More than 2,000 flat applicants benefit from housing policy changes: Lawrence Wong

National Development Minister Lawrence Wong at the Waterway Terraces in Punggol.
National Development Minister Lawrence Wong at the Waterway Terraces in Punggol.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - More flat applicants are benefiting from recent housing policy changes, as the Housing Board's largest sales exercise this month has met with warm response.

An additional 2,100 families and 220 singles have been able to apply for new flats with the higher income ceilings, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said in a blog post on Thursday (Nov 26).

The income ceilings were raised from $10,000 to $12,000 for families and from $5,000 to $6,000 for singles, rendering more applicants eligible to purchase new HDB homes.

Some 6,500 families were also eligible for the enhanced Special CPF Housing Grant, which is aimed to help more lower- and middle-income families buy homes, said Mr Wong. These include both newly-eligible and previously-eligible families, after the income ceiling was raised to $8,500.

He added that response to the new Two-Room Flexi Scheme has been "encouraging". About 1,400 seniors applied for the 966 units of two-room flexi flats offered in the current Build-To-Order exercise.

Overall, the ratio of applicants to two-room flexi flats has been a "healthy" 2.5, said Mr Wong. This ratio for three-room or larger flats currently stands at 3.2.

This month's bumper launch, which combines the September and November exercises so more buyers can benefit from recent policy changes, offers about 12,000 Build-To-Order (BTO) and balance flats.

Despite their higher prices, BTO flats in the hotly anticipated new estate of Bidadari have received some of the highest application rates so far.

A quarter of these applicants applied to live with or near their parents and married children through the Married Child Priority Scheme.

Mr Wong said another 1,600 Bidadari units will be launched in February next year to meet with this strong demand.

He noted that flats in non-mature estates are "more affordable" and make up 70 per cent of the BTO flats launched this month. So far, there are only 1.6 first-timer applicants to every flat in non-mature estates.

"Taken together, this means that almost all first-timer applicants will stand a good chance of selecting an affordable flat of their choice," said Mr Wong.

He added that the flat supply will continue to be tweaked according to demand.

"With application rates stabilising, we are still keeping a close eye on buyer demand and will adjust the BTO supply accordingly," Mr Wong wrote.

The current HDB sales exercise closes at 11.59pm on Thursday.