More receive grants for HDB flats

Mr Sathish and his fiancee Stella Shalini David John successfully applied for a Build-To-Order flat in Hougang last November, and received $60,000 in HDB grants. Madam Nur Liza and her husband Yulandi Abu Bakar with their children (from left) Nurul N
Madam Nur Liza and her husband Yulandi Abu Bakar with their children (from left) Nurul Naqibah Yulandi, Nurul Batrisyia Yulandi and Muhammad Akmal Yulandi, and Madam Nur Liza's mother Sudini Sanipan (right). The couple bought a resale flat in the same block as Madam Nur Liza's parents' unit, and got a $20,000 Proximity Housing Grant.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG
Mr Sathish and his fiancee Stella Shalini David John successfully applied for a Build-To-Order flat in Hougang last November, and received $60,000 in HDB grants. Madam Nur Liza and her husband Yulandi Abu Bakar with their children (from left) Nurul N
Mr Sathish and his fiancee Stella Shalini David John successfully applied for a Build-To-Order flat in Hougang last November, and received $60,000 in HDB grants. ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

2,100 families, 240 singles given Proximity Housing Grant since it was rolled out last year

When former Jurong resident Nur Liza Roslan started searching for a new home last year, she wanted a place near her parents' flat.

The 29-year-old mother of three often travelled to Bukit Batok to leave her children with her parents while she and her husband went to work.

As luck would have it, the retail assistant found a four-room resale flat for sale - in the same block and on the same floor as her parents' home.

With their Central Provident Fund (CPF) savings, the couple bought the unit for $323,000 in December, after receiving a $20,000 Proximity Housing Grant from the Housing Board.

The grant, introduced last year to encourage families to live closer, is given to Singapore citizen families who buy a resale flat with or near their parents or married child.

"We get to save a lot of money and also save time. It is so much more convenient now. We don't have to travel back and forth," said Madam Nur Liza, who moved into her new flat last week. "We are also a close family, so my parents are very happy that we are now just down the corridor."

She and her husband are one of 2,100 families and 240 singles who have received the Proximity Housing Grant since it was introduced in August last year, HDB told The Straits Times.

The grant quantum is $10,000 for eligible singles who buy a resale flat to live in with their parents.

More Singaporeans have become newly eligible for flats and housing grants since the Government tweaked several housing policies last year.

The household income ceilings to buy resale flats using the CPF Housing Grant and new HDB flats, for instance, were raised. The ceiling for families was lifted from $10,000 to $12,000, while the ceiling for singles went from $5,000 to $6,000.

As a result, an additional 3,700 families and 800 singles became newly eligible to buy a new flat from HDB or a resale flat with the CPF Housing Grant, HDB said.

The Special CPF Housing Grant was also enhanced from the November 2015 flat launches to help lower- and middle-income households afford their first home. The household income ceiling for grant eligibility was raised from $6,500 to $8,500 for families and from $3,250 to $4,250 for singles.

The maximum grant amount was doubled to $40,000 for families and $20,000 for singles.

In the November 2015 and February 2016 sales launches since then, some 16,400 applicants for new flats either became eligible to apply for the grant or qualified for higher grant amounts, HDB said.

Aviation technician Sathish Kumar M. Harivalagan, 26, and his fiancee were one such household.

They successfully applied for a four-room Build-To-Order flat in Hougang last November, and received $60,000 in HDB grants. These comprised a $40,000 Special CPF Housing Grant and a $20,000 Additional CPF Housing Grant.

They also had an HDB loan of about $212,200, Mr Sathish said. The new flat, costing about $234,700 after the grants, will be paid for entirely in CPF savings with no cash outlay.

He said this is a huge help for him and his fiancee, who have a combined monthly income of just above $3,000. "It would have been a struggle to afford our own flat without any grant," he said. "Now, we don't have to worry so much and can spend more money on renovation."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 13, 2016, with the headline 'More receive grants for HDB flats'. Print Edition | Subscribe