Singapore

More 2-room flats for singles

HDB monitoring demand and will calibrate supply to better meet housing needs of singles

More two-room Build-To-Order (BTO) flats will be offered in the towns of Choa Chu Kang, Tengah and Woodlands.

This comes as 15,700 singles secured homes following a 2013 rule change which allowed singles aged 35 and above to buy new flats as first-time applicants. Of the lot, about 7,700 have collected the keys to their new homes.

Among the buyers were older citizens aged 55 and above who qualify to buy a flat under the Housing Board's two-room Flexi Scheme.

The scheme in general caters to families, singles and the elderly.

Purchase and ownership conditions vary. For instance, seniors can pick the length of lease for the flats. Before 2013, singles could buy a flat only from the resale market.

Demand was high in the early years of the rule change, said the HDB yesterday.

There were 37.6 applicants on average vying for a single flat in 2013, but this number has since tapered to 2.4 last year.

The HDB said this is because the flat supply for two-room flexi BTO flats in non-mature estates has remained steady at an average of about 4,000 units a year since 2014.

It added that more such flats will be offered in Choa Chu Kang, Tengah and Woodlands for BTO exercises in May and August.

MEETING NEEDS

HDB said it would continue to monitor the demand and calibrate supply of two-room flats to better meet the housing needs of this group, so that more singles will be able to realise their dream of owning a home.

Those who bought a new flat before Sept 11 last year received up to $40,000 in housing grants comprising the Additional Central Provident Fund (CPF) Housing Grant (up to $20,000) and the Special CPF Housing Grant (up to $20,000), HDB said.

From July 2013 to last December, about $251 million in such grants was disbursed to about 11,400 singles buying BTO flats.

The two grants were replaced by the Enhanced CPF Housing Grant last September.

The new grant gives eligible first-timer singles aged at least 35 and earning not more than $4,500 a month up to $40,000.

They can receive this grant whether they buy a new or resale flat, and with no restriction on flat type and location.

The monthly income ceiling criterion was also raised last September, from $6,000 to $7,000 for eligible first-timer singles aged 35 and above to buy a flat from HDB; buy a resale flat on the open market with the CPF Housing Grant; and get an HDB housing loan for the purchase of a new or resale flat.

Property