In the second quarter of this financial year in Singapore, home buyers who are getting their first HDB flats likely to receive immense incentives. The changes in the incentive structure have been incorporated to attract more buyers in its fold. With this, first-time home buyers will enjoy the benefits of having grants that are higher and at the same time, there will be more flexibility when comes to selecting the size and location of their HDB flats.
The incentives for home buyers
The household income ceiling to acquire a new HDB flats directly from HDB has been increased. This amount was last raised in 2015.
Previously, the grants available for homebuyers were categorized into different kinds
- CPF Housing Grant – Up to $50,000 for purchase of resale HDB in the open market and the income ceiling is $12,000
- Additional Housing Grant also known as AHG is also a additional CPF housing grant provides up to $40,000 for both new and resale HDBs that are four-room or smaller and are located in non-mature housing estates. The income ceiling for the household is at $12,000.
- Special CPF Housing Grant also known as SHG of up to $40,000 (new flats only) for household income ceiling of $5000 and below.
- Proximity Housing Grant of $30,000 for resale flat buyers who are staying near their parents/children.
The recent changes state that there will be new type of housing grant named Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (EHG). This will replace the two older AHG and SHG grant to provide homebuyers greater flexibility in affording a flat conducive to their needs.
Currently, the grants available are
- CPF Housing Grant – Up to $50,000 for purchase of resale HDB in the open market and income ceiling for the household has been raised to $14,000.
- Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (EHG) – for both new and resale flats purchaser, they could get a grant of up to $80,000 if their income ceiling is up to $9,000. Previously, the SHG is only applicable to New HDB flat buyers and the income ceilings for both AHG and SHG is much lower at $5,000 and $8,500 respectively.
- The Proximity Housing Grant of $30,000 for resale flat buyers who are staying near their parents/children still remain available.
Previously, buyers intending to buy Build-To-Order (BTO) flats from HDB are only eligible for SHG and AHG while those buying a resale home could get only be eligible for the AHG and CPF Housing Grant. The reforms formulated combines both SHG and AHG into the Enhanced Housing Grant of up to maximum $80,000 and this grant now also made available to resale HDB buyers. Further, restrictions on buyers’ selection of flat and location has been removed which means that first-time buyers can get an additional grant of up to $40,000 when getting a new HDB directly from the government. The requirement for this is that the lease of the HDB must be able to cover the purchasers until they reach the age of 95. This is the authorities’ effort to ensure that citizens of Singapore will be able to own a home that they can last them a lifetime. Those not meeting this condition shall receive a pro-rated amount, this will be dependent on the lease of the HDB flat.
The income ceiling for Singaporean households to buy new flats has been raised to $14,000. Likewise the income ceiling for EC in Singapore are also raised to $16,000. This is definitely great news for families who are looking for new flats that come along with more facilities and premium finishing and fittings.
According to the Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong, there will most probably be more BTOs added in the 2020s as demands for HDBs increases. Demands are expected to be higher with implementation of higher grants. For this its third BTO launch, which was expected to be scheduled for the next month, has been postponed in order to obtain for home buyers to enjoy the new changes. The board is on track to launch another 15,000 flats in this year and the next. All kinds of home buyers as well as home sellers are likely to benefit from the recent reforms initiated under the new home-buying rules. How these reforms affect the real estate business remains to be seen.