SINGAPORE – Ms Jael Lai, 30, a programme manager, moved into her Build-To-Order (BTO) flat at Waterfront I @ Northshore in Punggol in July last year – one of about 14,500 Housing Board (HDB) units that were delivered in 2021.
The tally, which is more than a 50 per cent increase on the 9,400 flats handed over in 2020 and higher than the 13,500 in 2019, came despite severe disruptions to the construction industry caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The waiting time for the 17 BTO projects completed in 2021 was 4.3 years on average.Seven developments faced delays of six months or less, while the longest delay was about 11 months.
Ms Lai had to extend the rental of a condominium unit in Sengkang with her husband to tide over the wait after being told it would take six months longer to get the keys to their $398,000 five-room flat.
HDB chief executive Tan Meng Dui said on Saturday (Jan 1): “Amid the disruptions and constraints posed by the pandemic, we worked closely with our industry and agency partners to significantly increase the delivery of new HDB flats in 2021, bringing it back to the pre-pandemic level.
“We also stayed the course to meet the robust housing demand, launching more flats in 2021 than 2020.”
HDB rolled out 17,109 BTO flats in 2021. Together with 5,322 balance flats, a total of 22,431 units were offered in 2021.
It unveiled new plans for certain areas, with the first BTO flats in Ulu Pandan to be launched in the second half of 2022, and new flats in Mount Pleasant and Alexandra in the near term.
In 2021, HDB created more housing options, with the launch of community care apartments in Bukit Batok and prime location public housing (PLH) flats in Rochor.
The community care apartments cater to those who are 65 and above, and integrate senior-friendly design features with care services. The PLH flats come with stricter conditions, such as a longer minimum occupation period of 10 years and a subsidy clawback upon resale.
Mr Tan said HDB will keep the momentum going in 2022, with plans to launch up to 23,000 flats per year in 2022 and 2023 across mature and non-mature towns.
“Besides ramping up housing supply by more than 35 per cent (this year) to meet the current strong housing demand, we will double down to deliver homes… with as little delay as possible while maintaining the quality and safety of our building programme,” he added.
The average waiting time for ongoing BTO projects, with the delays brought about by Covid-19, has remained at the lower end of four to five years.
The waiting times of BTO projects launched in the past two years have generally ranged from three to five years.
“The actual waiting times depend on the readiness of sites and specific BTO projects, and differ slightly from year to year,” HDB said.