BTO is delayed: What are your housing options in the meantime?

Last week, the Ministry of National Development gave an update on the progress of BTO projects. It stated that around 85% of 89 ongoing projects have been delayed by around six to nine months. 

This means that around 43,000 households will only be able to move into their flats at a later date. 

Why is there a delay in BTO construction? 

The delay is mainly due to manpower shortages and supply chain disruptions, brought about by the pandemic. The high number of COVID-19 cases worldwide has also made it harder for construction firms to bring in workers. 

Construction has been affected since January last year when China went into lockdown. The movement control order that started in March last year in Malaysia also disrupted the supply chain. 

Afterwards, construction work was stopped during the circuit breaker for two months. It was only in August last year that most works resumed. 

HDB blocks under construction
The delay is caused by manpower shortages and supply chain disruption.

The rise in cases, as well as safety measures, have affected the productivity and speed of construction as well. 

On the other hand, it’s not just BTO projects that are facing delays. Private residential, commercial and industrial projects have been affected too. 

What’s being done so far to deal with the delay? 

HDB is working with various agencies to speed up the construction work for BTO projects. This includes allowing construction activities that don’t produce a lot of noise to be carried out on Sundays and public holidays. 

As of end February, out of the 43,000 households affected, HDB has assisted around 240 households with interim rental housing flats. 

What are your options? 

HDB is progressively updating households who have been affected by this delay through letters and the My HDBPage. If you’re one of the households affected, here are some options to consider. 

Live with your family

This is what a lot of couples here do while they wait for their BTO flats. They either live with their parents or in-laws for around two to three years before their flats are completed. If you’ve been living with them, consider extending your stay with them for another six to nine months. 

Alternatively, you may want to rotate between your parents’ and in-laws’ homes. You can spend one month at your parents’, and another month at your in-laws’. One perk of doing so is that you get to spend more time with both sides of the family. 

And of course, you get to save more on your housing expenses, which can go towards your BTO renovation. 

Rent from the open market

But if you’ve always wanted your own space and privacy, or can no longer live under the same roof as your parents or in-laws, a common option is to rent from the open market. Renting may also be better if you want to start a family soon. 

The good thing about renting from the open market is that it opens up to a lot of options. Whether you want to rent a single room or the entire unit, HDB or condo, or a certain location, you’ll be able to rent one that suits your needs. 

If you’re planning to rent a room in an HDB flat, do note that only spare bedrooms in three-room flats and larger can be rented out. 

Plus, the minimum rental for HDB flats and rooms is six months. Condo rentals, on the other hand, have a shorter minimum rental period of three months. 

Swimming pool at Watertown condo
Swimming pool at Watertown condo.

Got a bigger budget? Consider renting a whole unit, especially if you’re continuing to work from home and need more space. 

It’s also good to rent in the same area as your BTO, as you can get more familiar with the area before moving into your new flat. 

Here are the rental price ranges for three-bedroom units in HDBs and condos in estates with delayed BTO projects. 

HDB estate Rental price range for three-bedroom units (HDB) Rental price range for three-bedroom units (Condo)
Punggol S$2,400 – S$2,950 S$3,200 – S$3,399
Toa Payoh S$3,200 – S$3,500 S$3,000 – S$4,800
Woodlands S$2,450 – S$3,100 S$2,700 – S$4,500
Geylang S$2,600 – S$3,100 S$2,950 – S$8,700
Sembawang S$2,200 – S$3,000 S$2,800 – S$3,600
Yishun S$750 – S$3,100 S$2,600 – S$4,500
Tampines S$680 – S$3,300 S$2,800 – S$4,800
Clementi S$1,300 – S$3,750 S$3,450 – S$5,800
Sengkang S$650 – S$2,850 S$2,900 – S$3,400

Rent dual-key studio units

If you’re keen on renting a condo, but can’t afford the high rental, a cheaper alternative is to rent a studio unit that’s part of a dual-key unit. Dual-key units comprise two separate houses, one main unit and a studio unit. 

These studio units are generally cheaper to rent due to the lower price tag of dual-key units. This also means that you can enjoy condo facilities such as the swimming pool and gym for a lower rent. 

Apply for Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme (PPHS) 

On the flip side, renting from the open market can be really expensive. Especially if you’ve forked out a lot of money for your BTO and wedding expenses. 

The good news is that you can rent an HDB flat below market rate through the Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme (PPHS). It’s open for married or engaged couples, and divorced or widowed parents with children who have booked an uncompleted BTO or SBF. 

The caveat is that for couples, you’ll need to register your marriage within three months of taking possession of the PPHS flat. 

As mentioned earlier, rental rates are cheaper than what you get in the open market. The monthly rental for three-room flats can be as low as S$600 in locations such as Yishun, Marsiling and Hougang, and four-room flats at S$1,500 in Tiong Bahru. 

On the other hand, choices are more limited in terms of flat type and location. So there may not be a PPHS flat that’s in the same neighbourhood as your upcoming BTO. 

You can read more about the Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme in our article here. 

Apply for interim rental housing from HDB 

For those who face difficulties finding alternative accommodation, you may approach the HDB to apply for interim housing rental at this website

Under this scheme, the average monthly rent for one-room and two-room flat is S$300 and S$400 respectively


If you found this article helpful, recommends Tenants, here’s an effective 7-step plan to negotiate rent in SG and Top tips for establishing a harmonious relationship with your housemates

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