New type of housing targeted at seniors to be launched in Feb 2021 BTO exercise

Residents have to subscribe and pay for basic service package

Mindy Tan
Published Thu, Dec 10, 2020 · 09:50 PM

Singapore

MARKET watchers laud the new public housing concept being launched by the government to expand the continuum of residential options for seniors.

To be launched in the February 2021 Build-To-Order (BTO) exercise, the community care apartments (CCAs), which are 32 square metres (about 344 square feet) will range from S$40,000 for a 15-year lease tenure to S$65,000 for a 35-year lease tenure.

What sets these CCAs apart from existing offerings is residents have to subscribe and pay for a basic service package. With this package, all residents will enjoy services such as 24-hour emergency monitoring and response and dedicated programming to facilitate interaction. These take place in communal spaces of about 50 sq m which are available on each floor.

Residents can also layer on additional optional care services such as help with their activities of daily living, as well as household services such as meal delivery, laundry and housekeeping.

Market watchers BT spoke with said the move is timely, given Singapore's rapidly ageing population but note that it is unlikely to have a large impact on the general property market.

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Wong Xian Yang, associate director, research, at Cushman & Wakefield pointed out that the criteria is quite strict - applicants have to be above the age of 65 - and added that its impact on the resale market for two-room flats is expected to be low for now.

ERA Realty's key executive officer Eugene Lim added: "As this project is self-contained, we believe any negative impact on other properties in the location will be minimal. Currently, flexi lease flats for seniors are set amongst other new BTO flats in the same block."

The government has previously rolled out similar elderly-friendly residences, but without the additional layer of services. Kampung Admiralty was completed in May 2017 and the "modern kampung" features 100 flats with a two-storey medical centre providing specialist outpatient care. This has been fully taken up.

Ismail Gafoor, CEO of PropNex, also said he does not expect this new type of housing to have a significant impact on the property market in the long term.

"We are not expecting demand for smaller condo units to be affected as a result of the CCAs. In addition, many seniors still have a view to pass on their property to the next generation - which will not be feasible for these assisted-living flats. So for these seniors, they would still purchase homes in the property market."

Located at Bukit Batok West Ave 9, these apartments - which are expected to be completed in 2024 - will come with senior-friendly fittings including grab bars and wheelchair-accessible bathrooms with slip-resistant flooring.

About 160 units will be available. Applicants can apply alone, with their spouse, or with a friend/family member. However, all the parties must be 65 years old and above. They will have the flexibility to choose a lease ranging from 15 to 35 years, in five-year increments. The lease must cover both the applicant and their spouse (if any) or in the case of a joint ballot both parties until they are at least 95 years old.

The apartments cannot be resold or rented out. Like existing short-lease arrangements, these flats must be returned to HDB; and the authority will then pay out the value of the unused portion of the lease.

To be eligible, the average gross monthly household income cannot exceed S$14,000, among other considerations.

Allocation of the flats will be prioritised for seniors with more pressing care needs, where at least one applicant or essential occupier requires permanent assistance with his/her daily living activities.

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