THE latest enhancements to the Lease Buyback Scheme (LBS), which took effect from April 2015, have been "well-received", said National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan on Friday in a blog entry.
"Over two months, 450 households applied for LBS. If all are successful, this will be a 50 per cent increase over the 965 households currently participating under LBS," Mr Khaw said.
Half (214) of the new LBS applicants are four-room flat owners. The other half (236) own three-room or smaller flats.
Mr Khaw said: "They must have found the new LBS more attractive now."
The LBS allows the elderly living in HDB flats to use the tail-end of their flat leases to fund their retirement plan without leaving their flats.
In the latest enhancements, the government extended the scheme to four-room flats, and raised the income ceiling from S$3,000 to S$10,000, as well as offered varying leases and allowed households with two or more owners to get more upfront cash due to the lower CPF top-up requirement.
From its study of the profile of the new applicants, the Ministry of National Development found that 32 (7 per cent) have monthly income exceeding S$3,000. Households with two or more owners also made up half of the new applicants, compared to one-third of existing LBS households.
LBS was launched in 2009. The government has since made several enhancements to the scheme based on public feedback.
Next up, Mr Khaw said his ministry is reviewing the studio apartment and two-room flat schemes to address the frequent public feedback on the differences between them.
"Both flat types are identical in physical size but offer different terms to suit different clientele. We will see if the schemes can be restructured while continuing to serve our residents' needs," he said.