The Minister for National Development, Mr Lawrence Wong, yesterday announced measures to help young couples buy their first home earlier, and to better support families who are navigating changes in life circumstances with their housing needs.
More Help for Young Couples to Buy their First Home Earlier
3,000 Flats with Shorter Waiting Time to be Rolled out by 2019
Young couples looking to own their first homes sooner can look forward to the rollout of some 3,000 flats with shorter waiting time by 2019. Of these 3,000 flats, 1,100 will be launched for sale in the second half of 2018, spread across three projects in Sembawang, Sengkang and Yishun. Another 2,000 flats will be offered in 2019. More details will be announced when they are finalised.
Deferment of Income Assessment
To help young couples with their housing needs to buy their first homes earlier, MND and HDB will exercise flexibility to allow the deferment of income assessment for first-timer couples who are full-time students or National Servicemen (NSF), or have recently completed their studies or National Service (NS), and who are ready to settle down and buy their first flat.
Currently, first-timer couples buying a new flat have to be continuously employed for 12 months prior to their flat application, if they wish to apply for the Additional CPF Housing Grant (AHG) and/or Special CPF Housing Grant (SHG). They also need to remain employed at the time of their flat application. In addition, those who intend to take up an HDB housing loan must have a valid HDB Loan Eligibility (HLE) letter when they book a flat.
We will now allow such couples to apply for their flats first, and defer the assessment of their income for housing grants and loan till just before the key collection for their new flat. The deferment of income assessment will reduce the time required for them to secure a new flat by at least a year. They will still need to fulfil the continuous employment condition for AHG/SHG and/or the credit assessment guidelines for an HDB housing loan at the point of assessment before the key collection for their new flat.
This deferred assessment of income will apply from the May 2018 sales exercise onwards. More details will be announced closer to the date.
More Help for Families Navigating Changing Life Circumstances
Supporting Divorced Parents with Their Housing Needs
Currently, only one party of a divorced couple can buy or own a subsidised flat within three years from the date of their divorce.
To better support divorced parents and their children with their housing needs while they transition to their next housing arrangement, HDB will remove this three-year time-bar policy. Both parties in the divorce will be able to buy or own a subsidised flat each upon divorce, as long as they are each able to meet the eligibility conditions for flat purchase. This will apply to flat applications received on or after 6 March 2018.
Enhancing the Fresh Start Housing Scheme
The Fresh Start Housing Scheme was launched in 2016 to help second-timer rental families with young children buy a home of their own. To qualify for Fresh Start, one requirement was that the family must have stayed in a public rental flat for at least two years.
HDB will now reduce this requirement to one year, to help such families’ housing needs for a permanent home. With the changes those who are ready for Fresh Start would qualify sooner.
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