Singapore—On Tuesday, September 10, new measures were introduced to make public housing more affordable, in line with efforts that have increased the number of public housing units.
According to Lawrence Wong, the country’s Minister for National Development (MND), these initiatives will help Singaporeans from households in lower to upper-middle income brackets purchase their first homes.
A joint statement from the MND and the Housing & Development Board (HDB) announced some changes that will help people buy homes for the first time.
The HDB is Singapore’s agency that oversees public housing.
Among the new measures, which take effect on September 11, Wednesday, are:
- A new enhanced housing grant (EHG) has been implemented. Eligible buyers of new or resale apartments may avail of the grant
- First-time buyer families who qualify will receive an EHG of as much as S$80,000 when purchasing a flat that they will use until age 95 (subject to conditions)
- Qualified first-time singles buying a flat, who are 35 and older and who do not earn more than $4,500 a month may get an EHG of as much as S$40,000 (subject to conditions)
- For qualified families looking to buy a HDB flat or a resale apartment on the open market, the monthly household income ceiling will be raised from S$12,000 to S$14,000
“HDB was set up nearly six decades ago in 1960, and we’ve built over one million flats across 26 towns and estates. Sometimes we take it for granted that these new flats will magically spring up from the ground. But I think all of you who have been involved with us in the HDB journey will know that the process of building these new flats and towns is anything but straightforward.
In fact, as Singapore gets more and more built up, it becomes increasingly more complex because of the constraints that we face. As you can see from the Awards tonight, many of our architects, builders and engineers have come up with many innovative solutions to tackle these constraints and develop new HDB towns, and to upgrade existing ones. We can also look around the world to compare, and really there is no other city which has an institution like HDB.
Many will come to us to learn, but no one has been able to replicate the HDB. There is no other society which has a housing programme where young couples are able to get a new flat with zero out-of-pocket cash payments when they just start working. It’s only here in Singapore where we have painstakingly built up this institution, and today, it is a tremendous success. Without the HDB, Singapore would have been a very different country.
HDB, as the largest developer in Singapore, has its own team of planners, architects, and engineers, but HDB cannot do everything on its own, given the scale of the work that it does. So we work with many private sector stakeholders and we have many successful collaborations with all of you here tonight to build and design high-quality homes for Singaporeans.” –/TISG