Two-room Flexi scheme for HDB flats will have leases from 15 to 45 years for older households

The scheme is expected to be rolled out during the next BTO flat launch in September. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The new Two-room Flexi scheme for Housing Board flats will have lease options ranging from 15 to 45 years for older households. These options will come in five-year increments .

This option will be open to households aged 55 and above, "provided the chosen lease will be able to allow them and their spouse to live in the flat till age 95 or above", said National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan in a blog post on Saturday.

The new scheme marries two existing ones - the studio apartment and the two-room flat schemes. Currently, studio apartments are meant for elderly home owners who have sold a previous flat to fund their retirement. These have a 30-year lease and are for those aged at least 55. Two-room flats come with a 99-year lease and are meant for families or singles. Both flat types come in 36 sq m or 45 sq m sizes, but studio apartments are cheaper owing to their shorter leases.

Mr Khaw had earlier said that there was a need to "rationalise" and combine both schemes, as they offer similar flats .

Under the new scheme, first and second-timer families and first-timer singles can continue to buy two-room flats with 99-year leases from HDB.

But because of the different lease options, pricing will take into account lease tenure and whether buyers are first- or second-timers, said Mr Khaw.

Shorter-lease flats will be cheaper, and second-timer buyers will pay more than first-timers as the latter will get more subsidies, he explained.

"Through a combination of pro-rated grants for first-timers and pro-rated resale levies for second-timers, we will be able to price the Two-Room Flexi flats so that recent buyers of studio apartments or two-room flats will find the Two-Room Flexi scheme to be fair," he said, adding that these flats will also be affordable.

Mr Khaw described the new scheme as mixing coffee and tea, much like the local drink "yuanyang".

He said: "Mixing coffee and tea requires balance, such that coffee lovers can still taste the coffee while tea drinkers can still enjoy the tea. And on top of that, both must get an extra distinct flavour and kick."

Public consultations are underway to iron out the scheme, which is expected to be rolled out during the next Build-To-Order flat launch in September.

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