Today, the Ministry of National Development (MND) and the Housing & Development Board (HDB) introduced three new measures to help more extended families live closer together for mutual care and support, and to make public housing more affordable for more Singaporeans, from lower- to upper-income households. MND and HDB also announced that they are studying a new Fresh Start Housing Scheme to help families with young children staying in public rental flats, who had previously owned a subsidised flat, achieve homeownership again.
I) Helping Extended Families Live Together or Closer By
Today, MND and HDB introduced a new Proximity Housing Grant (PHG) to further help Singaporeans buy a resale flat, with or near their parents or married child, for mutual care and support. With effect from 24 August 2015, all Singapore citizen families who buy a resale flat to live with or near their parents or married child1 will receive PHG of $20,000. Eligible singles will also enjoy PHG of $10,000 if they buy a resale flat with their parents.
All Singaporeans are eligible for PHG once, regardless of a) whether they had enjoyed housing subsidies before, including the Higher-Tier CPF Housing Grant, b) their household income or c) ownership of private property. The grant recipients and their parents or married child must live with or in close proximity to each other for at least 5 years.
Currently, eligible first-timer families who buy a resale flat to live with or near their parents or married child receive the Higher-Tier CPF Housing Grant of $40,000 ($10,000 more than the basic $30,000 CPF Housing Grant for family). Eligible singles get $20,000 if they buy a resale flat to live with their parents ($5,000 more than the basic $15,000 CPF Housing Grant for singles).
The new PHG provides additional benefits, compared to the current Higher-Tier CPF Housing Grant. First, it doubles the additional grant quantum eligible first-timer families receive if they buy a resale flat with or near their parents or married child from $10,000 to $20,000. The additional grant quantum eligible singles receive is likewise doubled from $5,000 to $10,000. Second, Singaporeans who have enjoyed housing subsidies, have exceeded the income ceiling and/or are private property owners, all of whom did not qualify for the Higher-Tier CPF Housing Grant previously, will now qualify for the PHG when they buy a resale flat, with or near their parents or married child. With the implementation of PHG, the Higher-Tier CPF Housing Grant will be discontinued. The basic CPF Housing Grant for Family/Singles and Additional CPF Housing Grant (AHG) will still be available for those eligible. Please refer to Annex A for a summary of the changes.
The PHG is the result of a series of Housing Conversations on “Closer Families; Stronger Ties” MND organised in 2014 with Singaporeans at different life stages. It will benefit a wide spectrum of Singaporeans looking to live with or near their parents or married child. These include a) young courting couples who wish to live with or near their parents; b) married couples who bought their first flat far from their parents but now wish to move back closer, especially after they have children and/or their parents are not well; and c) parents who wish to monetise to a resale flat with or near their married child, including those who have enjoyed housing subsidies before and/or are private property owners.
The new PHG offers more help to more Singaporeans and gives them more options to buy a resale flat with or near their parents or married child, in their own preferred location and time in the HDB resale market. It complements other recent measures to help Singaporeans buy a new HDB flat with or near their parents or married child, including the Married Child Priority Scheme, Multi-Generation Priority Scheme, Senior Priority Scheme and the Three-Generation flats.
II) Raising Income Ceilings
MND and HDB is committed to helping Singaporeans own a flat, particularly young couples setting up their first homes. With effect from 24 August 2015, MND and HDB will raise the income ceilings for citizen households to buy new flats from the HDB and HDB resale flats with the CPF Housing Grant, from $10,000 to $12,000. MND and HDB will also raise the income ceiling for citizen households to buy new Executive Condo (EC) units with tiered CPF Housing Grant from $12,000 to $14,000.
Correspondingly, the income ceilings for single Singaporeans to buy new flats from the HDB or HDB resale flats with CPF Housing Grant will be raised from $5,000 to $6,000. The income ceilings for elderly citizens to qualify for monetisation options, including the Lease Buyback Scheme (LBS), the Silver Housing Bonus (SHB) and short-lease 2-room Flexi flats, will also be raised from $10,000 to $12,000. Details are at Annexes B1 and B2.
MND and HDB last raised the income ceiling in 2011, which has benefited more than 21,000 families. Incomes of Singaporeans have risen since then. Increasing the income ceiling will avail more Singaporeans the option of buying a new HDB flat, instead of a resale flat or a private property.
III) Helping Lower and Middle-Income Families Afford Their First Home
MND and HDB will increase the Special CPF Housing Grant (SHG) to further help lower-income and middle-income households afford their first home. Specifically,
a) The maximum SHG amount will be doubled from $20,000 to $40,000; and
b) The income ceiling for the SHG will be raised from $6,500 to $8,500.
With the enhancement, more than two-thirds of Singaporean families can qualify for the SHG, compared to more than half currently. Households earning up to $7,000 will enjoy the full $20,000 increase. These include the median household, who will receive $30,000 of SHG, instead of $10,000 currently.
Correspondingly, the SHG income ceiling for singles buying a 2-room Build-To-Order (BTO) or balance flat in the non-mature estates, under the Single Singapore Citizen (SSC) Scheme will also be raised from $3,250 to $4,250. The maximum grant amount will be doubled from $10,000 to $20,000. Please see Annex C for details.
Currently, eligible first-timer families buying new flats enjoy up to $60,000 of housing grants. This includes the AHG of up to $40,000 and the SHG of up to $20,000. With the enhanced SHG, the maximum combined AHG and SHG for new flats will be $80,000.
These are significant enhancements. As an illustration, an eligible first-timer family earning $4,000 a month who buys an average-priced 4-room BTO flat in a non-mature estate will find the flat price drop from $295,000 to $240,000, after grants of $55,000. An eligible first-timer family earning $2,000 a month who buys an average-priced 3-room BTO flat will find the flat price drop from $185,000 to $110,000, after grants of $75,000. An eligible first-timer family earning $1,000 a month who buys an average-priced 2-room BTO flat will find the flat price drop from $110,000 to $30,000, after grants of $80,000.
With the increase in SHG, if the same family earning $1,000 buys a lower-priced 2-room flat, the total grant amount may exceed 95% of the BTO selling price. In such cases, they will only need to pay 5% of the flat price (e.g. $3,750 for a $75,000 flat) using their CPF or cash; the remaining sum will be fully covered by the grant. Any excess grant amount can be used to pay for optional items, such as flooring, or will go into their CPF Special Account (SA)/ Retirement Account (RA) and Medisave Account (MA).
If the flat is subsequently sold, the first $60,000 of housing grants will be credited to their CPF Ordinary Account. The additional grants will be credited to their CPF SA and MA; this will better help them with their housing, healthcare and retirement needs in a holistic way.
The increase in SHG and corresponding adjustments will apply from the September 2015 BTO and Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) exercise.
Helping Lower-Income Own a Home Again
In addition, MND and HDB are studying a Fresh Start Housing Scheme to help families with young children currently in HDB rental flats start afresh with a 2-room flat if they are committed to make the effort. One suggestion is to offer these families a 2-room Flexi flat on shorter lease and with stricter resale conditions. MND and HDB are prepared to consider a new Fresh Start Housing Grant to help them pay for the flat, if the families are prepared to put in the effort to remain in employment and put their children in school. The details are important to ensure that the scheme meets its objective. We will consult the public and work with social service agencies to design a practical and meaningful scheme.
Source: MND Press Release 24 Aug 2015 01:00 PM