SINGAPORE - Slightly more than half of all new two-room flats were bought by seniors aged 55 and above since the two-room Flexi Scheme was introduced in 2015.
Of these senior buyers, about 9 in 10 opted for short leases ranging from 15 to 45 years, in five-year increments, with the 40-year lease being the most popular, according to the Housing and Development Board (HDB) on Sunday (Feb 9).
HDB offered about 28,900 units of the two-room flexi flats between the first November 2015 sales exercise and 31 Dec last year.
Since then, 85 per cent or 21,348 of the 25,106 two-room flexi flats offered in 27 completed sales exercises have been booked, said HDB.
Of these units, 55 per cent were booked by seniors aged 55 years and above, while the rest were booked by families and singles.
Among the flats purchased by seniors, 92 per cent or 10,705 units were on short leases, while the remaining were 99-year leases.
The 40-year lease option was the most popular at 3,339 units. This was followed by the 35-year lease at 2,903 units and the 30-year lease at 1,844 units.
Only 179 buyers chose to go with the shortest lease of 15 years, with the oldest buyer being 99 years old when applying for a flat with such a lease.
Buyers pay less for a flat with a shorter lease. For example, in the November sales exercise, a 15-year lease two-room flexi flat in Tengah cost between $39,000 and $58,000, while the same flat with a 99-year lease cost between $110,000 and $167,000.
Seniors who buy two-room flexi flats may also apply for the Silver Housing Bonus, which provides a cash bonus of up to $20,000 per household when they use their net sale proceeds when downsizing their property to top up their CPF Retirement Accounts and join CPF Life.
Since the bonus was introduced in 2013, 807 households have benefited from the scheme as at Dec 31 last year.
HDB said it will continue to launch Build-To-Order projects with two-room flexi flats islandwide.
This includes locations in Choa Chu Kang, Pasir Ris, Sembawang, Tengah and Toa Payoh in the upcoming February and March sales exercises.
Apart from allowing senior flat buyers the flexibility to choose a lease length, the two-room Flexi Scheme also offers senior-friendly features such as a lower kitchen counter-top for wheelchair users.
In selected projects from the February sales exercise, two-room flexi units with flexible space will be offered. Those who buy a short-lease two-room flexi flat with flexible space may opt for the Optional Component package, which will include senior-friendly fittings including a folding partition separating the living room and bedroom.
This will allow buyers to use the space to accommodate a caregiver, or when entertaining visitors, said HDB.