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Low angle view of public housing HDB resident buildings/ flats complex with grass courtyard, trees and dense of apartments during sunset in Singapore. Urban concept. Panorama style from Shutterstock.com

About 3,500 rental tenants bought first home in BTO or SBF

Around 3,500 rental tenants have bought their first home in the Build-to-Order or Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) exercises since 2013 with the help of various housing grants.

The Housing and Development Board (HDB) announced on Sunday (10 February) that close to 2,000 of these tenants have moved into their new flat. While, the rest are waiting for the completion of their flats.

According to the authority, about 600 rental tenants become home owners each year on average.

HDB stated that eligible first-timer families who buy a flat from HDB can receive up to S$80,000 of housing grants, comprising the Additional CPF Housing Grant (AHG) of up to S$40,000 and the Special CPF Housing Grant (SHG) of up to S$40,000.

The authority noted that of the 3,500 rental tenants, 221 received the maximum housing grants of S$80,000.

It said that three in four of them bought either a two-room flexi or three-room flat, with 47 per cent buying three-room flats and about 28 per cent choosing two-room flexi flats. The rest bought flats of other sizes.

About 72 per cent of the group bought a flat with the help of the Additional CPF Housing Grant and/or the Special Housing Grant, the authority noted.

The AHG and SHG amounts received depend on the average gross monthly household income for the 12 months prior to these families submitting their flat application. While, families with lower household incomes will receive a larger grant amount.

HDB also noted that those buying a resale flat from the open market can receive up to S$110,000 of housing grants, comprising the CPF Housing Grant (up to $50,000), AHG (up to S$40,000) and the Proximity Housing Grant (PHG) of S$20,000.

All Singaporean citizen families who buy a resale flat to live within a four-kilometre radius from their parents' or children's home receive S$20,000 under the PHG.

In addition to the housing grants, HDB said that eligible tenants can also tap on various priority schemes when they apply for a BTO or SBF flat.

Tenants who apply for a two-room flexi or three-room flat in the BTO or SBF exercises can do so under the Tenants’ Priority Scheme (TPS). A majority of the tenants that have purchased their first flat in the past six years bought either a two-room flexi or three-room flat.

The HDB added that about 20 per cent booked a flat under the Tenants' Priority Scheme.

HDB said that it sets aside 10 per cent of the flat supply in the sales exercises for eligible public rental tenants, as well as for other applicants whose flats are affected by the Government’s resettlement or redevelopment programmes under TPS.

Eligible tenants could also apply for a BTO or SBF flat under priority schemes such as the Third Child Priority Scheme or the Married Child Priority Scheme.

Some commented on this matter.

Muhamed Zulfakar Redwan wrote, "New terms of money lender is call grant."

Jason Rock wrote, "Don't for get to pay back the grant with Interest when you sale your lovely HDB flat, remember it not give it a take till you drop."

Kenny Chan Wai Kong wrote, "Bought? No la, its just from one rental to another one la."

Ah Huat Yeo wrote, "Great piece of news, until you sell your place and the subsidy has to be returned."

Mohamah Idris wrote, "Same gimmicks and propagandas for the incomings election. Another example I give you chicken wings but take back the whole chicken lor."

Victor Chew wrote, "If BTO selling price can be reduced by $80,000, we dont need the grants."