My Six Attempts At HDB BTO Balloting And My Advice to Other Couples

my six attempts at hdb bto balloting

If you have tried to apply for HDB during the Build-to-Order (BTO) launches and failed many times, don’t worry. You are not alone.

We were together for 6 years when we first applied for a HDB and we were more than ready to progress with the uniquely Singapore way of marriage proposal – “Shall we apply for HDB flat?”

Most local young people spend most of their life staying with their parents, and the earliest possibility to getting their own home is when they are getting married, hence this is really a moment to look forward to.

However, this moment can be really frustrating when I have to repeat it for 6 times and spent 18 months before luck is on my side for a good enough queue number to select a unit.

Here is the list of BTO we have balloted before:

  1. 2012 March BTO Bukit Batok, Skyline
  2. 2012 July BTO Bukit Merah, Ridgeview
  3. 2012 Nov BTO Queenstown, Ghim Moh Edge
  4. 2013 Jan BTO Ang Mo Kio, Kebun Balu Court
  5. 2013 Mar BTO Bukit Batok, Sky Peak
  6. 2013 May SBF Queenstown, Sky Terrace

Tips for Singaporean couples

Think long term and start planning early.

If you are as lucky as me, you will need to 18 months to get a chance to ballot, 42 months for construction and 60 months of  MOP, a total of 10 years before you are eligible to buy another property or sell this HDB.


typical hdb bto timeline.jpg
Typical HDB BTO timeline

If you are getting married at 30 years old, the typical age where Singaporean couples get married, you will be close to 40 years old before you can start to unlock your first property and grow your real estate portfolio.

Hence, start early.

Another way out to start early – Resale first then BTO

For those who cannot wait 5 years for to get the keys to your new flat, here is a way you can consider.

Buy a HDB resale flat first before balloting for new BTO. Resale first then BTO (RFTB).

Resale First Then BTO (RFTB)

Using this RFTB method, you will be able to move into a house much earlier yet you can still apply for HDB BTO as a first timer later on.


resale first then BTO timeline.jpg
Resale First Then BTO (RFTB) timeline

However, there is a catch – you cannot use any housing subsidies. Only by doing so, you will still be considered as a first timer and receive all subsidies/ priorities when you are applying for a HDB BTO later on.


check if you are first timer.JPG
Source: HDB


Of course, there are many other ways to get your matrimonial home earlier, the above is one of it.

Drop me an email or a text if you want to find out or you have another way to help fellow Singaporeans get their home earlier.


Keep Calm and Buy a Home – A Gentle Reminder

KEEP Calm and buy a home a gentle reminder

Four months ago, I wrote a post to encourage first timer home buyers and upgraders to keep calm and buy a home right after a statement mentioned by Minister Lawrence Wong in Parliament.

Today, we have yet another statement from managing director Mr Ravi Menon of Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) who says “It is too early for the Government to consider lifting the property cooling measures“.

If you have not taken action in the last four months, you could have already missed some good opportunities. From March to today, there were 8,284 private non-landed transactions and 8,404 HDB transactions.

Just by looking at the volume since march, many have already accepted that fact of cooling measures is going to stay for awhile longer and strategized their portfolio accordingly.

Total hdb transaction in 2016 0727

Total private non landed transaction in 2016 0727
Source: Squarefoot Research

If you are still hopeful for cooling measures to be lifted assuming that it is the only way for market to recover, you may be wrong. The market can still recover without lifting cooling measures.


Hence, a gentle reminder for first timer home buyers and upgraders, wait no further. And for current home owners who are hesitant to pay additional taxes for your second or third properties, do be informed that there are some entry prices in certain districts still looking attractive even after paying the taxes. If you are thinking of prime district, you have to check out Gramercy park.

Finally, there are many things in life we can delay or wait; wait for promotion, wait to win lottery, wait to go on holiday, wait for Mr or Ms Right, but there is one thing you cannot wait.

Your age.

How many more years can you wait before you realise you are not eligible to get the maximum loan tenure anymore?





Keep Calm and Buy a Home

KEEP Calm and buy a home
Keep Calm and Buy a Home

Cooling measures are not anywhere near its last days as stated by Minister Lawrence Wong in Parliament on 28th Feb, 2016. Instead of joining the speculation and sit on the fence, first-time buyers and upgraders could take this opportunity to realize their home ownership goals.

Cooling measures quick fact

  1. General Intention
    • To regulate property market and prevent bubble
    • To protect citizen who are truly home owners (to be).
  2. ABSD – Additional Buy Stamp Duty
    • To reduce the increased demand of investors globally
    • To discourage locals from buying more than one property
  3. SSD – Seller Stamp Duty
    • To reduce speculators and short term property flippers
    • To prevent property market bubble
  4. TDSR – Total Debt Servicing Ratio
    • To disallow individuals to overleverage on loans of all kinds
  5. LTV – Loan-to-Value
    • To disallow overleveraging property purchase (lesson learnt from subprime crisis in 2008)

Are you affected by the cooling measures?

Types of buyer (5)
Types of Buyer in a Cooled Property Market


First Timer

Being ‘fresh’ in the property arena, you certainly have the upper hand when there is an excess supply of properties in the market and being pretty much immune to cooling measures. In such situation, buyers who are citizens have to get prepared and seize the opportunity when a good deal arises. The first task is to do a loan assessment with the bank or HDB to have a gauge on the property price tag that is within your means. A quicker way to get an estimate is to use this tool.

Next step is to understand your eligibility and the reason for this purchase. Is it to stay in or to rent out? This will kick start a series of decisions as such location of property, timing of purchase, interior design and furnishing etc. Unless you have the time, it is recommended to consult a professional on this.


If your last property purchase was before 14th Jan 2011, you would have equal (or more) advantage than the first timers. Just few days back, a five-room DBSS unit at City View @ Boon Keng set a record selling price at $1.028 million. With a decent sum from the sale proceeds; upgraders can then look for bigger, more central location home or even an upgrade from public to private housings, depending on individual’s long term plan.

Even though you may have some experience from the last property purchase(s), the numerous policy changes from 2010 to 2013 will probably make your new purchase much more complicated and engaging a professional will certainly provide you a more accurate assessment. One noteworthy policy change is the TDSR that pulled the brake of property price hike in Q4 2013.

Landlord Wanna Be

Since your last property purchase, you may have accumulated cash and liquid assets that are sufficient to buy a second property without selling the current property. Together with various influence from the media and people around, you are eager to jump onto the bandwagon of landlords and possibly start a passive income flow. Unfortunately, you are 4 years too late from the start of the ABSD and 2 years behind from the start of TDSR. Yes, if you are feeling the crunch, this is what the cooling measures are put in place for. It is just the way it is.

Such measures are well-analyzed to make landlord wanna be realize that the previously attractive investment are now having a much smaller Rate of Returns and eventually force them to take a step back to reconsider other alternatives to spend their spare cash.


Most of us do not belong to this category where an additional 10% ABSD is still not a turn off. Nevertheless, most wise investors with the end goal of profits should find very little worthy property investment left as well.

What’s next?

If you are a first timer or an upgrader, good for you! The ball is in your court now! Unless you have a rich uncle that can sponsor you one as a gift let us get back to the proper, less risky and wiser approach.

  1. Understand which stage of buying process are you at now?
  2. Research and do lots of homework. Remember the days where you spent so much time deciding on which car, watch or phone to buy? You can easily do a proportional increase to get the time needed for this property purchase, based on dollar value alone.
  3. Find a good professional for advice. Be it property agents, bankers or lawyers.
  4. And finally, make sure you have fun in this process

Neither this process nor the property price retracement will be a short or simple one, just keep calm and ultimately buy a Home!