HDB will start sharing information about upcoming BTO projects six months in advance, instead of the current three months.
Those looking to buy Build-to-Order (BTO) flats will now have more time to plan ahead as the Housing and Development Board (HDB) will share information about upcoming BTO projects six months in advance.
HDB currently announces upcoming BTO projects three months in advance.
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“This means that for the upcoming BTO exercise in May, we will share the list of BTO sites for both the August and the November 2019 launches,” said National Development Minister Lawrence Wong on Thursday (7 Mar) during the Committee of Supply debate.
“I hope that this change will help flat buyers make more informed choices on their application.”
Starting from the May 2019 BTO exercise, the balloting time for BTO flats will also be reduced from six weeks to three weeks.
Welcoming the changes, Eugene Lim, key executive officer at ERA Realty Network, said the shorter balloting time will enable unsuccessful applicants to re-evaluate their housing choices without having to wait for more than a month.
To support lower-income families, the coverage of the Step-Up CPF Housing Grant (SUHG) of $15,000 will be extended to include three-room resale flats within non-mature estates.
The grant will also be extended to second-timer families living in public rental flats who intend to buy new or resale 2-room or 3-room flats in non-mature estates.
“The extension of the Step-Up CPF Housing Grant will certainly benefit those who have more urgent housing needs, as they now receive a subsidy for the purchase of a resale three-room flat,” noted Lim.
The grant is currently disbursed to the buyer prior to the signing of the Agreement for Lease. With the changes, HDB will now “disburse the grant before the key collection for their new flat”.
“This will help to ensure that the buyers are financially ready for home ownership,” explained HDB.
HDB will also set up the Home ownership Support Team (HST) that will advise rental tenants who are ready to purchase a flat on their housing budget and options, the schemes and grants available to them, as well as the flat-buying process.
Additionally, the Fresh Start Housing Scheme will also be enhanced.
To help Fresh Start Families, the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) will appoint a service provider that will run the support programme. Flexibility will also be given to families that “may not qualify for Fresh Start but demonstrate good potential and motivation for it”.
“The age limit for the youngest child will now be increased to age 18 to benefit more families,” revealed HDB. It noted that the new age limit will also apply to the Parenthood Priority Scheme (PPS) and ASSIST, or the Assistance Scheme for Second-Timers (Divorced/ Widowed Parents).
Meanwhile, divorcing parties looking to apply for a flat “will no longer have to wait until they have obtained the Final Judgement of divorce”.
“Instead, starting from the May 2019 sales exercise, divorcing parties can apply for a new flat from HDB if they have obtained an Interim Judgement of divorce and have settled the ancillary matters on their matrimonial property, and the custody, care and control of their children,” said HDB.
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Romesh Navaratnarajah, Senior Editor at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact him about this or other stories, email firstname.lastname@example.org