HDB continued with its mission to keep public housing within reach of all Singaporeans. This was done through measures and policies to ensure that there are homes for every budget and need.
Homes for All
In Financial Year (FY) 2015/ 2016, HDB launched 3 Build-To-Order (BTO) sales exercises, comprising 19 projects with a total of 15,275 flats spread across non-mature towns like Punggol and Bukit Batok, and mature towns such as Bidadari (Toa Payoh) and Tampines.
Adding to the pool of BTO flats were 10,737 flats released for sale in the May and November 2015 Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) exercises.
For HDB resale flats on the market in the FY, resale volume increased by 11%. From 17,673 registered resale applications in FY 2014/ 2015, it rose to 19,620 applications.
HDB completed a total of 23,935 new units within the FY. The number of BTO units constructed numbered 20,993, while those built under the Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS) stood at 736. HDB also built 2,206 rental units. This is in line with increasing the total rental housing stock to about 60,000 units by 2017.
Support for Singaporeans
There were several new measures implemented in the FY to help more Singaporeans own a flat. These targeted different needs and budgets, from young couples setting up their first home to second-timer families, and the elderly and singles.
The income ceiling was raised from $10,000 to $12,000 for citizen households to buy new flats from HDB, or HDB resale flats with the CPF Housing Grant, and the taking of an HDB loan at a concessionary interest rate. The income ceiling for citizen households to buy new Executive Condominium (EC) units with the tiered CPF Housing Grant was also raised from $12,000 to $14,000. These took effect from 24 August 2015. The revised income ceiling for the purchase of a new flat from HDB took effect from November 2015 sales exercises.
- The income ceiling for eligible singles to buy new 2-room flats from HDB on a 99-year lease, resale flats (up to 5-room) with the CPF Housing Grant under the Single Singaporean Citizen (SSC) scheme, and the taking on an HDB loan at the concessionary interest rate, was raised from $5,000 to $6,000. For elderly citizens, the income ceiling for them to qualify for monetisation options, was raised from $10,000 to $12,000. Some of these options include the Lease Buyback Scheme (LBS), the Silver Housing Bonus (SHB), and the short-lease 2-room Flexi flats.
- The income ceiling to qualify for the Special CPF Housing Grant (SHG) was raised from $6,500 to $8,500 for families and from $3,250 to $4,250 for singles. The maximum grant amount for the SHG was also doubled from $20,000 to $40,000 for families and from $10,000 to $20,000 for singles. These took effect from the November 2015 sales exercise.
- The LBS, introduced in 2009 and applicable to 3-room and smaller flats, was extended to include 4-room HDB flats in April 2015. This meant that it would now cover 75% of elderly HDB households compared to 35% previously. The latest enhancements also included a lowered CPF top-up requirement for households with 2 or more owners; and greater flexibility in the length of lease to be retained.
- The 2-room Flexi Scheme was implemented from the November 2015 BTO sales exercise, replacing the Studio Apartment and 2-room flat schemes. The scheme is a new housing option to better cater to the diverse housing needs of families, singles, and elderly. It also offers flexibility to give buyers a choice of lease and fittings.
- The Fresh Start Housing Scheme was announced to help second-timer public rental households, with young children, buy a flat of their own. The scheme would likely be implemented by end 2016.
- The Proximity Housing Grant (PHG) was implemented with effect from 24 August 2015, to encourage families to live near each other. The grant of $20,000 is for Singaporean families who buy a resale flat to live with or near (in the same town/ estate, or within 2km) their parents’ or married child’s home. For eligible singles, they enjoy a PHG of $10,000 if they buy a resale flat to live with their parents.