Just little over than a year back, BTO launches were so common and plenty, new launches would come out almost every 2 months. I vaguely remember my friends rushing to bid for “good locations”.
“Aiya, now bid already just nice 4 years later house come, we can get married mah!”
In light of HDB’s new plans to shorten the waiting time for BTOs, we can’t help but wonder – Is that necessarily good news for all of us?
It’s one of those times where the skeptic in us questions if the gah-men‘s actually hatching an evil plan. So is a shorter waiting time good or bad? Here are some of the pros and cons:
A shorter waiting time may mean you don’t have to rush into buying a BTO with a halfway-there partner for FOMO, FOSAGH (fear of securing a good home) and FOHPR (fear of housing prices rising) anymore.
You now have additional time to evaluate your partner before committing to a house. And you can still get your house in relatively the same time. You might think this isn’t even a serious point but the statistics don’t lie, with marriage rates slowing down and divorce rates creeping up, according to the Singapore Department of Statistics, in a report released just two weeks ago.
What’s worse than competition? Empty competition, that’s what. In this case, people balloting for flats just because they feel they have a long runway to prepare for everything else.
The same way young couples don’t have to rush to get a queue number, sincere home-bidders will have lesser empty competition for queue numbers and what not. Because everyone that competes with you now will need to get all their shit together first.
What exactly, you may ask?
Oh, you know, the emotions and commitment issues and what not. Like, the stuff that actually matters in a relationship, and not just buying a house.
So if you ever get backed up in the queue again, it’s not just because there’s 100 “first-timers” ahead of you who end up giving up their flat halfway, wasting everyone’s time and potentially someone else’s chance to own a home.
Also, in case it isn’t obvious enough already, it also means if you’re in dire need of getting a home for yourself, you can move in approximately 1 to 2 years earlier as compared to before.
A shorter wait time also means you’ll have lesser time to plan and save for all the expenses needed for owning a home.
If you really gave this a thought, it could be pivotal if you were intending to use the few years of time to say, save or plan for your wedding and renovations costs. And you really were desperate to secure a that good location home to hedge against rising property prices.
See, the SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) for Singaporean marriages usually goes like this…
Boy says: Hey! You wanna get a BTO together? (Singaporean version of “proposing”)
Girl says: Sure!
Couple starts camping out on HDB site and applying for a BTO.
2 months later: Couple gets queue number.
Another 2 months later: Couple selects and book their choice flat.
3 to 4 years later (within 3 months from their flat’s TOP date): The couple ROMs and/or hold their banquet.
3 months after ROM: Couple gets keys to their flat and makes the down payment with their ID firm for renovation (they’ll have to complete the payment in a few months when the renovation project is complete).
Assuming you and your partner had a total of $18k cash savings, and you guys weren’t so lucky to have parents sponsoring/ loaning you money for your wedding and renovations, you’ll need…
- Wedding: Min. $30k (20 tables at an average price of $1.5k/table) if you’re going for a traditional dinner
- Renovations: Min. $30k (basic renovation for carpentry of kitchen and wardrobe cabinets, floor tiles etc)
This means you’ll have an excess of AT LEAST $42k to save up.
If you didn’t have the 1 to 2 years of additional buffer, you’ll need to be saving $1,750/month (for 2 years) as opposed to $875/month (for 4 years).
Although this problem can be easily solved by just holding out on the BTO for 1 to 2 years while you start saving NOW.
Or you can prolong the time used saving for your banquet by delaying it until 1 year after you’ve ROMed.
Rest easy. A shorter wait time is undoubtedly going to be a win-win.
HDB’s just trying to help you get married when you’ve reached that serious stage in your relationship or if you urgently need a home. I liken them to my parents…
“Ger ah. I want you to faster get married and give me children”
“Please faster go plan properly. Then faster get a house.”
“But please make sure you’re serious about the relationship first horrr. Don’t marry for the sake of a house.”
So yes, this should be good news for you. Unless you’re one of those people who die die believes in registering early for a home just for the sole purpose of securing one, with absolutely no regard to who you’re marrying.
In which case… you probably have much bigger issues to deal with than how long it’s going to take for your flat to be ready.
After all, you get a home because you’ve found the right person to spend the rest of your life with.
NOT just so you can secure a property.
What are your thoughts on BTOs being built in a shorter time? Good or bad thing? Share your opinions here