The Singapore Housing Development Board’s two-room flexi scheme is growing popular among the senior citizens of the country. The scheme, introduced in November 2015, allows Singapore citizen who are at least 55 years old to obtain a lease for a time range of 15 to 45 years. In addition, the flats under the said scheme come with features like grab bars on walls which make daily living conditions senior friendly.
Most senior homeowners are downsizing from larger flats to the two-room flats as the scheme is more financially viable. In addition, the typical 99-year lease associated with most flats is fast losing its value for most senior homebuyers who either do not have children to pass their home onto or have dependents who have chosen to settle elsewhere.
Last week the HBD released recent numbers pertaining to the scheme to highlight its rising popularity among the semi-retired or retired populace. According to the statement released, slightly more than half (54%) of the two-room flexi units have been booked since the inception of the scheme were by clients aged 55 and above. 16,169 units were released. The number roughly translates to 8700 senior buyers. Among the said buyers nearly 91 percent, or 7959, opted for a shorter lease term, Over 2500 bookings were made on lease of 40 years. The HBD mentions that more than 2000 buyers have chosen a lease of 35 years option while over 1300 opted for a lease of 35 years. The shortest tenure which comes out to be 15 years has had 139 bookings so far.
The shorter leases are less expensive than the longer ones and are catching a lot of attention. However, the lease options have certain age requirements and specifications from the buyers and hence not everyone can qualify for a shorter lease. The age requirements have been calculated in such a manner that the leases for the flexi scheme shall covered minimally both the flat purchasers and co-purchaser (spouse) till they reach 95-year old. The scheme allows senior citizens to flexibly choose the tenure of the 2-room HDB flat, based on their needs, age and preferences. The lease is offered in a increments of 5 years.
The two-room flexi scheme is currently in place in the neighbourhood of Chai Chee. 937 more flats were launched under the scheme in Sengkang and Jurong West at the sales in February 2019. The HDB has announced that in areas such as Woodlands, Kallang Whampoa, and, two-room flexi flats will also be released as an options for interested flat buyers who are at least 55 years old. They will be available at the Build-To-Order (BTO) exercise that will be held in May 2019.
The current age demographics of the two-room flexi plan flats shows that 9 out of 10 buyers are senior buyers. The rest of the flats sold so far under this scheme is evenly divided among families and singles. The scheme however allows families that are buying new HDB flats for the first or even second time and singles that are buying a new flat for the first time to purchase the a 2-room HDB flat that is brand new directly from HDB on a regular 99-year lease.
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