Khaw Boon Wan, Housing

Budget 2013: Singles can soon buy flats from HDB

From July, singles earning $5,000 or less will be allowed to buy new two-room flats directly from the Housing Board.

These flats will only be in non-mature estates, and buyers must be at least 35-years- old.

National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan announced these details in Parliament today during the debate over the budget of the Ministry of National Development.

This change in policy was first promised by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in last year's National Day Rally. He acknowledged that singles face limited housing options due to rising resale flat prices.

Currently, singles aged 35 years old and above can buy only resale flats. They get a cash grant of $15,000 from HDB if they earn $5,000 or less.

Mr Khaw said that the reason for the $5,000 income ceiling in the new singles policy is because this is the group facing the most financial difficulty in procuring housing.

He said that other details are still being finalised, such as how much subsidy will be given in the discounting of flat prices, and what relative priority to apply to married couples who are also balloting for similar flats.

But these details will be settled "as quickly as we can" in time for July's BTO launch, he said.

Mr Khaw also responded to MPs' calls for help for divorcees who are debarred from buying new flats for a period of five years after their divorce.

He said that this will be shortened to three years "to help them move on with their lives, especially those with children."

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