New two-room flexi housing scheme to allow different lease lengths: Khaw Boon Wan

Currently, studio apartments are meant for elderly home owners using a previous flat to fund their retirement. These have a 30-year lease and are for those aged at least 55.
Currently, studio apartments are meant for elderly home owners using a previous flat to fund their retirement. These have a 30-year lease and are for those aged at least 55. ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH

SINGAPORE - A new public housing scheme merging studio apartments and two-room flats will give buyers flexibility in their lease lengths, said National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan on Tuesday.

Details for the new Two-Room Flexi scheme will be announced in the next few weeks, and the scheme will be rolled out as early as the next Build-to-Order (BTO) sales exercise in August.

Mr Khaw, who was speaking during a radio programme on Chinese station Capital 95.8FM, said the unified scheme would "give buyers more flexible leases depending on their individual needs".

Currently, studio apartments are meant for elderly home owners using a previous flat to fund their retirement. These have a 30-year lease and are for those aged at least 55.

Two-room flats, on the other hand, come with a 99-year lease and are meant for families or singles. Both flat types come in 36 sq m or 45 sq m sizes, but studio apartments are cheaper due to their shorter leases.

During the show, Mr Khaw also echoed his earlier hint in March that the income ceiling for new Housing Board flats might be raised.

Generally, households with a gross income of more than $10,000 are not eligible for new HDB flats. Those earning more than $12,000 cannot buy executive condominiums (ECs). The ceiling was last raised in 2011, from $8,000 for HDB flats and $10,000 for ECs. Prior to that, the $8,000 limit had remained unchanged for 17 years.

Speaking to reporters after the show, Mr Khaw said: "I generally prefer to give every Singaporean couple a chance (to live) in HDB (flats)...I think it's part and parcel of (the) Singaporean way of life."

yeosamjo@sph.com.sg