More than 3,000 rental tenants bought first flats since 2011

SINGAPORE: More than 3,000 rental tenants have purchased a flat in the Build-to-Order (BTO) or Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) sales exercises since 2011, the Housing and Development Board (HDB) said.

In a news release, the HDB said about 73 per cent of the first-time home owners, who were formerly rental tenants, bought a three-room or smaller HDB flat, with the majority buying a three-room flat. To date, about 1,300 of the rental tenants have moved into their new flats, HDB said.

HDB added that about 84 per cent of the rental tenants who purchased a flat did so with the help of the Additional CPF Housing Grant (AHG) or the Special CPF Housing Grant (SHG) or both. About 12 per cent received the maximum AHG and SHG of S$60,000, the maximum grant prevailing at the time that they selected their flat, HDB said. Eligible executive condominium applicants may also apply for CPF Housing Grants. Upcoming executive condo include The Visionaire EC , Wandervale EC and Parc Life EC while existing ones include The Terrace EC, Brownstone ECWaterwoods EC, Signature at Yishun, Skypark Residences, The Vales EC, The Criterion ECBellewaters EC, Bellewoods EC.

HDB said its Public Rental Scheme supports families who may not be financially ready to buy a flat. Their rental rates are heavily subsidised, and each rental term tenancy is for two years.

“Thereafter, HDB will review and assess the tenancy renewal. Tenants who are financially stable will be encouraged to consider buying a flat,” said HDB, adding that it now provides housing grants of up to S$80,000 – up to S$40,000 for the AHG and S$40,000 for the SHG – to eligible flat buyers.

Under the Tenants Priority Scheme (TPS), 10 per cent of the two-room Flexi and three-room flat supply in the BTO or SBF sales exercises is set aside for public rental tenant families who are buying their first home, HDB said. Since 2011, about 19 per cent of rental tenants who bought a flat did so under this scheme, HDB said.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had also announced the Fresh Start Housing Scheme at National Day Rally 2015, which aims to help second-time households with young children to move on from public rental housing to own a flat again.

“MND and HDB are studying the option of offering eligible tenants a new housing grant to buy a 2-room Flexi flat on shorter lease and with stricter resale conditions,” HDB said, adding that details will be announced when they are ready.

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