For those who are intending to buy their first HDB flat, the latest changes made on 10 September for HDB grants and the income ceiling requirement for the purchase of HDB flats will come across as good news for aspiring homeowners in Singapore.
The changes are not only positive, if you are a couple looking to buy your first HDB flat, but also helps homebuyers in understanding the more simplified types of grants that are available for both Build-To-Order (BTO) and HDB resale flats.
Here's a quick rundown of the 4 important changes which are going to help first-time homeowners in Singapore buy their HDB flat.
#1 HIGHER INCOME CEILING FOR FIRST-TIME BUYERS OF BTO FLAT, EXECUTIVE CONDOMINIUM
Previously, in order to qualify for a BTO flat, the average monthly household income ceiling was $12,000.
Moving forward, the monthly income ceiling for household will increase to $14,000, giving more Singapore families a chance to buy their own BTO flat if they choose to.
To us, it makes sense that the income ceiling has increased. Last raised in 2015 to $12,000, gross median income back in 2014 (we are using 2014 figure since 2015 median income figure wouldn't have been available in 2015) was $3,222. Since then, it has increased to $3,792, or about 17 per cent. Hence a raise of the income ceiling by $2,000, or about 17 per cent, is also logical.
Income ceiling for Executive Condominium (EC) have likewise increased from $14,000 to $16,000.
|Previous||11 Sep 2019 onwards|
#2 HIGHER INCOME CEILING TO QUALIFY FOR FAMILY GRANT (FIRST-TIME BUYER OF RESALE FLAT, EC)
Unlike BTO buyers who are offered subsidised prices from HDB when buying a flat, first-time buyers of HDB resale flats in Singapore have to pay market price for their flats. Market price in this instance is determined by both what buyers are willing to pay, and what sellers are expecting.
However, first-time buyer of resale flat and EC do qualify for the Family Grant. To qualify for the grant, average monthly household income have to be less than $14,000, up from $12,000 previously.
|2-room to 4-room resale flat||5-room or bigger resale flat, Executive Condominium|
#3 SIMPLIFIED (AND HIGHER) GRANTS VIA ENHANCED CPF HOUSING GRANTS
HDB Grants in the past were (similar to CPF) a little confusing at times. That's because we previously had the Additional Housing Grant (AHG, for BTO & resale) and the Special CPF Housing Grant (SHG, for BTO only) and the Family Grant (for resale only).
Moving forward, the AHG and the SHG will be combined to be just one grant - Enhanced CPF Housing Grant. The Enhanced CPF Housing Grant will give first-time homeowners, regardless of whether they buy a BTO or resale flat, additional subsidy based on their average household monthly income.
|Average Monthly Household Income (Over a period of 12 months)||Enhanced CPF Housing Grant Amount|
|Less than $1,500||$80,000|
|$1,501 to $2,000||$75,000|
|$2,001 to $2,500||$70,000|
|$2,501 to $3,000||$65,000|
|$3,001 to $3,500||$60,000|
|$3,501 to $4,000||$55,000|
|$4,001 to $4,500||$50,000|
|$4,501 to $5,000||$45,000|
|$5,001 to $5,500||$40,000|
|$5,501 to $6,000||$35,000|
|$6,001 to $6,500||$30,000|
|$6,501 to $7,000||$25,000|
|$7,001 to $7,500||$20,000|
|$7,501 to $8,000||$15,000|
|$8,001 to $8,500||$10,000|
|$8,501 to $9,000||$5,000|
#4 ADDED BENEFITS TO OPT FOR RESALE FLATS
The biggest winner of the latest change of in housing grant and income ceiling will be for first-time homeowners who were already intending to buy a resale flat.
Besides the increase in income ceiling to qualify for the Family Grant (see point 2), first-time resale flat buyer will now qualify for additional grant subsidies - because the Special Housing Grant (SHG), which was previously meant only for first-time home owners buying a 4-room or smaller BTO flat in non-mature estate - have now been subsumed into the Enhanced CPF Housing Grant and available for both BTO and resale flat buyers.
For example, a couple who earns a combined income of $6,000 per month and who intends to buy a 4-room resale flat will receive a subsidy of $50,000 (Family Grant) previously.
Today, the same couple who earns a combined income of $6,000 per month will receive $50,000 (Family Grant) + $35,000 (Enhanced CPF Housing Grant) for a total of $85,000. They get this grant regardless of where they choose to stay.
If they decide to stay near to their parents (within 4km), they can also qualify for the Proximity Housing Grant (PHG) for a further $30,000. In total, they can receive up to $115,000 in grants.
The maximum grant first-time homeowners can receive when they buy a resale flat is $160,000 ($80,000 EHG for combined income of less than $1,500 + $50,000 Family Grant + $30,000 Proximity Housing Grant).
OTHER CHANGES & INITIATIVES WORTH NOTING
Besides the abovementioned changes, there are also positive upwards revision for other schemes such as the income ceiling cap being raised from $6,000 to $7,000 for the Step-Up CPF Housing Grant.
HDB also announced that it will be launching a new housing portal which will allow buyers and sellers to transact HDB flats on a single platform. It will be interesting for us to observe how HDB owners and potential buyers take to this platform once it's launched, as opposed to the private solutions being used today such as those offered by PropertyGuru and 99.co.
This article was first published in Dollars and Sense.