THE Ministry of National Development (MND) on Monday provided more details on the four housing measures that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong mentioned in his National Day Rally speech on Sunday.
First, the new Proximity Housing Grant (PHG) will help Singaporeans buy a resale flat with or near their parents or married child. It complements various priority schemes with the same objective but which target only new flats.
Starting from Aug 24, 2015, all Singapore citizen families who buy a resale flat to live with or near their parents or married child will receive a PHG of S$20,000. Eligible singles will also enjoy a PHG of S$10,000 if they buy a resale flat with their parents.
The unique thing about the grant is that all Singaporeans are eligible for the grant once, regardless of whether they had enjoyed housing subsidies before, and no matter what is their household income or if they own private property (subject of course to their disposal within six months, as per existing rules). The grant's recipients and their parents/married child must also live close to each other for at least five years.
This will effectively replace the Higher-Tier CPF Housing Grant which did not apply to Singaporeans who have taken housing subsidies before, and/or have exceeded the income ceiling, and/or are private property owners.
On the raising of income ceilings from S$10,000 to S$12,000 for citizen households buying new HDB flats, and from S$12,000 to S$14,000 for buyers of executive condominiums (ECs), this will take effect from Aug 24, 2015, as well.
Correspondingly, the income ceilings for single Singaporeans to buy new flats or HDB resale flats with CPF housing grants will be raised from S$5,000 to S$6,000. The income ceiling for elderly citizens to qualify for monetisation options will also be raised from S$10,000 to S$12,000.
On the raising of the income ceiling to qualify for the Special CPF Housing Grant (SHG), and doubling of its maximum amount to S$40,000, MND said the changes will apply from September 2015's Build-To-Order and Sale of Balance Flats exercise.
"If the flat is subsequently sold, the first S$60,000 of housing grants will be credited to their CPF Ordinary Account. The additional grants will be credited to their CPF Special Account and Medisave Account. This will better help them with their housing, healthcare and retirement needs in a holistic way," MND said.
As for the Fresh Start Housing Scheme, targeted at families with young children currently living in HDB rental flats, MND said it is studying the scheme with HDB and consulting the public, as well as working with social services agencies to design something practical and meaningful.
One suggestion is to offer these families a two-room flat on a shorter lease with stricter resale conditions, among other criteria.
In an interview with reporters later, National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan said its implementation could come next year.