National Development Minister Lawrence Wong has made a series of announcements regarding buying a house in Singapore. The announcements were made on Mar 6 during his ministry’s Committee of Supply debate.
There will be more HDB flats with shorter waiting time in 2019. Mr. Wong revealed that about 2,000 flats to be offered next year (2019) will have a waiting time of 2-3 years, compared with the usual 3-4 years.
No more 3-year-wait for divorcees to buy subsidised HDB flats
Divorcees will no longer have to wait for 3 years before they can apply for a subsidised flat.
Currently, only divorcees who get full custody of all children can purchase a second subsidised flat after disposing of the matrimonial home. Those who do not get full custody, or have no children, are barred from buying a flat for 3 years.
This meant that, only one party of a divorced couple could buy or own a subsidised flat within 3 years of the divorce.
But from Mar 6, both parties in the divorce can buy or own a subsidised flat EACH upon divorce, as long as they can meet the eligibility criteria for buying a flat.
Minister Wong has been quoted as saying, "We have reviewed the matter, and have decided to remove the time bar completely. We hope that this will help divorced persons provide a more conducive living environment for their children and go some way to help families through an already difficult period of transition."
Divorcees can also avail of the ASSIST scheme, which gives them priority when applying for a 2- or 3-room Build-to-Order (BTO) flat in non-mature estates. Apart from that, HDB also offers rental housing to those in need.
Easier for young couples to buy first home
From May 2018, HDB will make it easier for young couples (aged at least 21) to buy a flat. They can defer their assessment of income for housing loans and grants to just before they collect their keys.
- Couples buying a flat for the first time had to be continuously employed for 12 months before their flat application if they wished to apply for grants such as the Additional CPF Housing Grant (AHG) and Special CPF Housing Grant (SHG).
- They also had to show proof of being employed at the time of their flat application.
- Those who needed HDB housing loan had to show a valid HDB Loan Eligibility letter when they booked a flat.
However, with effect from the May 2018 Build-to-Order and Sale of Balance Flats exercise, first-timer couples who are full-time students or National Servicemen (NSF), or have recently completed their studies or NS will be able to apply for a flat.
This will hopefully help them save some time in buying a new flat, and to settle down early.
Families with young children living in public rental flats can own a house more easily
Families with young children living in public rental flats can own an HDB flat a second time more easily. This comes after changes were made to the Fresh Start scheme.
To qualify for this, families need to have stayed in public rental flats for a year. Previously, they had to wait for 2 years. The scheme assists these families in owning a 2-room Flexi flat.