THEY tried three times and were still unsuccessful in their attempts to pick a flat - even in non-mature estates.

These not-so-lucky 1,300 first-time Housing Board flat applicants need not despair. They will be given two more chances on their fourth attempt - on top of their original chances - if they are applying to live near or with their parents.

National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan, who disclosed this in a written reply to a question from Ang Mo Kio GRC MP Lee Bee Wah in Parliament on Monday, also promised that the Housing Board would look into further increasing the chances for those with multiple unsuccessful applications.

To meet strong demand, he said HDB has increased the frequency of its Built-To-Order (BTO) launches to once every month since October last year.

As a result, many applicants have been applying for multiple BTO exercises, and those who were unsuccessful have also increased, said Mr Mah.

He said that for BTO exercises in non-mature estates completed in the last one year, more than nine in 10 first-timers had a chance to select a flat within three tries.

4th chance for 1,300 buyers