NDR 2023: Singles can buy 2-room flexi BTO flats in all locations from second half of 2024
SINGAPORE – Singles will soon be able to buy two-room flexi Build-To-Order (BTO) flats in all locations directly from the Housing Board, in a move to widen public housing options for this group of individuals.
From the second half of 2024, they can apply for such flats across all types of BTO projects that will be classified as Standard, Plus and Prime under a new framework, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Sunday.
Currently, eligible single first-timers aged 35 and older can apply for new flexi flats only in 12 non-mature estates such as Choa Chu Kang, Jurong East and Woodlands. They cannot buy new units in mature estates including Central Area, Bedok, Kallang/Whampoa and Queenstown.
“I am sure singles will welcome this move to have more choices to find your own home and to write your own part in Singapore’s housing story,” said PM Lee.
He noted in his National Day Rally speech that more and more Singaporeans are choosing to be single and acknowledged their concerns for more housing choices.
When the prime location public housing (PLH) model was rolled out in November 2021, singles had raised their concerns over being barred from buying new PLH flats directly from HDB, as well as from the PLH resale market.
On Sunday, the Ministry of National Development (MND) and HDB said in a joint statement that besides allowing eligible first-timer singles to apply for two-room flexi flats in all locations, the new framework will also allow eligible singles to buy a two-room Prime resale flat, or a Standard or Plus unit of any size, except three-generation flats.
Plus flats are flats in more attractive locations such as those that are near the MRT stations or town centres. They come with a 10-year minimum occupation period and tighter sale conditions. An income ceiling will also be applied on resale buyers.
Such flats are less centrally located than Prime flats, but more desirable than Standard flats. As such, Plus flats will come with restrictions less strict than those for Prime flats, but tighter than for Standard flats.
First-timer singles must not have received any housing subsidies before and should not have a monthly income of more than $7,000. They also must not own or have an interest in a private property in the last 30 months prior to the flat application.
Currently, those who do not meet the requirements have to turn to other options like buying a resale flat that is not under the PLH model and three-generation flats.
The new classification will not be applied to existing flats. With the longer MOP, it will take more than 10 years before Plus flats are available in the resale market, MND and HDB noted.
The new classification will better reflect the locational attributes of BTO projects, instead of the estates they are in, said the authorities, which took into account the housing aspirations of more than 16,000 Singaporeans from all walks of life during the Forward Singapore (FSG) engagement sessions over the past year.
“Changing lifestyle and social aspirations have resulted in a growing number of singles who prefer to buy and live in their own flats instead of with their families. During our FSG engagement sessions on public housing, some singles reflected their preference for flats in mature estates to be nearer to their elderly parents for mutual care and support,” the authorities added.
Over the years, HDB had rolled out measures to better support singles. In 1998, the Central Provident Fund (CPF) housing grants were first extended to singles who were allowed to buy three-room and smaller resale HDB flats in selected locations, seven years after the introduction of the singles scheme in 1991.
In 2004, singles were allowed to buy four-room and larger resale flats in all locations. However, they were not allowed to buy three-generation flats that cater to the housing needs of multi-generation families.
The rules changed in 2013 to allow singles to buy new two-room flexi flats directly from HDB.
Earlier this year, the CPF housing grant for singles was increased from $25,000 to up to $40,000.
Cue. (2023c, August 20). NDR 2023: Singles can buy 2-room flexi BTO flats in all locations from second half of 2024. The Straits Times. https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/politics/ndr-2023-singles-can-buy-2-room-flexi-bto-flats-in-all-locations-from-second-half-of-2024