Here’s what I shared with the journalists this afternoon.
Covering Statement by the Minister for National Development
27 Aug 2013
Today’s announcement follows a series of measures that we have introduced over the last two years. They are targeted at restoring balance in our HDB market. We are not fully done, but the efforts are producing results.
2. We are building a huge number of new flats. Since 2011, we have offered a record 68,000 Build-To-Order (BTO) flats. We have cleared the backlog of young families buying their first flats.
3. We have delinked BTO prices from resale flat prices, and stabilised BTO prices.
4. We have introduced the
- Special CPF Housing Grant (SHG) for families who are first-time buyers of new 2-room and 3-room standard flats in the non-mature estates.
- Together with an enhanced Additional CPF Housing Grant (AHG) and the NS Recognition Award for NS men,
- these smaller flats, and especially 2-room flats, are affordable for the low income families (see Annex A).
5. We have refined the BTO allocation system through the
- Parenthood Priority Scheme to make it easier for married couples with children (including expectant mothers) to get their first flats.
We have also introduced a
- Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme to allow newlyweds to rent a flat while waiting for their new flats to be completed, with priority for families with children.
6. We have raised the income ceilings across the board so that more Singaporean families can enjoy housing and mortgage loan subsidies.
7. We have also done more for many other buyer groups.
For the elderly,
- we have introduced the Silver Housing Bonus,
- enhanced the Lease Buyback Scheme and
- facilitated ageing-in-place through the Studio Apartment Priority Scheme.
For the vulnerable, we have
- built more rental flats, and
- made it easier for divorcees with children to buy BTO flats.
- we have increased the flat allocation quota in the non-mature estates and for Executive Condominiums.
8. Just last month, we introduced
- a new scheme to enable singles who have never bought subsidised public housing before to buy 2-room BTO flats in the non-mature estates.
- Eligible singles will also enjoy the AHG and the SHG.
We have also extended this scheme to
- citizens with foreign spouses.
This is a major policy shift. As it is a new policy, demand for the initial BTO exercises will remain strong and we will need some time to address the pent-up demand.
9. Today’s announcement of six measures will further improve our public housing system to make sure that every Singaporean family who is working can afford their home.
We particularly would like to highlight these four points:
10. First, we are extending the SHG to also benefit first-time buyers of new 4-room and smaller flats (standard or premium) in the non-mature estates, in addition to those buying 2-room and 3-room standard flats in the non-mature estates.
11. Second, we are extending the SHG to middle-income first-time buyers, by raising the SHG income ceiling from $2,250 to $6,500. This is a significant shift in policy. We are going beyond helping the low-income, to also extend help to the middle-income, to buy their first flat. Those earning between $2,251 and $5,000 can get an additional SHG of $20,000. While homeownership is not an issue for the middle-income, they feel stretched by the rising costs of living. This grant will help relieve their burden and stress.
12. Third, we will help low-income families who are first-time buyers of subsidised 2-room flats in the non-mature estates upgrade to new 3-room standard flats in the non-mature estates by giving them a Step-Up CPF Housing Grant of $15,000. This is a significant move as we are now going beyond helping the low-income own their first home, to also help them upgrade to a larger flat. It will give them and their children more space, and a more valuable asset. If they work hard, life will get better and better for them, and their families. We give them a step-up, so that we progress together as a nation.
13. Fourth, we will expand the current range of HDB flats to pilot a new typology: Three-Generation (3Gen) flats. As our population ages, we will do more to promote mutual care and support, by making it easier for families to live together and care for one another.
14. These are significant measures, which together with the series of measures that we have implemented in recent years, will enable all Singaporean families who today
a. Earn $1000 per month to afford a 2-room flat;
b. Earn $2000 per month to afford a 3-room flat; and
c. Earn $4000 per month to afford a 4-room flat.
15. Affordability will be achieved through a shorter mortgage loan tenure of up to 25 years, instead of 30 years.Affordability will also be achieved through little out-of-pocket cash payments (and often, none at all), as buyers can use mostly CPF to pay off their loans. Singaporeans can then set aside incomes from the later years of their working lives for retirement needs.
16. As the Government plays a bigger part to help share the housing burden of the people, individuals must also play their part by being financially prudent and not spending beyond their means.
17. Beyond stabilising BTO prices and ensuring the affordability of new HDB flats, we will continue to monitor the property market closely, and will take further actions if necessary.