Up to one third of the 519 new 2-room flats on sale under the latest Housing and Development Board (HDB) sales exercise have been set aside for singles.
This is the first time singles are able to buy a new flat directly from the government.
And with all housing grants added in, the selling price could start from S$16,000.
The 2-room flats are in Sengkang and Yishun.
All in, the HDB is offering 4,079 flats in this month’s Build-To-Order (BTO) sales exercise.
It’s a moment 48-year-old Justin Shen has been waiting for.
The communications manager is among the first to apply for a 2-room BTO flat as a single.
Starting from the July 30 sales exercise, singles aged 35 years and above and earning up to S$5,000 a month can apply for new 2-room flats in non-mature estates.
Mr Justin Shen said: “I was very happy to hear they’re allowing us to buy directly from the HDB. That means we can now afford to buy a place of our own.
“I’ve been waiting for this for a long time. Non-mature estates will very fast, very quickly become mature and amenities will also be available. I don’t think there’s a problem.
“The size of the flat…of course it would be better if it could have been bigger, but that is not really a top concern.”
Two-room flats are typically about 45 square metres in area.
The selling price of 2-room flats this time starts from S$76,000, excluding grants.
Singles who apply for these flats under the Joint Singles Scheme will pay the same BTO price as married couples.
However, singles who apply under the Single Singapore Citizen Scheme will pay S$15,000 more than married couples.
Singles who later marry will receive the CPF Housing Top-Up Grant of S$15,000.
Associate Professor Sing Tien Foo, from the Department of Real Estate at the National University of Singapore (NUS), said; “In the current housing market situation, the prices of resale flats have gone up significantly. So singles may find it difficult to buy HDB resale flats from the resale market, even with the subsidies or grants from the government.
“So the new policy will be a very positive move for these singles. Some studies show that in fact by giving them a house earlier, it may not necessarily defer their marriage decision and (having) children decision.
“By giving them housing earlier, probably it would be an incentive for them to settle down earlier, because the cost of living, the cost of housing has been settled earlier.”
The government will also extend other CPF Housing Grants to eligible singles buying BTO flats.
Under the Additional CPF Housing Grant, singles applying on their own (that is under the Single Singapore Citizen Scheme) and earning a monthly income of up to S$2,500 can receive up to S$20,000; while under the Special CPF Housing Grant, those with an income of up to S$1,125 can receive an additional grant of up to S$10,000.
If they apply under the Joint Singles Scheme, the income ceiling and grant amount doubles.
With maximum grants, which can add up to S$60,000, the selling price for the 2-room flats will start from S$16,000.
Some analysts expect the take-up rate for the singles scheme to be good.
PropNex CEO Mohamed Ismail said: “I do foresee a pent-up demand and as such, with the introduction of the incentive of the grant, I would not be surprised the subscription units will be close to five or even marginally more than five times.
“Interestingly we must also note that among the two-bedroom BTO flats, there are a good number – close to 200 – of which are likely to be completed end of next year or beginning of 2015.”
With effect from this BTO launch, the monthly household income ceiling for families for 2-room flats in non-mature estates will be increased from S$2,000 to S$5,000.
HDB says this is to give more families the option to buy such flats.
A couple comprising a first-timer and a second-timer applicant will also now be able to enjoy the same priority in flat allocation as families comprising two first-timers.
Three other refinements to the government’s housing policy were also announced on Tuesday.
Singles buying resale flats in the open market and earning up to S$5,000 a month will now have the Additional CPF Housing Grant extended to them.
This means they will get an additional grant of up to S$20,000 if they apply on their own.
The grant will be doubled to up to S$40,000 if they apply under the Joint Singles Scheme.
This is on top of the CPF Housing Grant that they would already be getting.
Applications for this month’s BTO exercise will close on August 5.
The next BTO exercise will be in September, where more than 4,000 units in Punggol and Yishun will be made available.
In addition, about 170 new two-room units from earlier BTO exercises in Punggol will also be on offer.
Source : Channel NewsAsia – 30 July 2013