Balloting for a BTO unit is a game of chance as the queue numbers are assigned randomly. While you get 2X privileges if you’re balloting as first-timers, there are also other ways to increase your chances, namely, if you apply under one of the priority schemes available, such as the Married Child Priority Scheme (MCPS) and Multi-Generation Priority Scheme (MGPS).
Read on as we go into the details on the tips and tricks (aka your priority schemes for first-time home buyers) into the BTO balloting game!
(Take note that there are no privileges for flat selection queue numbers. These are randomly generated for all successful ballots.)
But before that…
Do first-timers get privileges?
Yes, they do. If you’re applying for a BTO, Sale of Balance Flat (SBF), Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) or executive condo (EC) unit for the first time, HDB places more priority on you since your housing needs are more urgent. If you’re applying with your spouse, and one of you is a second-time applicant, you will still be considered as a first-timer family.
First-Time Home Owner Privileges
|HDB||Higher proportion of flat supply, more ballot chances, additional ballot chances for unsuccessful attempts, and may be eligible for Staggered Downpayment Scheme.|
|DBSS||95% of flat supply is set aside for first-timer families during the initial launch period (1 month)|
|EC||70% of flat supply is set aside for first-timer families during the initial launch period (1 month)|
What Priority Schemes are there?
Apart from first-timer privileges, HDB also provides various priority schemes to improve your balloting chances. These are meant to enhance your chances in the computer ballots that HDB conducts for flat applications. Although these ballots are randomly picked, HDB does have a system that gives different weights to certain ballots – it’s a balance between having an equal opportunity as everyone else, while also giving more priority to those in greater need.
You can apply for these schemes as long as the people in your flat application fulfil the eligibility criteria. Not every scheme is eligible for every flat.
Just a note: EC buyers are not eligible for any of the priority schemes. These schemes are only available to HDB or DBSS purchasers.
Here are the priority schemes available:
|Priority Scheme||Who is it for?|
|Married Child Priority Scheme (MCPS)||Married or soon-to-wed children and parents who would like to live near/with each other|
|Multi-Generation Priority Scheme (MGPS)||Married child and parents who want to apply for two BTO flats in the same estate|
|Third Child Priority Scheme (TCPS)||For families with more than two children to encourage the formation of larger families|
|Parenthood Priority Scheme (PPS)||First-timer married couples who are either expecting children or already have children|
|Assistance Scheme for Second-Timers (Divorced/ Widowed Parents) (ASSIST)||For divorcees or widowers with children|
|Tenants’ Priority Scheme (TPS)||For tenants of HDB rental flats who want to buy their own HDB flat|
|Senior Priority Scheme (SPS)||Senior citizens who are looking to buy a home either to live out their retirement, or be near their children.|
Married Child Priority Scheme (MCPS)
If you’re a married or soon-to-wed couple and would like to live near/with your parents, the Married Child Priority Scheme or MCPS is meant for you. It will help improve your chances of successfully balloting for a new flat near to where your parents live. The reverse also applies to parents who would like to live near/with their married child.
For first-timer families, up to 30% of the BTO/SBF units are allocated to them.
Second-timers have up to 15% of BTO units or up to 3% of SBF units.
To be eligible for the MCPS, one of your parents/child must be a Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident.
If you’re applying to live with your parents/child, then your parents must be included as occupants in your flat’s application. On the other hand, if you’re applying to live near your parents/child, then the flat you’re applying for must be within 4km of where your parents/child live.
The home that your parents/child live in can be either an HDB flat or a private residential property.
They must also be either the owners or registered occupiers. If your parents/child owns more than one property, then the property that they’re residing in will be used as reference.
Your parents must also continue to live within 4km of your new home for at least five years. If you included them in your flat application as an occupant, then they must continue living with you for the same amount of time. This time period will begin after you have collected the keys to your new home.
Multi-Generation Priority Scheme (MGPS)
If you’re married and you and your parents want to live in the same precinct, you and your parents can make a joint application for two flats in a BTO project where there is a mix of 2-room Flexi and 3-room flats.
For the parents, up to 15% of the flats (2-room Flexi or 3-room) will be allocated to them (minimum of 20 units).
For you and your household, the corresponding number of 2-room Flexi or larger flats will be allocated to you.
In order to be eligible, your parents must submit a joint application with you, and they can only apply for either a 2-room Flexi or 3-room flats. You can apply for a 2-room Flexi, or anything larger.
How it works
If balloting is successful, both you and your parents will be able to choose flats from a pre-identified pool. These flats can be on the same floor, or elsewhere within the BTO project. For MGPS applicants, you will get three queue numbers. One will be under MGPS, and two will be under the Public Scheme.
The MGPS queue number lets you and your parents choose your flats together. The Public Scheme numbers will let you choose the flats as public applicants. Depending on your ballot results, you can decide whether you want to book the flats jointly under the MGPS, or as public applicants.
Third Child Priority Scheme (TCPS)
This scheme is meant to help families with more than two children to encourage the formation of larger families. Note that your application will be included in the first ballot round along with other TCPS applicants. If unsuccessful, it will be included in the second ballot round with other public applicants.
Up to 5% of BTO/SBF units will be allocated for applicants.
You, and/or your spouse is a Singapore Citizen. If you are divorced or widowed, then you must be a Singapore Citizen.
Your family must also consist of at least three children – they can either be natural offspring from legal marriage or legally adopted. If you are a divorcee, you must have legal custody of your children. The third child must be a Singapore Citizen who is born on, or after 1 January 1987. The other children must be either Singapore Citizens or Permanent Residents.
You also cannot have previously bought a flat under TCPS.
Parenthood Priority Scheme (PPS)
This scheme is meant to help first-timer married couples who are either expecting children or already have children to obtain their flats more easily.
For applicants of this scheme, up to 30% of BTO units and 50% of SBF units are allocated to them.
You must be applying as a married couple, and also as first-timers. In addition, you and your spouse must either be expecting your first child or have at least one child below the age of 18. For adoptive parents, you must have the Adopted Order.
Balloting process if you also applied for TCPS and/ or MGPS
If you also applied for TCPS and/or MGPS, balloting is conducted for each scheme. For example, if you had three children, you would be eligible for TCPS and PPS. Your application is first balloted with other TCPS applicants – if that ballot fails, your application is then balloted again under the PPS.
Assistance Scheme for Second-timers (ASSIST)
This scheme is aimed at divorcees or widowers with children.
Up to 5% of BTO 2-room Flexi and 3-room flats in non-mature estates will be allocated to applicants. This quota is shared with the 30% that is set aside for second-timers.
In order to be eligible, one of your children must be below 18 years of age, and is either natural offspring from a legal marriage, or legally adopted. You also cannot have any acquired interest in an HDB flat or private property after the date of divorce or passing of your spouse.
Tenants’ Priority Scheme (TPS)
This scheme helps tenants of HDB rental flats buy their own home. The quota for this scheme also includes those applying under the Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS).
Up to 10% of 2-room Flexi and 3-room BTO/ SBF units are allocated to applicants.
You and your family must have been living in an HDB public rental flat for at least two years.
Prior to sales exercises in May 2016, only first-timers were eligible. However, now second-timers can also apply for this scheme.
Senior Priority Scheme (SPS)
This scheme is aimed at senior citizens who are looking to buy a home either to live out their retirement, or be near their children. However, only 2-room Flexi units will be offered.
HDB sets aside at least 40% of 2-room Flexi unit in their sales launches for elderly applicants, and half of this amount will be allocated for SPS applicants.
If you’re applying for SPS, and want to get a 2-room Flexi near your existing flat, the new flat must either be within the same town or within 4km of your current property.
If you’re applying for SPS in order to live near your married child, then:
- At least 1 of them has to be a Singapore Citizen or Singapore Permanent Resident
- They must be included in your flat application to live together with you, OR
- They must be living in the same town, or within 4km of the 2-room Flexi flat you are applying for.
The conditions for the type of property your family members are living in are the same as the Married Child Priority Scheme.
If your application is successful, the family member(s) who helped you qualify for SPS must continue living with you – or within the 4km proximity of your new flat – for at least five years after you collect your keys.
More FAQs Related to Priority Schemes for First-Time Home Buyers:
How does HDB queue number work?
HDB’s queue numbers are randomly generated for all successful ballots. First-timer privileges increases your chances for a successful ballot, but it does not change guarantee a smaller queue number.
What is the Multi Generation Priority Scheme (MGPS)?
The MGPS is a joint application process which allows you (together with your spouse and children) and your parents to apply for two flats in the same BTO project. Under this scheme, you will get to draw three queue numbers.
Can I apply for a BTO with my child?
Divorced or widowed Singaporean parents above 21 years old may form a family nucleus to apply for a flat with their child. Single unwed parents above the age of 21 years may also apply for a 2- or 3-room BTO flat in a non-mature estate.
How can I increase my chances of getting a BTO?
One way to boost your chances is to live near your parents to apply for the Married Child Priority Scheme (MCPS), or better yet, live with them and apply for the Multi-Generation Priority Scheme (MGPS). You will also have a better luck if you are a parent yourself, as you will be entitled to the Parenthood Priority Scheme (PPS).
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