What You Need to Know About Public Housing in Singapore

Singapore, despite being a country with limited resources in terms of land space and water, among other things, has risen to become one of the most advanced countries in the region and in the rest of the world.

With careful planning and a conscientious vision, which brings balance to the quality of life of its residents, Singapore has remarkably managed to create an environment that is not only suitable for living, but also conservative in the use of resources. And one way this has been achieved is through the government’s public housing programme.

Credits: gov.sg

[Guide] 5 Things to Know About Singapore’s Public Housing Scheme

Through the efforts of Singapore’s public housing authority, HDB, there are now over one million flats spread across 24 towns and 3 estates, making the Singapore brand of public housing unique on a different level. The flats spell home for over 80% of Singapore’s resident population, of which, about 90% own their home.

In this post, we will share some of the things that you need to know about HDB flats and public housing in the country:

  1. New public housing flats are highly subsidized.

Build-to-Order (BTO) flats are highly subsidised. They are several times cheaper than private condominiums in the same area. Furthermore, interested buyers have a wide range of options to choose from – from 2-room Flexi flats to 3Gen flats – to suit their specific needs and goals.

  1. There are special benefits for first time buyers.

First-time buyers can enjoy up to S$80,000 in grants, on top of huge market discounts. Meanwhile, those interested in getting a resale flat can enjoy grants of up to S$120,000.

First-time single buyers are also entitled to grants of up to $40,000 (for BTO flats) or $60,000 (for resale flats).

  1. Buyers can pay for their flat without any cash outlay.

Around 80 percent of first-time homebuyers are able to pay for their monthly mortgage instalments via their CPF contributions. This means that there’s very little chance to shell out any out-of-pocket payments.

  1. Each HDB flat will be upgraded at least twice throughout its lifetime.

As part of the authority’s commitment to providing quality and safe homes, there will be one round of upgrading when a flat is about 30 years old through the Home Improvement Programme (HIP), and a second round when a flat is about 60-70 years old through HIP II. The upgrades will address common maintenance issues such as repairing spalling concrete.

Aside from these upgrades, the Government will redevelop old estates through the Voluntary Early Redevelopment Scheme (VERS) to ensure they remain vibrant places to live in. Residents offered VERS will be required to vote as a precinct on whether they wish to return their flats to the Government. Through this process, title-holders will be compensated for their flats.

  1. There are various ways to unlock the value of your flat.

There are actually a number of ways to monetise your HDB flat, one of which is by receiving cash monthly by renting out your bedroom(s) or entire flat.

Another way is through the Lease Buyback Scheme, where you can sell part of your flat’s remaining lease to get lump sum cash and monthly payouts in cash, for the rest of your life.

And lastly, you can downgrade to a smaller flat and sell your current flat for its current market price for the same lease period you got it for.

Those who are downsizing from a larger flat to a 3-room or smaller flat can consider taking up the Silver Housing Bonus, to receive up to $20,000 in cash.

It’s great to know that the government has come up with an official body, which looks after the welfare of the residents of the country, without compromising comfort, quality, and at the same time, providing sustainable living provisions.

To know more about Singapore’s public housing scheme, you may check out the HDB’s official website.