Forum: 15-month wait-out scheme prioritises public housing for those with genuine needs

We refer to the recent Forum letters on the 15-month wait-out period for private residential property owners and former owners buying resale Housing Board flats.

We thank the writers for their feedback and acknowledge the diverse views raised in the letters, which demonstrate the wide range of housing needs and aspirations of Singaporeans.

The number of private property owners buying HDB resale flats has doubled in the last three years.

Compared with first-time home buyers or existing HDB owners, these owners generally have more financial means from the sale proceeds of their private property.

Hence, they tend to pay higher amounts of cash over valuation when buying resale flats to secure the flat they want.

To moderate demand and ensure that resale flats remain affordable for flat buyers, especially first-timers, we introduced a 15-month wait-out period before private property owners are allowed to purchase a non-subsidised HDB resale flat. 

This helps to prioritise public housing for Singaporeans with more urgent housing needs. This is a temporary measure, which we will review depending on overall demand and market changes.

Nonetheless, we recognise that not all private property owners are in the same situation.

Some seniors need to sell their private property and right-size to an HDB flat to support their retirement needs. Hence, seniors above 55 who are moving from a private property to a four-room or smaller resale flat are exempted from the wait-out period. 

Those with extenuating circumstances can also approach HDB for assistance.

For example, for those who obtained an option to purchase to buy an HDB resale flat before the cooling measures were implemented on Sept 30, HDB will exercise flexibility and waive the 15-month wait-out period for buyers with documentary proof.

HDB flats are first and foremost meant for owner occupation.

Hence, HDB flat owners are not allowed to concurrently own any private property during their flat’s minimum occupation period.

This serves to dampen demand, deter the speculative purchase of HDB flats, and prioritise them for those with genuine housing needs.

We are monitoring the property market closely, and will continue to adjust our policies to keep public housing affordable and accessible to Singaporeans.

Sia Tze Ming

Director (Policy & Property)

Housing & Development Board

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