More households get CPF housing grants

More households received Central Provident Fund (CPF) housing grants in the latest financial year, in part due to recent policy changes that opened grants and public housing to more people.

A total of 6,173 families benefited from one or more such grants in the year ended March 31, according to the Housing Board's annual report released yesterday . This is up nearly a quarter from the 4,959 households that received similar grants in the previous year.

Experts noted policy changes in the past year that introduced new grants and made more people eligible for HDB flats, such as raising the income ceiling from $10,000 to $12,000 for citizen households buying new flats from the HDB, or resale flats with the CPF Housing Grant.

The Proximity Housing Grant, introduced in August 2015 to help families live closer together, was also disbursed to 2,392 households.

Mr Nicholas Mak, research head for SLP International Property Consultants, noted that the number of households who booked new flats and applied for resale flats grew by 1.6 per cent and 11 per cent respectively - a smaller increase than the 24.5 per cent jump in grants given out. "It's reasonable to assume that each household received more grants this time round," he said.

The HDB also incurred an overall deficit of $1.639 billion in the 2015 to 2016 financial year. The deficit from home ownership alone - which comprises gross loss on the sale of flats, CPF housing grants disbursed and the expected loss for flats currently under development - amounted to $1.179 billion.

Compared with the previous financial year, home ownership deficit was down 32.7 per cent from $1.753 billion. In a statement yesterday, the HDB attributed this to the tapering off of flat supply since 2014. "As a result, fewer contracts were awarded for the development of flats."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 14, 2016, with the headline 'More households get CPF housing grants'. Print Edition | Subscribe