Families looking to buy a resale flat to live with or near their parents or children will get an additional S$20,000 to offset costs, under the new Proximity Housing Grant (PHG) aimed at getting extended families to live near each other for mutual support.
This is on top of the maximum S$30,000 CPF Housing Grant first-timer families get when they purchase a resale flat, and double the S$10,000 given when they purchase a unit near their parents or children’s home.
The qualifying conditions are also more liberal, according to a press release issued by the Ministry of National Development (MND) and Housing and Development Board (HDB) on Monday (Aug 24).
Under the new changes, which kick in on Monday, all Singaporeans – including owners of private property and recipients of earlier housing subsidies – will also qualify for the grant, although current private property owners will have to dispose of their private property within six months after the purchase of an HDB flat. There will also be no household income ceiling to qualify for the PHG.
However, all Singaporeans can receive the PHG only once. Additionally, grant recipients and their parents or married child must live with or in close proximity to each other for at least five years.
The PHG was first announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the National Day Rally on Sunday.
“Now, people live in nuclear families. But many couples still want to stay with or near their parents, or parents often would want to stay with or near their married children. So that the grandparents can enjoy their grandkids, and the adult children can help look after the old folks as they age,” Mr Lee said in his speech.
The MND and HDB said the new PHG is a result of a series of Housing Conversations on getting families to live closer together organised by the MND in 2014.
The Government is also rolling out more measures to help singles buy an HDB flat. Eligible singles will enjoy a higher PHG of S$10,000, up from the current S$5,000, if they buy a resale flat with their parents.
Additionally, under the Special Housing Grant (singles), the income ceiling for singles buying a 2-room BTO will be raised from S$3,250 to S$4,240, while the maximum grant amount will also be doubled from S$10,000 to S$20,000.
“I COULDN’T CARE LESS WHEN IS GE”: KHAW
National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan said after the briefing on Monday that the slew of housing-related announcements was not related to the coming General Election (GE).
Mr Khaw said he had “very good reasons” to push for home ownership, as it is an important part of the governance of Singapore.
Mr Khaw told reporters that since he took over the ministry more than four years ago, “we have been making adjustments, practically every year”. But as the adjustments this time round are “very substantial”, he discussed with HDB and decided to delay the upcoming BTO to September so more buyers could benefit.
“Has (the announcements) got to do with GE? I could not care less when is GE,” the minister said. “But problems need to be resolved and when I am ready, I will come out with the scheme. We announce it, we discuss it with Singaporeans first and once I am confident that those are practical schemes, I will launch it as soon as we can do so.”
“I’d rather delay the BTO so that the new benefits could apply to the new BTO buyers. So that’s how I approach the problems,” he added.
Mr Khaw also said that he hopes that the changes will encourage more people to get married and form families.
“The key point is get married, then you form a family unit, and it’s HDB’s job to make sure you will have your first BTO flat,” said Mr Khaw. “Don’t worry. So please get married, and when I deliver my promise, please deliver yours.”
Source : Channel NewsAsia – 24 Aug 2015