MORE Singaporean households will be eligible to buy new Housing Board flats and executive condominiums (ECs) as the respective income ceilings are being raised, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced in his National Day Rally speech last night.
An existing housing grant for middle- and lower-income households will also be increased and made available to more homebuyers.
HIGHER INCOME CEILINGS
With the new income ceilings, higher-income households will be able to buy public flats.
Noting that incomes have risen since the income ceilings were last raised four years ago, Mr Lee said they will now be raised from $10,000 to $12,000 for new HDB flats, and $12,000 to $14,000 for ECs.
Middle- and lower-income first-timer buyers of new flats could receive a larger Special CPF Housing Grant (SHG).
The maximum grant amount will be raised from $20,000 to $40,000, though the grant amount varies depending on income, with lower-income families receiving bigger grants.
For instance, a median-income household that would previously receive $10,000 in SHG will now receive $30,000.
More households will also qualify. The SHG is currently available to households earning up to $6,500, covering half of all households. It will now be extended to those earning up to $8,500, so that two-thirds of households qualify.
Noting the Government's efforts in the last five years in housing, PM Lee said that "HDB flats will always be affordable and accessible to all".
He pointed out how Build-to-Order flat prices have stabilised, some 100,000 HDB flats were launched and that the queues for flats have been shortened.
FROM RENTERS TO OWNERS
PM Lee also announced a scheme to help families with children in public rental flats to buy their own flats.
Called the Fresh Start Housing Scheme, it will be introduced to make two-room flats more affordable to those who previously bought a flat but sold it and now live in public rental units.
PM Lee said the two-room flats will come with shorter leases and stricter resale conditions, in order to make them more affordable.
There will also be a Fresh Start Housing Grant to help second-timer rental households purchase their new flat, as well as counsellor support to assist such families with problems they might have.
But the grant is "not without conditions", and will be given only if the families show they are determined to get back on their feet, said PM Lee.
In a boon for families, a housing grant will be introduced to help families live closer together.
The Proximity Housing Grant will go to those buying a resale flat with or nearer to their parents or near their married children.
It will be available to all Singaporean households including non-first-time buyers, said PM Lee.
He added that the Ministry of National Development will announce details on this grant at a later date.
Noting that many couples want to live with or near their parents, or their married children, he said having families live closer allows grandparents to enjoy time with their grandchildren, and adult children to help look after elderly family members as they age.
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