Parliament: Elderly home buyers to get more help to buy smaller HDB flats

Two new schemes have been introduced to help elderly home-buyers looking to get smaller HDB flats.
Two new schemes have been introduced to help elderly home-buyers looking to get smaller HDB flats. PHOTO: THE BUSINESS TIMES

SINGAPORE - More help will arrive for elderly home buyers looking to get a smaller Housing Board (HDB) flat, including a new deferred downpayment scheme (DDS) to ease cash flow problems.

Available from the May Build-to-Order launch onwards, the scheme allows eligible buyers at 55 years old and above to fork out their downpayment only at the point of key collection.

A new temporary loan scheme (TLS) will also allow buyers to finance their purchase without taking out a mortgage.

These schemes were announced by National Development Minister Lawrence Wong in Parliament on Tuesday (March 7) to help elderly flat owners as they look to move to smaller units when they are no longer living with their children.

Elderly buyers currently need to pay a minimum of 5 to 10 per cent of the flat purchase price when they first sign the lease agreement with the HDB around four months after they first book the flat.

The balance purchase price will be due for payment when the new flat is ready for keys collection.

But they may not have the cash at hand as their funds are still locked up until they are able to sell their current home.

With the DDS, they need to pay only the stamp and legal fees when they sign the lease, deferring their downpayment to later.

The DDS applies only to those looking for a two-room Flexi or three-room flat.

They may also take out a bridging loan from HDB under the TLS, which will also be extended to other non-elderly new flat buyers.

This size of this loan depends on what is needed to purchase the new flat, taking into account the available CPF savings.

An express queue for seniors has been implemented at HDB Hub since Dec 2016, giving the elderly priority to access HDB's services.

This includes one-on-one consultation to help them understand the various monetisation options available.

Said Mr Wong: "We hope this tailored package of measures can make the right-sizing process much easier and a more pleasant one for our seniors, from start to finish."