Committee of Supply debate: Ministry of National Development

More schemes to help elderly home buyers

Mr Sin and his wife, Madam Chan, were fortunate not to have to take out another loan when they downsized to a two-room flat.
Mr Sin and his wife, Madam Chan, were fortunate not to have to take out another loan when they downsized to a two-room flat.ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO

There will be more help given to elderly home buyers seeking smaller Housing Board flats.

This includes a new deferred down payment scheme (DDS) available from the Build-To-Order launch in May. It allows eligible buyers aged 55 and above to make a down payment only when they collect the keys.

A new temporary loan scheme (TLS) will also allow buyers to finance their purchases without taking out a mortgage, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said in Parliament yesterday.

The schemes will help elderly flat owners like Mr Sin Guin Pui, 86. With both children grown up, the kitchen helper has little need for the extra bedroom in his three-room Havelock Road flat. So he and his wife Chan Man Foong, 65, downsized to a two-room flat in 2015. "Thankfully, I had enough proceeds from the sale to not require another loan," he said.

But not all elderly folk are as fortunate.

Buyers currently need to pay a minimum of 5 per cent to 10 per cent of the flat purchase price when they first sign the lease agreement with the HDB. The balance is due when the keys of the new flat are ready for collection but they may not have the cash available until they sell their current home.

With the DDS, elderly buyers need to pay only the stamp and legal fees when they sign the lease, deferring the down payment to later. The DDS applies only to two-room Flexi or three-room flats.

They may also take out a bridging loan from HDB under the TLS. The size of the loan depends on what is needed to purchase the new flat.

An express queue for seniors has been implemented at HDB Hub since December last year.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 08, 2017, with the headline 'More schemes to help elderly home buyers'. Print Edition | Subscribe