. 

As ECs are first sold by the HDB, they are subject to specific regulations that mirror those of HDB flats, including a lease of 99 years. 

[ArticleCallout]{ “title”: “Buying Resale Condos in Singapore (2022): Are Fully-Privatised ECs Cheaper?”, “excerpt”: “Which one is more bang for your buck? Find out.”, “link”: “https://www.propertyguru.com.sg/property-guides/buying-resale-condo-executive-condo-singapore-60281”, “image”: “https://img.iproperty.com.my/angel-legacy/1110×624-crop/static/2022/01/buying-resale-condo-executive-condo-singapore.jpg” } [/ArticleCallout]

If you’re thinking of applying for an EC, take note that your monthly household income cannot exceed $16,000. And like buyers of new HDB flats, you’ll need to fulfil the Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) of five years. During this time, you cannot sell or rent out your EC entirely.  

Similar to HDB flats, ECs can be sold in the resale market to Singapore Citizens or Permanent Residents after five years. 

Another thing that sets ECs apart from HDB flats is that ECs are considered private property from the 11th year onwards. This means that selling an EC will be easier, since you can sell it to foreigners and companies, on top of Singaporeans and Permanent Residents. 

[ArticleCallout]{ “title”: “HDB Resale Eligibility: Can a Singapore Permanent Resident (PR) Buy an HDB Flat? (2022)<br><a href=\u0022https://www.propertyguru.com.sg/property-guides/author/editorialsg\u0022></a>”, “excerpt”: “If you’re an SPR looking to buy an HDB resale flat, this article is for you.”, “link”: “https://www.propertyguru.com.sg/property-guides/how-do-singapore-permanent-residents-buy-a-hdb-flat-9914”, “image”: “https://img.iproperty.com.my/angel-legacy/1110×624-crop/static/2018/09/HDB-Flat-Singapore.jpg” } [/ArticleCallout]

Design, Build, and Sell Scheme (DBSS): Discontinued in 2012, But Available on the Resale Market 

Design, Build, and Sell Scheme (DBSS) units were first introduced by HDB in 2005. 

In many ways, these are similar to ECs – public housing built by private developers aimed at the “sandwich class”. The private developer is in charge of the project, including the purchase of the land, design, and actual construction. 

But what makes DBSS flats different from ECs is that DBSS flats are essentially public housing, while ECs become private condos from the 11th year onwards. 

In general, DBSS flats appeal to a group of buyers who want something more upscale than the usual BTO flat, but would not be able to comfortably afford private housing or an EC. 

In 2012, the DBSS scheme was suspended indefinitely with a total of 8,649 units built in 13 projects. Reasons included complaints about extremely high prices, poorly designed buildings, and defective workmanship in the flats.

Perhaps due to the suspension of the scheme, DBSS flats are experiencing high demand. In fact, DBSS flats have been making headlines for fetching what some would say are exorbitant prices on the resale market: a 5-room DBSS unit from SkyTerrace @ Dawson sold for $1.418 million in July 2022, claiming the title of “the most expensive HDB flat” sold to date!

[ArticleCallout]{ “title”: “Million-Dollar HDB Resale Flats in 2021: What’s So Special About Them?<br><a href=\u0022https://www.propertyguru.com.sg/property-guides/author/editorialsg\u0022></a>”, “excerpt”: “What makes a million-dollar HDB flat and where are they located? “, “link”: “https://www.propertyguru.com.sg/property-guides/million-dollar-hdb-resale-flats-30042”, “image”: “https://img.iproperty.com.my/angel-legacy/1110×624-crop/static/2020/07/1m-hdb-resale-flats-.jpg” } [/ArticleCallout]

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