To support the diverse needs of Singaporeans, a series of announcements were made by the Minister for National Development Mr Lawrence Wong earlier this week. We take a look at some of these changes in HDB policies and who it matters to.
#1 Discontinuation Of Re-Offer Of Balance Flat
Introduced in 2017, the Re-Offer of Balance Flats (ROF) pools together all flats that remain unsold after the previous Sales of Balance Flat (SBF) exercise. The key difference between the ROF and the SBF is that applicants do not need to indicate their preferred flat type and town/estate during the application. All applicants for the ROF will be shortlisted using a computer ballot and applicants will choose their flat based on the queue number they receive.
Moving forward, there will be no ROF exercise. Once a flat remains unselected after an SBF exercise, it will automatically be made available directly for open booking.
This means moving forward, potential homebuyers looking to buy a flat from HDB will no longer need to wait for another three months before being able to choose unselected flats from the ROF exercise.
#2 Unwed Parents Can Now Buy 3-Room Flat Directly From HDB
In the past, unwed parents (aged 21 or above and below 35) were allowed on a case-by-case basis to buy a 2-room Flexi flat directly from HDB in a non-mature estate or a resale flat. Moving forward, this will now be extended to new 3-room flats in a non-mature estate. Unwed parents should still approach HDB directly should they wish to purchase a flat.
#3 Enhancement To Silver Housing Bonus (SHB)
The Silver Housing Bonus (SHB) is meant to help elderly Singapore households supplement their retirement income when they right-size from a larger flat to a smaller one. In the past, the scheme was slightly more complex, and we won’t explain how it used to work since it no longer applies.
We will explain how it now works.
Elderly Singapore households (at least one owner who is a Singapore citizen aged 55 or above) who sell their current flat and buy a 3-room or smaller resale flat can opt to receive the SHB. To qualify, seniors will be required to top-up $60,000 of their HDB sales proceeds to their CPF Retirement Account (RA). The government will then top it up via the SHB up to a sum of $30,000, or $1 for every $2 topped up to their RA.
For example, an elderly couple who sells their 5-room HDB flat for $500,000 (no outstanding housing loan) and buys a 3-room flat for $350,000 will receive a proceed of $150,000. If they choose to top-up their RA by $60,000, they will receive an additional $30,000 from the government.
The enhanced SHB is an excellent option to consider for elderly Singaporeans who no longer need to live in a large flat and who would rather have additional income via CPF LIFE for their retirement.
#4 Enhancement To Lease Buyback Scheme
For older Singaporeans who wish to monetise their HDB flat but who are reluctant to move away from their current home, the Lease Buyback Scheme (LBS) is a suitable option to consider.
The Lease Buyback Scheme (LBS) allows elderly homeowners who wish to continue living in their HDB homes to sell the tail end of their HDB lease to HDB, and to receive cash and higher CPF LIFE payouts in return for the extra years of lease that they are unlikely to need.
When homeowners sell part of their lease back to HDB, a portion of the proceeds will be used to top up their Retirement Account (RA), up to the current age-adjusted Basic Retirement Sum.
The government will increase the top-up for the LBS, up to a maximum of $30,000 (3-room flat), $15,000 (4-room flat) and $7,500 (5-room flat).
#5 Lift Access Housing Grant (LHG)
The Lift access Housing Grant (LHG) is meant for HDB residents who are living in blocks that do not have direct lift access to their level, but who urgently need lift access due to medical or mobility reasons. For these specific residents, they can choose to buy a new or resale flat with lift access and enjoy an LHG of up to $30,000.
Residents can approach HDB directly to find out more about the scheme.
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