Singapore Budget 2018: Bigger grants to buy HDB resale flat with parents, singles to get grants to live near parents

Housing Board flats in Toa Payoh. Singles will now getting a $10,000 grant if they buy a Housing Development Board (HDB) resale flat near their parents. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - To encourage more caregiving support within families, a grant to make living with or near parents has been expanded.

Applicants will also get more options to choose a HDB resale flat that qualifies as living near their loved ones.

In his Budget speech on Monday (Feb 19), Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said the Proximity Housing Grant (PHG), rolled out in August 2015, has been enhanced with immediate effect, with singles now getting a grant if they buy a Housing Development Board (HDB) resale flat near their parents. They will get $10,000.

Previously, the grant was limited to singles who buy a flat to live with their parents and families who buy a flat to live with their parents or married children.

The grants for these groups of people will be increased by 50 per cent. The singles will now get $15,000 and the families will receive $30,000.

Families buying a resale flat to live near their parents will continue to get $20,000.

About 12,000 households made use of the PHG as of the end of last year (2017), representing about a quarter of the 50,000 resale transactions registered between Aug 24, 2015 and Dec 31 last year, the HDB said in an update last week.

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Of these, families made up 93 per cent of the applicants, with the rest being singles.

About $211 million in PHG has been disbursed to 11,000 families so far, and the enhancements will cost another $80 million per year.

Together with the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Housing Grant, which was enhanced last year, and the Additional CPF Housing Grant, a first-time applicant can now receive up to $120,000 in housing grants when buying a resale flat to live with his parents - a 50 per cent increase compared with three years ago.

Besides the enhanced PHG, the HDB is also simplifying the criterion of what constitutes a flat that is "near". Currently, it is defined as living in the same town or within 2 km, but this will be revised to simply "within 4 km", Mr Heng said.

According to figures from the HDB earlier this month, 16 per cent of those who have been given the grant live in the same block or flat as their parents or married children.

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