From HDB’s ‘Privilege for First Timers‘:
“As First-timer applicants generally have more urgent housing needs than second timers. HDB safeguards at least 85% of the flats available for public application for them.”
A person who makes a formal application for something, typically a job.
Recently, applied to ballot for a queue number. Did a little research and it seems that there is a fair amount of misconception because of the phrase ‘first timer applicant’.
What some folks think ‘first timer applicant’ means: Someone who is applying to ballot for a queue number for the first time.
What a first timer applicant actually is.
From HDB’s “Eligibility to buy new HDB flat”:
You and the essential family members listed in the application for purchase of the flat must not:
- Be the owners of a flat bought direct from HDB, a DBSS flat or an Executive Condominium bought from the developer
- Have sold a flat bought direct from HDB, a DBSS flat or an Executive Condominium bought from the developer
- Have received the CPF Housing Grant for the purchase of an HDB resale flat
- Have enjoyed other forms of housing subsidy (for example, enjoyed benefits under the Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme, privatisation of HUDC estate etc)
The constant use of the phrase ‘First Timer’ and word ‘applicants’ together seems a little disingenuous.
From HDB’s ‘Privilege for First Timers’:
(ii) Higher Chances in the Ballot
First-timer applicants are given 2 chances in the shortlisting of their applications, as compared to a Second-timer applicant, who will get one chance. In addition, First-timer applicants applying under the Married Child Priority Scheme (MCPS) will receive 2 more chances as compared to other First-timer applicants, i.e. total of 4 chances. Please see illustration below:
What ‘First timer applicants’ really are: Folks who have never been owners of a HDB flat (simplification. For more detailed criteria, refer above).
It really should be ‘applicants, who are potentially first time owners of a HDB flat, of the ballot exercise’. But damn long to keep typing same thing over and over ago, so the, to me crucial, word ‘owner’ is removed.
I cannot possibly know the actual reason why HDB chooses to use such phrasing, it probably isn’t for any nefarious reasons, but at least within my own emotional experience, I know its impact.
We (the gf and me) had assumed that after finally deciding to move forward in our relationship and find a place to settle down properly, applying for the ballot to get a queue number for the first time, we would stand a good chance to get a good number. We didn’t.
On a perfectly rational level, it makes sense. There are a lot of fellow Singaporeans with similar circumstances and similar needs, and with a random draw, there are bound to be folks who get lousy queue numbers. That’s Probability 101 for you.
The reason why the disappointment was so great was because the expectations were unrealistically high. And I attribute it to our naive misconceived understanding of the word ‘First Timer applicants’. Even after reading the criteria of what a ‘First Timer applicant’ is, our expectations weren’t tempered. After all, we were applying for the first time. Right? Right?
I’m putting the next part more for ourselves but i hope others who are also disappointed will find some comfort too.
We may not have gotten a chance to get a physical place to stay, but take heart that we have at least made a decision to step forward in our lives. The flat is just a place to stay. It isn’t home.
Home is where I know you will be. Home is where you know I will be. Where we both take refuge and comfort in each other’s arms.
And we will, no, we must never, let the capricious nature of Luck dampen our hope for the future we want to build together.