$20,000 grant to help families live closer together

All Singaporean families buying a Housing Board resale flat near or with their parents or married children will receive a new $20,000 grant.
All Singaporean families buying a Housing Board resale flat near or with their parents or married children will receive a new $20,000 grant.PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

All Singaporean families buying a Housing Board resale flat near or with their parents or married children will receive a new $20,000 grant, regardless of their income levels and whether they have received housing subsidies before.

Eligible singles now get $10,000 if they buy a resale flat with their parents.

Details of the Proximity Housing Grant (PHG) and other housing policy changes were released by the Ministry of National Development and HDB yesterday, after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced the moves on Sunday.

Kicking in yesterday, the new grant is the latest move to help families live closer together.

Under the PHG, resale buyers receiving a subsidy for the first time get $10,000 more than under the previous Higher-Tier CPF Housing Grant. Singles get $5,000 more than before. The Higher-Tier grant will be discontinued.

The PHG is open to previously ineligible buyers, including owners of private property, though they must sell it within six months of buying the resale flat. Buyers can get the PHG only once. Grant recipients and their parents or married children must live near or with each other for at least five years afterwards.

Property experts believe the grant could boost transaction volumes in the sluggish resale market. But R'ST Research director Ong Kah Seng added: "It is unlikely to have a major impact on resale prices as (loan curbs) can effectively curb lifting of prices by sellers."

At Sunday's National Day Rally, Mr Lee also announced the higher income ceiling of $12,000 for HDB flats and $14,000 for executive condominiums (EC).

"The raising of the income ceiling is welcome news to us," said operations manager Ken Lee, 30, who is applying for a Build-to-Order (BTO) flat with his accountant girlfriend, 27. Their combined pay is $1,000 above the old $10,000 ceiling.

The new income ceilings, effective from yesterday, are not just for new homes, but also for the CPF Housing Grant for resale flats and the tiered CPF Housing Grant for ECs.

This will likely boost resale transaction volumes but prices are unlikely to spike, said ERA Realty key executive officer Eugene Lim.

The income ceiling for singles buying new two-room flats has been raised accordingly from $5,000 to $6,000.From the BTO launch next month, the maximum Special CPF Housing Grant will be $40,000, up from $20,000. Together with the existing Additional Housing Grant of up to $40,000, low-income first-time BTO buyers could get up to $80,000 in grants.

For two-room flats where the grant amount exceeds 95 per cent of the BTO price, buyers pay 5 per cent in cash or CPF savings. For instance, they pay only $3,750 for a $75,000 flat.

Any excess grant amount can be used to pay for optional items such as flooring, or go into buyers' CPF.

• Additional reporting by Yeo Sam Jo

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 25, 2015, with the headline '$20,000 grant to help families live closer together'. Print Edition | Subscribe