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What Is Sale of Balance Flats (SBF)? Find Out How You Can Apply Here

Currently, there are tens of thousands of applicants waiting for an HDB Build-to-Order (BTO) flat.

If you need your own home fairly quickly and are not so keen on buying a resale, there is the option of applying for the HDB Sale of Balance Flat (SBF).

The HDB SBF scheme is the sales of previously launched unsold BTO flats, remaining flats from Selective En-bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS) projects, and any flats repurchased by HDB.

This sales launch usually offers a wide range of flat types, locations, and prices.

The flat types offered are typically 2-room Flexi, 3-, 4-, 5-room, Executive flats, and 3Gen flats.

In most cases, the flats are usually already under construction, or near completion.

In the latest sale launch in May 2021, there were 6373 flats under the BTO scheme and 2494 units under the SBF.

Usually, there is often a very strong interest in SBF units, and the chances of getting a flat can be slim, depending on the number of applicants and the number of flats made available.

In today’s article, we take a look at the difference between BTO flats and SBF.

1. Waiting period

As most of the SBF units are usually already under construction, or near completion, there is a shorter waiting time as compared with a BTO.

In the case of a BTO, HDB will only start the construction of the project when at least 70% of the units are booked.

Usually, the waiting time for a BTO to be completed is between 4 to 5 years (not counting the delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic).

2. Location

As the SBF selections are from previously unsold BTO launch units, you do get a wider selection of flats in terms of location.

While the number of units available may be lesser, you do get more options in the various estates, both mature and non-mature.

For BTO launches, the majority of the units are in non-mature estates such as Tengah, Punggol, Admiralty with a limited number of units in mature estates such as Toa Payoh, Bishan and Ang Mo Kio.

3. Range of selection

Under the SBF scheme, you might have lesser choices to select the unit you like.

As mentioned above, the SBF is made up of unsold leftover units and remaining units from SERS. What this means is that these units are those not preferred by those selecting first or “left-over” units.

These could be units on the lower floors or near the rubbish chutes, not exactly in high demand!

So getting an SBF might not land you your most preferred unit.

On the other hand, for BTOs, you basically get to choose first amongst the launched units. So, depending on your queue number, your chances of landing your preferred unit is pretty high.

4. Amount of available information

When you apply for a BTO flat, the available information is very basic.

You get the location, size of the unit, map, site view and not much else.

Because SBF is already launched, you’ll be able to get the full information such as block, unit number as well as ethic quota from HDB.

5. Distribution of SBF supply

From the November 2015 sales launch, at least 40% of the 2-room Flexi flats (subject to a minimum of 100 units for each BTO project) will be set aside for elderly applicants.

Within this, half (20%) will be set aside for eligible elderly under the Senior Priority Scheme.

Elderly applicants who are unsuccessful under the elderly quota but qualify to buy a 99-year lease 2-room Flexi flat will be included in a second round of balloting alongside non-elderly applicants for the balance flat supply.

The unused elderly quota will be distributed amongst the other households.

As first-time applicants of HDB flats have a more pressing need for a home, HDB will allocate more flats to them. In the event where the applicants comprise a first-timer and second-timer, the couple will be treated as a first-timer family, with the same priority benefits and privileges.

Priority schemes such as the Parenthood Priority Scheme (PPS), Married Child Priority Scheme (MCPS), are also available to increase your chances of getting a flat.

Typically, the sale of balance flats happens twice a year, in May and November, whereas BTO launches happen every 3 months.

The SBF launches coincide with the BTO launches happening in May and November.

However, you are only allowed to apply for only one scheme and not both.

Next, how to apply...

You can apply online for SBF once HDB announced the sale. Applicants must be made within the application period and all applicants must meet all the eligibility criteria.

After the application is closed, HDB will conduct a computer ballot to determine the queue positions to book the flats. This will take about 3 weeks. Of course, if you have an earlier queue number, you have a better chance of securing a choice unit. That is good news for first-time applicants as they have higher chances of securing an SBF.

In the meantime, while waiting for the results, you have to check your finances to ensure affordability.

If you wish to take up an HDB housing loan, you will have to produce a valid HDB Loan Eligibility (HLE). This can be done at the HDB sale portal.

The HLE letter will indicate the loan amount based on the applicants’ individual financial situations.

For bank loans, you need to apply for an In-Principle-Approval (IPA). The IPA is an estimate given by lenders to prospective buyers before finalising any property purchases.

Once the booking exercise starts, successful applicants will be invited to book either completed flats or flats under construction.

This exercise is done according to your queue number and flats are subject to availability.

Once you have booked a flat, you have to pay an option fee of either $500, $1,000 or $2,000 depending on the size of the flat you booked.

If you booked a competed flat, you can collect the keys within 3 months whereas, for flats under construction, you can collect the keys when the flat is completed.

So, there you have, everything you need to know about SBF. All the best to you if you are applying for one in the next exercise.

Have a question? Feel free to comment below.

For more property news, resources and useful content like this article, check out blog here.



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