Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Record 8,000 flats to be launched in Sept

(SINGAPORE) The Housing & Development Board (HDB) will be launching a record 8,000 flats next month to meet households' demand for public housing.
More singles too, will find flats within reach. HDB is raising the income ceilings and housing grants for certain schemes to help this group purchase resale flats.

HDB announced these moves yesterday, together with details on other housing policy changes shared by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in his National Day Rally speech on Sunday.

Mr Lee had said that the income ceiling for HDB flats would go up to $10,000 from $8,000, and that for executive condominiums (ECs) would rise to $12,000 from $10,000.

The 8,000 flats which HDB is releasing next month will comprise 5,500 build-to-order (BTO) flats and at least 2,500 flats under a sale of balance flats exercise. Under such exercises, HDB offers balance flats from earlier BTO launches, surplus replacement flats under the selective en-bloc redevelopment scheme, and repurchased flats.

Prices of BTO flats in next month's launch will be affordable, said National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan yesterday. For balance flats, prices will be higher because they will be ready or near completion.

HDB will launch another 4,000 BTO flats in November, bringing this year's total BTO supply to 25,000 units.

Next year, home seekers can look forward to another 25,000 BTO flats and some will even be in sought-after mature estates such as Tampines and Kallang/Whampoa.

'In two years, we'll be building an entire Ang Mo Kio town,' Mr Khaw said, illustrating the scale of the operation. There are around 48,000 dwelling units in Ang Mo Kio.

'That's why I'm so confident, that in three years' time, four years' time, when all these units start materialising, whatever pent-up demand of applicants, the problem would have been largely resolved.'

HDB has also turned its attention to singles. For instance, it lifted the monthly income ceiling under the single Singapore citizen scheme to $5,000 from $3,000, and the CPF housing grant to $15,000 from $11,000. These apply to single citizens buying resale flats (up to five-roomers) with a CPF housing grant and HDB loan.

PropNex Realty noted that there will be greater interest from singles in applying for resale flats, though the impact may not be significant as these buyers make up a small group.

HDB added yesterday that the $10,000 HDB income ceiling will apply to the purchase of new flats, the purchase of resale flats with a CPF housing grant, and the taking up of a HDB loan for a new or resale flat.

For ECs, the CPF housing grant will be tiered. First-timers with a household income of $10,000 or less can receive a grant of $30,000; those with a household income of more than $10,000 to $11,000 can receive a grant of $20,000; and those with a household income of more than $11,000 to $12,000 can receive a grant of $10,000.

The various changes took effect yesterday. Applications to buy new or resale flats and applications for HDB loan eligibility letters which HDB receives from Aug 15 will come under the changes.

For ECs, the changes will cover projects launched for public sale from Aug 15. This leaves out remaining units at EC projects launched before yesterday.

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