SINGAPORE: Applying for a made-to-order apartment (BTO) has always been the plan of 26-year-old Mr. Toh Jin Ann and his girlfriend Ms. Jaslin Chong, who have been dating for four years.
At the end of 2019, they opted for a BTO launch in Tengah, with the intention of acquiring a five-room unit so that Mr. Toh’s parents can move in with them. But finances were a concern for the young couple.
“Because she was working part-time and I was still studying when we applied for the BTO, the down payment was our main concern,” said Mr. Toh, a graduate last year.
These concerns were allayed when they received S $ 80,000 in grants under the CPF Enhanced Housing Grant (EHG) by the Housing and Development Board (HDB). This is the maximum amount of the grant.
“We were able to use it to sort out the down payment issue, and it really put us at ease. We don’t have to worry so much about money, ”he told TBEN.
They are among some 15,600 new HDB apartment buyers who have benefited from the EHG, under which nearly S $ 500 million has been disbursed, HDB said in a press release on Sunday (February 21).
The EHG, introduced in September 2019, has streamlined previous housing subsidies and comes with higher eligible income ceilings.
It is available to eligible first-time buyers, whether they are buying a new or resale apartment, with no restrictions on the type and location of the apartment.
READ: Higher income ceilings, improved housing subsidy for HDB apartment buyers
From September 11, 2019 to December 31, 2020, around 7,700 first-time households are buying new apartments under the various sales exercises applied to the EHG, HDB said.
About S $ 270 million has been paid to these households.
HDB added that not all EHG requests have been processed. Indeed, applications are made on a fixed selection, but the selection exercises for the August and November 2020 sales are still ongoing.
BUY RESALE APARTMENTS
During the same period, about 8,300 first-time households buying a resale apartment applied for the EHG, HDB noted.
About $ 226 million in grants have been disbursed to around 7,900 households, while the remaining applicants will receive the grant once their resale transactions are complete, the Housing Council said.
He added that alongside the EHG, eligible buyers can apply for CPF housing subsidies of up to S $ 50,000 and Neighborhood Housing Grants (PHG) of up to S $ 30,000. .
This is exactly what logistics director Azhar Kamsari, 36, and his wife Mdm Nurhayati Zulfikri did.
The newbie family bought a four-room resale apartment in Woodlands, near the home of Mdm Nurhayati’s parents.
They received S $ 115,000 in housing grants, including S $ 45,000 from the EHG, S $ 50,000 from the family grant and S $ 20,000 from the PHG – a grant that encourages families to stay with or near their parents or children.
“We were shocked that there were so many grants,” Azhar said.
“At first I was thinking, ‘How am I going to choose a four piece? … But after the deductions, (the cost was) actually correct, ”he said, adding that the final sum they had to pay was around S $ 221,000.
The PHG was also a bonus, with Mr. Azhar joking about the benefits of living near his family. “My mother-in-law is very strict… so if my son is not behaving well, I can just put him in her house, like it’s training camp for him.
LOCAL HOUSING SUBSIDIES
Including Mr. Azhar and his wife, around 4,700 first-time households benefited from both EHG and PHG as of December 31.
“The PHG is available to all homebuyers regardless of their household income, private property ownership or if they have already benefited from housing subsidies, when they buy a resale apartment with or near of their parents / children, ”HDB said.
All Singaporeans are eligible for the PHG once.
HDB said that since the grant was introduced in August 2015, around 40,900 households have applied for it.
Of these, around 40,200 applications were accepted, with a total of S $ 748 million paid to these households.
He added that of the households that applied, 78% are families, while the rest are single.
READ: More HDB households but average size has shrunk, with fewer multigenerational families living together
Further, 55 percent of them bought apartments in immature estates, while the rest chose mature estates.
To get an idea of the proportion of PHG applicants among buyers of resale apartments, HDB said those 40,900 households represent about one-third of the 121,600 resale inquiries recorded during a similar period.
HDB said the grant complements other programs to help Singaporeans buy new apartments with or near their parents or children.
“Buyers who wish to verify their eligibility for grants can use the personalized financial calculators on the new HDB Flat portal, which was launched last month,” the Housing Council said.