The Rochor BTO project will have 960 units of three-room and four-room flats, and 40 units of two-room rental flats. Source: HDB
The first project under the new prime location public housing (PLH) model will be built at Rochor and launched at next month’s Build-to-Order (BTO) exercise.
Situated along Weld Road and Kelantan Road, the project will feature 960 units of three-room and four-room flats as well as 40 units of two-room rental flats, revealed the Ministry of National Development (MND) and Housing and Development Board (HDB) in a joint release on Wednesday (27 October).
Under the PLH model, future BTO flats in prime locations – which naturally command higher market values – will be priced with additional subsidies, on top of those currently provided for all BTO flats.
“This will keep flat prices affordable for a wide range of Singaporeans,” said HDB.
However, those who decide to sell their BTO flats will have to pay a percentage of the flat’s resale price to the HDB, enabling the authorities to claw back the additional subsidies. This subsidy clawback will apply when PLH flats are first sold on the resale market.
HDB noted that the subsidy recovery percentage “will be commensurate with the extent of the initial additional subsidy provided”.
Those planning to acquire BTO flats in prime locations will have to meet the same eligibility criteria as those buying BTO flats elsewhere.
However, the quota for priority allocation under the Married Child Priority Scheme will be reduced.
“This allows public housing in prime central locations to be more inclusive, providing more opportunities to Singaporeans whose family members do not live near the area to also live in these neighbourhoods.”
PLH flat owners will have to fulfil a longer Minimum Occupation period (MOP) of 10 years before they can sell their flats in the open market or invest in a private home.
“Given the prime locations and additional subsidies provided for PLH flats, there is a need to safeguard them for Singaporeans with genuine housing needs and strengthen the owner-occupation intent,” said HDB.
Moreover, owners can not rent out their whole flat even after the MOP and only let spare bedrooms.
These conditions will apply to those who purchase the PLH unit from HDB and in the open market.
The resale of PLH flats will be limited only to buyers who meet the eligibility criteria to buy BTO flats.
These include having at least one applicant who is a Singapore Citizen, having a monthly household income of not more than $14,000 and being an eligible family nucleus, such as married couples. Singles above 35 do not qualify to purchase resale PLH units.
Buyers should not also own or have an interest in a private property and have not disposed of any within the last 30 months.
“The clawback of additional subsidies under the Prime Location Public Housing Model (PLH) when the HDB lessee is able to dispose of the flat after an extended MOP of 10 years, is a mechanism put in place for equitability. This prevents HDB lessees of the prime housing location from over-benefitting as compared to another HDB lessee in a non prime housing location.
Though the details are only available next month, key to this new policy would be the formulae to compute the clawback which is specifically targetted at additional subsidies in the first sale. As unlike other housing locations, the MOP is extended. So the formulae may have an adjustment factor for parity too.
The differentiated eligibility conditions for resales show a “Singaporean first” policy where the family nucleus has to include at least one Singapore citizen while resale flats in other locations could have two Permanent Residents (SPRs).
There is an income ceiling (currently $14,000) for such PLH resale flats while other resales flats have no income ceiling. This again is to prevent stereotyping that PLH resale flats are for the higher-income buyers only, and a bid to keep them affordable and more inclusive for all.
Another noteworthy difference in policy is subletting after MOP is fulfilled for PLH flats. The HDB lessee is unable to sublet entire flat, reinforcing the message that PLH flats are not for investment but owner-occupation,” said Dr. Tan Tee Khoon, Country Manager – Singapore, PropertyGuru.
Notably, the PLH model will apply to selected public housing projects within prime and central locations, like the city centre and surrounding areas, including the Greater Southern Waterfront.
HDB underscored that the PLH model “will not be retroactively applied to existing flat owners”.
Cheryl Chiew, Digital Content Specialist at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact her about this story, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.