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Property News12 Feb 2018

11,000 households get $211m in proximity housing grants to buy resale flats

Some 11,000 households have tapped on a government grant in buying resale flats to live with or near their parents or married child since August 2015.

HDB images

Another 1,000 households will receive the grant once their resale transactions are completed, said the Housing and Development Board (HDB) in a statement on Sunday (Feb 11).

The 11,000 households tapping on the Proximity Housing Grant (PHG) represents about a quarter of the 50,000 resale transactions registered between Aug 24, 2015 and Dec 31 last year.

All Singaporeans are eligible for the PHG once, regardless of their household income, ownership of private property, or whether they have enjoyed housing subsidies before, when they buy a resale flat to live with or near their parents or married child.

However, private property owners will need to dispose of their private properties within six months of the resale flat purchase.

Of the 12,000 households, 54 per cent are households that would not have qualified for any housing grants prior to the introduction of PHG.

Families made up 93 per cent of the applicants, with the rest being singles.

Slightly over half - 52 per cent - bought flats in non-mature estates such as Bukit Batok, Bukit Panjang, Choa Chu Kang, Hougang, Jurong East, Jurong West, Punggol, Sembawang, Sengkang, Woodlands and Yishun.

Some 93 per cent of applicants are children who have bought resale flats to live closer to or with their parents for mutual care and support, while the remaining are parents who have bought resale flats to live near or with their children.

Some 16 per cent of PHG applicants opted to live in the same block or flat.

IT analyst Ng Yang Ting, 34, tapped on the PHG in buying a resale flat in Bukit Panjang with wife Goh Ya Zhen, 31, in September last year.

They decided on a resale flat in the estate - where Mr Ng had lived for close to 30 years - to be close to his family, and also because they had failed in three Built-To-Order (BTO) flat applications.

The couple said the $70,000 savings - $50,000 using the CPF Housing Grant and another $20,000 using the PHG - lessened their financial burden.

On the resale flat's biggest benefit, Mr Ng said: "It's a few blocks away from my mother's home, and my other siblings' homes, in the same neighbourhood we grew up in."

Another couple who benefited from the PHG were Madam Sameera Begam Mohamed Aiyubu, 24, and her husband Mohammed Farook Mohamed Sultan, 32.

They were living with Madam Sameera's parents in Sengkang and decided to buy their own flat after Mr Farook, an Indian national, became a permanent resident in August 2016.

Madam Sameera and her husband looked for balance flats in Sengkang but failed.

But the couple was pressed for time because Madam Sameera's older brother was getting married and his wife would be moving into the Sengkang flat soon.

They then considered resale flats in May last year. They snapped one up within two months and got their key in November, saving about $85,000 through housing grants.

They are moving into their new place in two weeks' time, when the renovations are completed.

"It was a big financial relief, especially since we have our one-year-old boy to take care of," said Madam Sameera, who quit her human resource executive job to tend to her son, while Mr Farook earns $2,500 a month as a marketing executive.

"(The resale flat) is a two-bus stop distance from our parents, so they can visit us as often as they like. It's also much cheaper to renovate, since we don't have to start from scratch," she said.

The PHG complements other measures to help Singaporeans buy a new HDB flat to live with or near their parents or married child, such as the Married Child Priority Scheme, Multi-Generation Priority Scheme, Senior Priority Scheme and the Three-Generation flats.

They include young couples buying their first home, married couples who bought their first flat far from their parents and now wish to move back closer, or parents who wish to monetise their existing flat and move to a resale flat to live with or near their child.

On top of the PHG, eligible first-timer families who are buying resale flats can also qualify for the CPF Housing Grant - for first-timer families who earn up to $12,000 a month - and Additional CPF Housing Grant (AHG) for first-timer families who earn up to $5,000.

The CPF Housing Grant gives $50,000 if families buy a four-room or smaller resale flat, and $40,000 if they buy a five-room or larger resale flat. AHG can come up to $40,000 for resale flats.

In total, eligible first-timer families buying resale flats may receive up to $110,000 in housing grants.

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