Singapore unveils changes to make public housing more affordable

The Housing & Development Board will probably have to increase supply in 2020 to meet the additional demand expected to stem from the changes. (AFP pic)

SINGAPORE: Singapore may increase its supply of public housing next year as the city-state introduced measures Tuesday aimed at making such homes more affordable.

Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong said the measures would help more Singaporeans from lower to upper-middle-income households buy their first homes.

The Housing & Development Board, which is the body responsible for public housing, would probably have to increase supply in 2020 to meet the additional demand expected to stem from the changes, according to a joint statement from MND and HDB.

In Singapore, most people live in so-called HDB flats as opposed to private apartments.

There’s a robust pipeline of the latter, with the government in June announcing it would reduce the supply of private housing in the second half.

The new measures, which don’t apply to the private market, will come into effect Sept 11.

They include the introduction of a new enhanced housing grant (EHG) that will be made available to eligible buyers regardless of whether they purchase a new or resale flat.

Eligible first-timer families will get an EHG of up to S$80,000 (US$58,000) when they buy an apartment that can cover them and their spouses to the age of 95, subject to conditions.

Eligible first-timer singles aged 35 and above and earning not more than S$4,500 a month can also get an EHG of up to S$40,000, subject to conditions, and the monthly household income ceiling will be increased to S$14,000 from S$12,000 for eligible families to buy an HDB flat or a resale flat on the open market.