Those hunting for a new home can now get pricing and loan information on new Housing Board (HDB) flats on a platform which aims to streamline the process of buying and selling a place.

The portal, which is being progressively rolled out, consolidates information on current and upcoming flats sold directly by HDB, said National Development Minister Desmond Lee in a Facebook post.

He added that it may include HDB resale flat listings in subsequent phases.

HDB already has a separate platform for resale flats, which was launched in January 2018. It is where potential buyers commence their application for their resale flat of choice.

The portal for new flats and the platform for resale flats will run in tandem on HDB’s website.

Aside from listings, the platform for new flats also includes financial calculators for would-be buyers to estimate their housing budget. This is to help them compare their housing options, said Mr Lee.

Those intending to sell their flats can tap the calculators to estimate their sales proceeds, which also take into account monies which have to be returned to their Central Provident Fund. They will also be able to view past transactions around their estate.

“This new portal will make it more convenient for home buyers and sellers to gather information on the purchase or sale of a flat through a single integrated platform,” said Mr Lee.

Then National Development Minister Lawrence Wong first announced the introduction of a HDB sales portal in September 2019, along with an Enhanced CPF Housing Grant which streamlined two previous grants.

The enhanced grant also saw higher income ceilings for eligible first-time buyers.

Those interested can find more information at the website. SingPass is needed to access some services.

As for sellers and buyers of resale flats, they will have to use the HDB resale portal to complete their transactions.

The resale portal cuts the transaction time from 16 weeks to eight weeks when there are no hitches in the process. 

Buyers can use the calculators to estimate their housing budget, to help them compare their housing options. Credit: Lim Yaohui/ST

OrangeTee & Tie senior vice-president of research and analytics Christine Sun said the new HDB flat portal makes it easier for users to obtain most of the essential information for making a property transaction. 

It is also useful for those eyeing resale flats.

“Some may use suggested payment plan in the new portal as a reference or benchmark when they talk to property or bank consultants prior to purchasing a resale flat,” she said. 

However, she noted that users of the portal for new listings can currently only view Build-To-Order (BTO) projects launched in the last year. Launches before 2020 do not show up.

“HDB may consider showing past subscription rates and indicative prices of earlier BTO launches by towns beyond the last year,” she said.

“The reorganisation of information will speed up the search process for buyers.”

ERA Realty’s head of research and consultancy Nicholas Mak said while the portal streamlines the process, it does not mean property agents are obsolete.

He noted that the process of finding and securing a flat of choice or selling a unit may be too daunting for some.

“Home buyers who do not have time to look through the many different available listings and arrange for viewings may want to be assisted by an agent.

“Property agents could also help their clients to achieve the best price as they have the market knowledge and experience,” he said.

Mr Nicholas Chan, 31, who is in the process of booking a BTO flat in Bishan with his partner, said he liked the consolidation of the key services and functions in the HDB portal for new listings.

“Before we booked the Bishan BTO, we used the calculators available on the HDB website  but we found we had to click around to find the information we needed, such as the process of selecting a flat.”

“This portal for new listings makes everything more accessible,” added Mr Chan, who is a Christian minister.

Text: Michelle Ng/The Straits Times