With HDB prices inching up every quarter, perhaps you are thinking about selling your first HDB flat and then upgrading or rightsizing to a second HDB flat. While there are plenty of guides for first-time HDB buyers (check out our step-by-step guide on buying a HDB BTO flat), few of these guides cater specifically to households looking to buy their second subsidised HDB flats.
Having received an initial round of housing subsidy during their first HDB purchase, it should not be surprising that HDB is much less generous to second-timer HDB buyers. In fact, HDB imposes a Resale Levy on sellers who intend to purchase a second subsidised HDB flat.
However, there are still some grants and subsidies that apply to second-timer HDB buyers and here’s all you need to know about them, including those that apply for those second-timers forming a new household with a first-timer applicant.
Who Are Second-Timer HDB Buyers?
Second-timers are those who have already utilised their housing subsidies. This can be buying an HDB flat directly from HDB (i.e. a BTO flat), taking the CPF Housing Grant to buy an Executive Condominium (EC) unit, Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) flat or an HDB resale flat, or receiving Selective En Bloc Redevelopment Scheme benefits or Housing and Urban Development Company (HUDC) estate privatisation benefits.
It does not actually refer to the number of HDB flats bought. It is possible to buy your first resale HDB without taking the CPF Housing Grant and then for your second HDB purchase, buy a BTO using first-timer applicant status and the Enhanced Housing Grant.
Proximity Housing Grant (Up To $30,000)
Every Singapore household can use the Proximity Housing Grant (PHG) once. This means that if you have not used it during your first HDB purchase, you can use it in your second subsidised HDB purchase as a second-timer. This is especially relevant for households who bought their first subsidised HDB flat before the introduction of the PHG in 2015.
The intention of the grant to enable and incentivise families to live closer to each other to support familial ties. Eligible households can receive $20,000 for living within 4 km of their child or parents or $30,000 for living with their child or parents. To qualify, the child must be married or above the age of 35 if single.
Step-Up CPF Housing Grant ($15,000)
The only housing grant available to second-timers only is the Step-Up CPF Housing Grant.
This grant is given to help those living in 2-room flats in non-mature estates upgrade to 3-room resale flats in non-mature estates. To qualify, the current flat must be a 2-room flat bought from HDB after October 1995, or from the resale market with a CPF Housing Grant and is your first subsidised flat. The household income must also be below $7,000. The flat that you are upgrading to can only be a 3-room resale flat in a non-mature estate.
Eligible second-timers will receive $15,000 that can be put toward the purchase of the second flat. This grant also applies to those living in public rental flats and the flat purchase can be a 2-room or 3-room resale flat in a non-mature estate.
What About Second-Timer Applying Together With A First-Timer?
Sometimes, life can take an unexpected turn and we may not end up with the same partner that we started out with. It is possible for a second-timer to end up applying for a flat with a first-timer, most commonly when one spouse is a divorcee.
For such couples, HDB does give some benefits but not as much as for a first-timer couple. This is mainly to account for the fact that one spouse did receive first-timer benefits previously.
Second-Timer And First-Timer Couple Can Enjoy Build-To-Order (BTO) Flat Priority Benefits
According to HDB, couples comprising a first-timer and second-timer applicant will be considered as a first-timer family and enjoy the same priority benefits. To recap, these benefits include: a larger supply of flats set aside for first-timers, 2 ballot chances compared to 1 ballot chance that second-timers receive and additional ballot chances for every unsuccessful application in non-mature estates after the second unsuccessful ballot.
Second-Timer And First-Timer Couple Can Receive The Half-Housing Grant Or Top-Up Grant For Resale Flats
Half-Housing Grant: Especially relevant to first-timers who married or is marrying a divorcee, the Half-Housing Grant is open to first-timer Singapore Citizen applicants whose spouse/ fiancé(e) had previously received any housing subsidy. Eligible applicants can receive $25,000 for 2- to 4-room flat, or $20,000 for a 5-room or larger flat. This amount is determined as half of the Family Grant that you would have qualified for if both you and your spouse were first-timers.
Top-Up Grant: For resourceful singles who bought their own HDB flat and want to have a matrimonial home with their newly married spouse, the Top-Up Grant is for you. The Top-Up Grant amount is the difference between the Family Grant that you now qualify for, minus the Singles Grant amount that you had previously received.
You can use the Top-Up Grant for your existing flat (making it your matrimonial home) or buy a resale flat with your spouse. As the grant amount can be split between you and your spouse and your spouse’s nationality, this amount can range from $5,000 to $25,000. You can find out the exact details on HDB’s website.
On top of the Half-Housing Grant and Top-Up Grant, the first-timer spouse/ fiancé(e) can also apply for Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (EHG) (Singles).
Second-Timer And First-Timer Couple Can Receive The Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (EHG) (Singles) For BTO And Resale Flats
To qualify for EHG (Singles):
- One of the spouses must be in continuous employment for 12 months before the resale application and working at the point of application,
- Half of the average gross monthly household income for the months worked during the 12 months before the flat application must not exceed $4,500.
- The remaining lease of the flat must be 20 years or more. If the lease is insufficient to cover the younger spouse to the age of 95, the EHG will be prorated.
Eligible applicants can receive between $2,500 to $40,000 under EHG (Singles).
Regardless of which spouse is the first timer (it can be the husband or the wife), eligibility criteria of continuous employment and household income are assessed as a couple. However, the grant amount will be paid out to the first-timer spouse/ fiancé(e).
Cover image by Raymond Quek
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