Monday, March 11, 2013

HDB income rule for singles may be tweaked


The Straits Times  |  MARCH 11, 2013

The income-level criterion for singles who can buy new flats from the Housing Board may be adjusted upwards, depending on whether the demand is manageable, said Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan yesterday.

This follows his announcement in Parliament last Friday that singles can now buy two-room flats directly from the Housing Board for the first time, if they are 35 and over, and earn no more than $5,000 a month.

The new flats may be available as early as July in younger estates such as Sengkang.

Mr Khaw said the restrictions are part of a "first step".

"I hope it (the subscription rates) is manageable. Then we can look to raising the income level."

In the case of singles, he added that his priority should be those who earn less than others at the higher end of the wage bracket.

"Suddenly you get tens of thousands (of applicants), and you are then forced to ballot," he said.

"But when you ballot, the one who is lucky may not be the one who needs it the most."

About 4,000 singles buy homes in the resale market every year, but options remain limited due to climbing prices. This new policy is likely to bring down the prices of such resale flats.

Reiterating his key point about making gradual changes rather than sudden alterations, he said some solutions are not ready yet because of the focus on more immediate needs.

"So singles who earn more than $5,000, please be patient," he said. "You have waited for many years, and I have gingerly taken this first step."



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