Written Answer by Ministry of National Development on projected average waiting time for HDB BTO projects and measures to reduce waiting time in view of the prolonged COVID-19 situation
Jan 10, 2022
Mr Yip Hon Weng: To ask the Minister for National Development in light of the COVID-19 Omicron variant virus resulting in re-intensified border restrictions and supply disruptions (a) whether the Ministry can provide an update on the projected average waiting time for HDB BTO projects that are in progress or have yet to commence; and (b) whether the Ministry is able to go beyond existing measures to reduce the waiting time for new HDB flats should the COVID-19 situation prolong or worsen due to the Omicron variant.
The Government is watching the progress of Build-to-Order (BTO) projects very closely, and has leaned forward to ensure that projects are completed as planned or with as little delay as possible. In 2021, about 14,500 HDB flats were delivered. This number is more than a 50 per cent increase over the 9,400 flats handed over in 2020 and higher than the 13,500 units delivered in pre-pandemic 2019.
The waiting times of BTO projects launched in the past two years have generally ranged from 3 to 5 years. This is similar to the waiting times for BTO projects launched in pre-COVID times. For ongoing projects, after factoring in delays due to COVID-19 of about 6 to 12 months beyond their original Estimated Completion Dates (ECDs), we expect that most flat buyers will be able to move into their new homes within 4 to 5 years after booking their flats, barring any further unforeseen circumstances.
For the upcoming BTO launch in Feb 2022, we expect the waiting times to range between 2.5 to 5.5 years.
We are monitoring the global COVID-19 pandemic closely, including the new Omicron variant, and have rolled out extensive assistance measures to minimise any potential disruption to BTO projects. To ensure an adequate supply of manpower, HDB has supported firms to recruit more workers from various countries in a safe and controlled manner. HDB has also leaned forward to co-share the increase in foreign manpower costs. This is in addition to the extensive government support that has been provided to the construction sector such as advance payments, sharing of prolongation costs, and foreign worker levy rebates.
The Government will continue to monitor the market situation and the global COVID-19 situation closely, to ensure that the flat supply remains responsive to the housing needs of the population.