Level Up: New BTO flats will look more like condominiums

Who says the world of (somewhat) affordably priced, government-sponsored housing — y’know, the kind most of us in Singapore live in — can’t come equipped with a dash of style?

The Housing Development Board yesterday said that’s about to become a reality, announcing upgrades for the city’s humble Built-to-Order (BTO) flats in the near future — one that will contain the kind of sleek, modern fittings more commonly found in those tony non-HDB condominiums.

According to The Straits Times, the new flats will incur marginally higher costs that the statutory board will absorb without making the already eye-watering price of home ownership even higher.

The new fittings, which will start popping up in BTO flats that have been launched for sale since this past February, are part of the housing board’s avowed push to keep up with changing demographics and lifestyle trends, they said on their official Facebook page.

So what are the shiny new upgrades you can expect? How about swapping in wear-resistant, glazed porcelain kitchen and bathroom tiles for the old ceramic type for starters? The tiles will also be bigger, something that’s touted as not only more aesthetically please, but easier to clean to boot.

The upgraded units will also get scratch-resistant laminated timber doors, replacing the older timber-veneer doors in older flats, while new gates will come with “thumb-turn knobs” instead of the usual key inserts, so you can open your gate from inside without a key (handy for emergencies!).

Other upgrades include bathrooms with water-efficient toilets and taps, concealed floor traps (or drains for you non-Singaporeans), and more durable top-hung windows to replace the more common louver style now in use.

While most netizens welcome these changes, some who snagged a BTO flat before February this year were understandably expressing a bit of disappointment at being left behind, and urged the HDB to extend the changes to all other BTO launches.

Screengrab from HDB/Facebook
Screengrab from HDB/Facebook

This article, Level Up: New BTO flats will look more like condominiums, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!