4,500 families set up homes with parents or children under HDB scheme to get families to live closer

Around $550 million has been disbursed to 29,600 households under the Proximity Housing Grant scheme so far. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - In the past four years, around 4,500 families and singles set up homes in the same Housing Board block, or even the same flat, as their parents or children.

They were among 30,100 first-timers who applied for the Proximity Housing Grant (PHG), which was introduced in August 2015 with the aim of fostering closer family ties and for mutual care and support.

Those families make up about a third of the 96,800 applications registered between Aug 24, 2015, and Dec 31 last year for resale flats, according to figures released by the HDB on Sunday (Feb 16).

Around $550 million has been disbursed to 29,600 households under the PHG scheme so far.

Under the scheme, which applies to resale flats, first-timer families or singles receive $20,000 and $10,000 respectively when they buy a resale flat within 4km of their parents or child's home.

For families or singles who buy a resale flat to live with their parents or children, the amount rises to $30,000 and $15,000 respectively.

As for new flats, the HDB said that in the last four months of 2019, it received 26,500 applications from first-time buyers across the different sales modes like Build-To-Order, Sale of Balance Flats, Re-offer of Flats exercises and open bookings.

Out of those applications, 80 per cent, or around 20,800 households, were eligible for the HDB's Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (EHG).

This grant supplants the former Additional CPF Housing Grant and the Special CPF Housing Grant and is available to eligible buyers regardless of whether they buy a new or resale flat, and does not restrict buyers on their choice of flat type and location.

First-timer families with a monthly household income of less than $9,000 are eligible for the maximum EHG grant of $80,000.

Eligible first-timer singles aged 35 and above - earning not more than $4,500 a month - can receive an EHG of up to $40,000.

To access the full EHG amount, the flat has to be able to cover the families and their spouses to the age of 95.

If they choose to buy a flat that does not cover them until 95, they will get a pro-rated sum under the EHG.

Around $1.6 million worth of EHG grants had been disbursed to 43 households as at Dec 31 last year, the HDB said, with the remaining applications being processed.

It also received about 7,300 applications for resale flats between Sept 11 and Dec 31 last year, with half coming from first-time buyers.

Almost all applicants were eligible for the EHG, with 2,000 households having applied for it.

About $40 million in EHG has been disbursed to around 1,500 households, and the remaining applicants will receive the EHG once their resale transactions are completed.

Under the EHG, eligible first-timer families buying a resale flat could potentially get up to $160,000 in housing grants, comprising a CPF Housing Grant of up to $50,000, an EHG of up to $80,000 and a PHG of up to $30,000.

Head of research and consultancy at ERA Realty Nicholas Mak said a large number of singles appear to be looking to live near their parents, which is an "encouraging sign" and shows that the PHG scheme appears to be achieving its aims.

But he added that the HDB could give families more options by going beyond the 4km radius, which he acknowledged could introduce problems.

"If you widen it, it will make more households eligible (for the scheme), but it will also weaken family ties.

"People will end up living in a totally different town, and have transport problems."

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