Khaw Boon Wan may revise BTO income ceiling

National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan said the rising age of first time Build-to-Order (BTO) applicants justifies revising the HDB income ceiling.

Writing in his blog, Mr Khaw said first-time applicants who applied under HDB’s Fiancé-Fiancée Scheme for BTO projects launched in May had a median age of 27.

And other first-timers – such as those already married – had a median age of 34.

In May, former National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan hinted that the income ceiling for BTO flats could be raised to S$10,000.

He had said then that the review will be conducted after the election and is expected to be completed within six months.

In a detailed breakdown of applicants for May’s BTO exercise, Mr Khaw said about 40 per cent of first-timers applied under the Married Child Priority Scheme to live near their parents.

Mr Khaw said the ministry must be mindful of this aspiration.

However, he admitted that meeting it will not be easy, as mature estates have limited scope for further BTO development.

The proportion of applicants making a repeat BTO attempt has gone down to 45 per cent from 60 per cent in the previous quarter.

Fourteen per cent of the applicants had applied for three or more previous BTO exercises in the last one year.

Of these, Mr Khaw said a third had the chance to select a flat but did not do so for their own reasons.

He said he’s also aware of the frustrations and anxiety of those who did not have a chance to select at all, and he’s ramping up BTO launches to try to ease this problem.

Meanwhile, Mr Khaw advised them to try less mature estates to improve on their odds.

HDB is now processing the 14,000 applications for the 4,000 units launched in May.

Sixty-five per cent of them were first-timers.

Mr Khaw said analysing the profile of successful applicants will provide further insights.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 16 Jun 2011

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