To make owning a home easier, HDB introduced a range of housing options and measures to meet different buyer needs and budgets.
Building Affordable and Quality Homes
In Financial Year (FY) 2018/ 2019, HDB launched 4 Build-To-Order (BTO) exercises, comprising 18 projects with about 15,300 flats across mature and non-mature towns. These included 1,096 flats with shorter wait times of 2 to 3 years instead of the typical 3 to 4 years, to help families get their homes earlier.
1,620 flats were launched in smart and sustainable Tengah, the first batch of flats in HDB’s newest town. Flat buyers have the option of subscribing to an energy-efficient cooling solution for their homes — a first for an HDB estate.
HDB also offered a total of 6,434 flats for sale in 2 Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) exercises, as well as 1,303 flats under 2 Re-Offer of Balance Flats (ROF) exercises.
A total of 15,748 flats were completed in this FY. These comprised 12,937 BTO units, 2,122 rental units, and 689 units under the Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS). As of 31 March 2019, 67,722 BTO and SERS flats, and 1,735 rental flats were under construction.
There was also a 7% increase in resale volume. Resale applications registered in FY 2018/ 2019 was 23,476, up from 22,005 applications in FY 2017/ 2018, indicating that resale flats continue to be in demand.
Stronger Housing Support
HDB implemented several new measures to help different segments of flat owners fulfil their housing needs and aspirations.
There are flats in Tampines GreenRidges that cater to elderly flat buyers
- To help flat buyers plan ahead and get their homes sooner, upcoming BTO projects will be announced 6 months in advance, while the balloting process will be shortened from 6 weeks to 3 weeks. These measures take effect from May 2019.
- From May 2018, young couples who are full-time students or National Servicemen (NS), or have recently completed their studies or NS, may defer the assessment of their income for housing grants and loans until just before key collection. This enables them to own a home earlier.
- The proximity conditions under the Married Child Priority Scheme (MCPS) and Senior Priority Scheme (SPS) were revised to enable more families to live closer to each other for strong mutual support. Families seeking to live near their parents or children can now buy a new HDB flat within 4km of each other. Previously, the proximity condition was defined as living in the same town, or within 2km.
- From August 2018, buyers who take HDB loans can choose to keep up to $20,000 each in their Central Provident Fund (CPF) Ordinary Account. The funds can be used for mortgage instalments in times of need and for retirement purposes.
- To smoothen their housing transition, divorcing parties can now apply for a new flat once they have obtained an Interim Judgement of divorce and settled matters pertaining to the matrimonial property and their children. The Final Judgement of divorce should be obtained before they collect the keys to their new flat.
Beyond helping flat buyers, HDB also enhanced policies to make it easier for home owners to unlock the value of their homes. The Lease Buyback Scheme (LBS) offers elderly residents the option to sell part of their flat lease back to HDB. In January 2019, LBS was extended to all flat types, including 5-room and larger flats, so that more residents can benefit from it.
Also from January 2019, home owners can rent out their flat or bedroom(s) to non-Malaysian, non-citizen tenants for up to 2 years instead of 1.5 years. This gives flat owners the flexibility to secure a longer tenancy period with tenants who have work/ immigration passes with a longer validity period.
Assistance for the Lower-income
HDB continued to care for the needs of lower-income families, working in close collaboration with other government agencies to provide them with holistic support.
- The Fresh Start Housing Scheme (FSH) was introduced to help second-timer public rental households with young children to buy 2-room Flexi flats with shorter leases so they can get back on their home ownership journey. The eligibility criteria for the scheme was relaxed to include families who have lived in a public rental flat for at least 1 year, down from the previous 2-year requirement. The age limit for the youngest Singaporean child was also raised from 16 years to 18 years to benefit more families. The new age limit will similarly be applied to the Parenthood Priority Scheme (PPS) and the Assistance Scheme for Second-Timers (Divorced/ Widowed Parents).
- HDB will set up a Home ownership Support Team (HST) to provide added support to rental tenants, especially families with children, who are ready to buy a flat. The team will guide and advise them on the flat-buying process, their financing options, and the available schemes and grants.
- To encourage rental tenants to work towards increasing their household income and save up towards home ownership, HDB will not raise the rents for those who have made the downpayment for a new flat, even if their income subsequently increases.
HDB provides various grants and schemes to meet Singaporeans’ housing needs and aspirations