Fresh Start scheme helps Punggol resident buy home after staying 8 years in rental flat

1 week ago 28

SINGAPORE – While Madam Zaidah Ismail stayed in a public rental flat following her divorce, she worked long hours as a security guard to build up her Central Provident Fund savings so that she could buy a home.

In 2019, she was able to buy a two-room Housing Board (HDB) flexi flat in Punggol at a more affordable price under the Fresh Start housing scheme, which was introduced in 2016 to give rental households that had previously bought a subsidised flat an option to buy their second HDB flat on a shorter lease.

“I was having quite a hard time after my divorce as I was also diagnosed with breast cancer. I didn’t have enough CPF savings to buy my own home, so for almost 10 years, I worked 12 hours a day, sometimes even on weekends and public holidays,” said Madam Zaidah, 57. She is now a freelance massage therapist and lives with her youngest son, 20, a student.

“When I was told about Fresh Start in 2018, I jumped at the opportunity,” said Madam Zaidah who opted for a 60-year lease. The flat cost about $141,000, including the resale levy, and she received $44,000 in grants.

“It was like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. After eight years of staying in a rental flat, I can now just think of my monthly expenses and save for retirement,” added Madam Zaidah who managed to pay the purchase price in full.

Minister of State for National Development Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim said the HDB’s home ownership support team was set up in 2019 to provide more dedicated support for households like Madam Zaidah’s.

The team guides rental households through the process of homeownership – from planning their purchase till they collect their keys – while considering factors such as family and financial stability.

“When I meet those who have purchased a flat, there is a sense of...

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