By Leong Sze Hian
Worse than I initially envisaged?
After writing “HDB: 2-room BTO only $16,000 – Really?” in the evening of 30 July, when I woke up to read the newspapers on 31 July, it dawned upon me that it may actually be worse (for singles) than what I had originally thought a few hours earlier.
Up to $30,000 subsidy?
I refer to the article “More help for low-income singles to buy new flats” (Straits Times, Jul 31).
It states that “Low-income singles looking for their first new Housing Board flat will now be able to get up to $30,000 in extra subsidy if they apply on their own.”
Too good to be true?
The first thought that came to my mind was – what’s the catch? (if any – often times when the news “sounds too good to be true, it probably is”!)
Can’t find detailed grants criteria?
Since none of the media reports gave more information about the actual criteria breakdown for the housing grants, I googled for the HDB press release‘s administrative details on the subject launch.
No luck there too. But undeterred, I googled some more and found in the HDB web site the criteria breakdown information that I was looking for.
Must earn below $751?
Hold your breath – in order to get the “up to $30,000 housing grants” that all the media reports and HDB press release were singing – the single applicant’s income must be not more than $750 a month.
So, will we get to hear in Parliament soon that $750 income can own HDB flat! (beating the $1,000 can own HDB flat classic!)
How many earn below $751?
Now this begs the question – how many Singaporean singles age 35 and above earn less than $750?
Make the statistics public – I dare you?
I think it may really be interesting to see the statistics as to how many of the applicants for this debut 2-room BTO for singles, actually get the maximum $30,000 grant?
Worse to come?
If you think its bad enough after reading so far – there is worse to come.
Singles pay $15,000 more?
Because “Singles who apply on their own, however, will have to pay an extra $15,000 on top of the selling price, but the money will be returned as a $15,000 grant if they get married later.”
How many pay more or less?
What this means is that everybody (all singles) will pay $15,000 more, but some (how many) will pay less?
$15,000 extra on the cheapest flat costing $76,000 given as the example in all the media reports as from just $16,000 (after the maximum housing grants), is a whopping premium of 20 per cent more!
I wonder how many applicants will end up paying more versus those who pay less because they managed to get a housing grant of more than $15,000.
Where’s the logic?
I can’t wait to hear what’s the rationale for charging singles more! (if the reasons are ever given, that is!)
To get more than $15,000 grants – income less than $1,126?
Next, let’s see how easy or hard it is to get a grant of more than $15,000.
The answer is you must be a Singaporean first-timer single whose monthly income cannot exceed $1,125 to get total grants of $17,500 (more if your income is lower than $1,125).
Not keeping my fingers crossed for a response?
I won’t be keeping my fingers crossed (fat hope as some would say) as I rarely get a response to the few hundred articles that I have written on HDB over the last 10 plus years or so.
I find it reprehensible to seemingly take this opportunity to help singles to own a home to make even more money by discriminating against singles by charging them $15,000 more.
Kind of akin to “猫哭老鼠假慈悲” （to shed crocodile tears).
It may amount to profiteering as public housing is a monopoly.
Pay and pay?
How much more money may be made from the “extra $15,000″ versus the grants given? I also understand that the “grants” may have to be returned in the future such as by way of the resale levy when the flat owner buys another subsidised flat, whereas the $15,000 extra is for keeps in the coffers forever.
Overpriced – lose money on every flat we sell?
I shall not dwell further (at this point in time as I have written a great deal about it in the past) into the issue of whether the 2-room flats may be overpriced in the first place to make profits.