New proximity grant for non-first-time buyers too

HDB flats along Bendemeer Road near the Kolam Ayer ABC Waterfront.
HDB flats along Bendemeer Road near the Kolam Ayer ABC Waterfront. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

A new housing grant will be introduced to further 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 Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday during his National Day Rally speech.

"Parents often would want to stay with or near their married children. So that the grandparents can enjoy their grandkids, and the adult children can help to look after the old folks as they age," Mr Lee said.

He added that the Ministry of National Development will announce details of this grant soon.

The Housing Board already has incentives for families to live closer or together.

Currently, parents and their married children who apply to live with or near each other have up to 30 per cent of new flats set aside for them under the HDB's Married Child Priority Scheme.

The Multi-Generation Priority Scheme also sets aside a portion of flats for married children and their parents applying for units in the same BTO project.

Meanwhile, first-time buyers of resale flats now enjoy a grant of up to $40,000 if they move in with their parents, or if their parents or married children live in the same town or within 2km.

PropNex Realty chief executive Mohamed Ismail Gafoor said the new grant promotes "pro-family cohesiveness".

"Such a grant will also come in handy, given current market conditions," he said, referring to weak HDB resale prices.

But IT consultant Brenda Lee, 27, who is looking for her first flat with her fiance, described the new grant as "bad news". She said: "We now have to fight with non-first timers for resale flats in mature estates. The greater demand might drive up prices, too."

Yeo Sam Jo

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 24, 2015, with the headline 'New proximity grant for non-first-time buyers too'. Print Edition | Subscribe