More Help, Stronger Support, Better Homes

Date issued : 27 Aug 2013
The Government is introducing four additional measures to help middle-income Singaporeans afford their first home and low-income families upgrade to larger flats, and to facilitate mutual care and support for multi-generation families. In addition, we are introducing two measures to further stabilize the HDB resale market.

I) Help Middle-income Families Afford Their First Home
a) Enhancement of the Special CPF Housing Grant

2  Currently, first-time home buyers purchasing new flats enjoy up to $60,000 of housing grants via the Additional CPF Housing Grant (AHG) and the Special CPF Housing Grant (SHG). This has made 2-room and 3-room flats affordable. The SHG (of up to $20,000) is, however, available only to households earning not more than $2,250 and buying 2-room and 3-room standard flats in the non-mature estates.

3 The SHG will be enhanced to also benefit middle-income households buying 4-room flats:
 a) The income ceiling for the SHG will be raised from $2,250 to $6,500. This will extend the SHG benefits from low-income to middle-income families; and
 b) The SHG will also be extended to first-time buyers of 4-room flats (standard or premium) in the non-mature estates.

4 Consequently, the current SHG income ceiling for singles buying 2-room Build-To-Order (BTO) flats under the Single Singapore Citizen (SSC) Scheme will also be raised to $3,250. This will further enhance their ability to afford a 2-room flat.
5 This new measure will apply from the Jul 2013 BTO exercise, as the selection exercise for these flats has yet to commence.
II) Help Low Income Families Upgrade
b) Step-Up CPF Housing Grant

6 Currently, housing grants are only available to first-time buyers of HDB flats. Second-time buyers of subsidised flats are also subject to the resale levy. The resale levy reduces the subsidy on the second subsidised flat, so as to maintain a fair allocation of public housing subsidies between first and second-timers. The resale levy policy will stay.

7 However, to help families in subsidised 2-room flats in the non-mature estates upgrade to 3-room standard flats in the non-mature estates (after they have served the Minimum Occupation Period), we are introducing a new Step-Up CPF Housing Grant of $15,000 to such families. Similar to the AHG and the SHG, the Step-Up CPF Housing Grant will be subject to the workfare condition, i.e. the applicant, or spouse/fiancé/fiancée must be in continuous employment for the 12 months before flat application, and remain employed at the time of flat application.

8 As with other housing grants, the Step-Up CPF Housing Grant will be credited into the buyer(s)’ CPF Ordinary Account (OA) at the point of flat purchase, and will have to be refunded into the CPF OA upon sale of the 3-room flat.

9This new measure will also start from the Jul 2013 BTO exercise.
III) Support Multi-Generation Families
c) Enhancement of the Multi-Generation Priority Scheme
10 Currently, the Multi-Generation Priority Scheme (MGPS) allows parents applying for a Studio Apartment (SA) or a 2-room flat to submit a joint application with their married child applying for a 2-room or bigger flat in the same BTO project. This enables both families to live in the same precinct for mutual care and support.

11 We are enhancing the MGPS to allow parents to apply for a 3-room flat as well.

12 We will set aside up to 15% of the SA, 2-room and 3-room flat supply in a BTO project (subject to minimum of 20 units each) for parents applying under MGPS. Correspondingly, the same number of 2-room and bigger flats will be set aside for their married children. In total, about 400 pairs of new flats will be offered under the MGPS in the upcoming Sep and Nov 2013 BTO exercises.
d) Three-Generation Flats

13 In addition, HDB will pilot a new type of Three-Generation (3Gen) flats to cater to multi-generation families living under one roof. These 3Gen flats will feature four bedrooms and three bathrooms (two en-suites), with an internal floor area of about 115 square metres.

14 To be eligible for 3Gen flats, applicants must form a multi-generation family comprising at least a married/courting couple and their parent(s). To ensure that these purpose-built 3Gen flats serve the target group, subletting of room(s) will not be allowed during the five-year Minimum Occupation Period (MOP). After fulfilling the MOP, these 3Gen flats can only be resold in the open market to other eligible multi-generation families.

15 The first project with about 80 units of 3Gen flats will be launched in Yishun in the Sep 2013 BTO exercise. HDB will monitor the response and calibrate the supply of 3Gen flats accordingly.

IV) Measures to Further Stabilise the HDB Resale Market
e) Revision of Mortgage Loan Terms

16 To ensure financial prudence in purchase of public housing and discourage over-consumption, we will reduce the maximum tenure for HDB housing loans from 30 years to 25 years. The Mortgage Servicing Ratio (MSR) limit will also be reduced from 35% to 30% of the borrower’s gross monthly income (see Annex C  (PDF 139KB) for details). These measures are in line with those introduced by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to encourage financial prudence among borrowers, which is especially important given that the current low interest rate environment is unlikely to be sustained.

17 In tandem, the MAS will reduce the maximum tenure of new housing loans and re-financing facilities1 granted by financial institutions for the purchase of HDB flats (including DBSS flats) from 35 years to 30 years. New loans with tenures exceeding 25 years and up to 30 years will be subject to tighter loan-to-value (LTV) limits 2 .

f) Requiring Singapore Permanent Resident Households to Wait Three Years

18 Currently, Singapore Permanent Resident (SPR) households, i.e. SPR households with no Singapore citizen owner, may buy resale HDB flats as soon as they acquire SPR status.

19 We have reviewed this policy and have decided that SPR households should wait three years from the date of obtaining SPR status, before they can buy a resale HDB flat.
20 This measure will apply to resale applications received on or after 27 Aug 2013, 5:30pm.

21 For further enquiries on any of the above measures, the public can contact HDB:

 Sales/Resale Customer Service Line: 1800-866-3066
 Branch Service Line: 1800-225-5432 (for transfer of existing flat)