Over 700 families in rental flats bought homes in 2022: HDB

1 week ago 28

SINGAPORE – For the first time in more than a decade, Madam Lee Ah Mui spent Chinese New Year in a home of her own, which she decorated with rabbit-themed festive stickers.

“I can finally invite family and friends over for the new year. When I was staying in a rental flat, everything was too messy. Now, I can be proud of my own home as it’s renovated and more beautiful,” she said last Friday.

Madam Lee, 53, moved into a two-room Housing Board (HDB) flexi flat in Punggol this month, after 12 years staying in a rental flat with her two sons. She bought the unit at a shorter lease of 50 years – paying about $122,000, including the resale levy – under the Fresh Start housing scheme.

The scheme made the purchase more affordable for the assistant infant care teacher who also received $35,000 in housing grant.

“It’s so comfortable, and when I turn on the air-con it feels like I’m in a hotel room. I can even see the sea from my living room,” she added.

The HDB said more than 700 households that lived in public rental flats bought homes in 2022, with some tapping the scheme. Over the past 10 years, more than 7,800 rental households have bought homes, while another 2,300 households have booked units and are waiting for them to be completed.

Of the over 700 households, seven in 10 bought a flat from the HDB, with the remainder going for resale units. About two-thirds received grants such as the Enhanced CPF Housing Grant of up to $80,000.

A majority bought a three- or four-room flat in a non-mature estate, and use a quarter or less of their monthly income to service their mortgage, HDB said.

Beginning with the February Build-To-Order sales exercise, rental households under the Fresh Start housing scheme can also buy three-room flats on a shorter lease, on top of the two-room flexi units currently offered.

The scheme was launched in 2016 to help families with at least one child below age 18 and had previously bought a subsidised flat. To promote affordability, both the two- and three-room flexi flats will be offered with leases of 45 to 65 years in five-year increments, as long as the lease can cover the youngest applicant up to age 95, HDB said.

Flats sold under the scheme have a 20-year minimum occupation period to ensure a stable home for the families and children.

The Fresh Start housing grant was also increased from $35,000 to $50,000 from May 2022, with eligible families r...

Read Entire Article