New HDB flats to be sold with a new, enhanced staggered-down payment scheme.

Couples who meet the eligibility requirements must be either full-time students currently, or recent graduates. A minimum of one party must be under 30. They must also be married. The revised scheme comes into force at the next Build-to-Order launch in June.

SDS allows first-time couples to pay for their HDB apartment in two installments. The initial downpayment is made when signing an Agreement for Lease which occurs within nine month of booking, and the balance at key collection.

Currently, the first down payment required under the scheme depends on whether you select a financing option. It can be either 10 or 5 percent. The average down payment of homebuyers with an HDB loan is 10%.

Some young couples still find it difficult to afford the SDS’s reduced down payment of 5%.

Starting in the June 2020 BTO Sales Exercise, couples who are entitled to defer the income assessment of the HDB housing loan or the Enhanced Central Provident Housing Grant (EHG), will see the initial down payment halved.

By delaying their income assessment, the couple is likely to be more eligible for EHG. For this program to apply, at least one person must be employed continuously for a minimum of a calendar year. They could also be eligible for more money after a certain period of time.

Since 2018, with the help of SDS, more than 3,700 married couples have benefited from deferred income assessments to reduce upfront costs and kick-start their home ownership journey. I hope this enhancement helps couples who want to buy an apartment and have been saving money to pay for the downpayment.

The Progress Singapore Party proposes that singles be able to apply for public housing as early as age 18. But their suggestion might result in BTO rates increasing and resale costs soaring.

Christine Sun of OrangeTee Group, chief researcher and strategy, stated that PPHS vouchers could offset between 15 and 25 per cent for eligible households. This is because median rents are S$1,175 a month to S$1,825 a months in neighbourhoods like Punggol and Geylang.

As the vouchers are temporary, and the amount isn’t too large, they won’t have a major impact on HDB rentals.

Most open-market tenancies are for two years. The couple might face problems when the vouchers expire. The amount is too low and does not cover two years of tenancy.

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Lee explained that the government will increase the supply of two-room BTO flexible flats for singles in the second half.

Discounts on family rentals

Lee revealed that the eligible families waiting to get their HDB flats also will receive S$300 each month for renting a bedroom or public flat in the open marketplace.

The S$300 Rental Voucher is a part of a scheme designed for couples eligible to receive subsidised HDB rental apartments under the Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme.

The S$300 limit was calculated carefully to help some families while at the same time reducing the impact of inflation on the rental market.

Families must be either a couple that includes at least one first time buyer, a divorcée or widowed parent who has children or a Fiancee. Families must also be registered HDB tenants with a rental contract and have an income not exceeding S$7,000. Vouchers will not be available for those who rent directly from their immediate family or close relatives.

The scheme is to run for a period of one year from July 20, 2024 as the government ramps-up the supply.

Analysts believe that these two measures will allow more young people to live in public housing.

The reduced down payment allows eligible young couples to apply and purchase Plus or Prime flats which would normally be more expensive.

To support these households, the government offers a reduced initial outlay of S$300 and a monthly rent on the open market at S$300.

Desmond Lee (Minister for National Development) announced that, as a result of the new Staggered Downpayment Schemes (SDS), some young couples waiting to get their HDB (Housing and Development Board) flats can pay less upfront.

The decision to extend the support was made during a discussion of the Committee of Supply of the Ministry. The changes were made to reduce the burden on young couples that want to settle sooner but haven’t yet begun working or who are just starting to work and might not qualify for enough housing loans.

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