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Shorter balloting time for BTO flats and more help for low income families

07 Mar 2019 2 min read

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Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong has announced that the balloting time for Build-to-order (BTO) flats will be shortened from three to six weeks and those looking to purchase Build-to-Order (BTO) flats will soon be able to receive the results of their applications earlier during the May BTO exercise.

The Housing Development Board will announce new housing projects six month in advance, allowing buyers to have more information to plan their purchases and HDB will announce the list of BTO sites for August and November.

Announcing these changes this during his Ministry’s Committee of Supply debate, Mr Wong added: “I spoke about this last year and challenged HDB to shorten the balloting time. So I’m very happy to share that HDB has done a fundamental review of its processes and it has succeeded in reducing the time taken from six weeks to three weeks, and this will take effect from the May 2019 BTO exercise onwards.”

Mr Wong also announced the expansion of the Step-Up CPF Housing Grant (SUHG). Introduced in 2013, the SUHG of S$15,000 helps lower-income families living in subsidised two-room flats in non-mature estates buy a new three-room flats in non-mature estates.
Following the changes, the SUHG will be expanded to include three-room resale flats in the non-mature estates. The grant will also be extended to second-timer families living in public rental flats.

“The expansion of the SUHG is part of our broader efforts to help our rental families progress,” said Mr Wong. “We will try our best to help more public rental households achieve their aspirations of home ownership.”

Mr Wong also announced that the Government is set to make changes to CPF usage rules for older flats by May this year. At present, a buyer can use his/her CPF for the property if his/her age plus the remaining lease is at least 80 years, but subject to restrictions. If the remaining lease is less than 30 years, CPF may not be used.

“A buyer of a 39-year-old flat can use full CPF, but one year later … the amount of CPF will be restricted. There is no good reason why this should be so just because the flat became a year older,” Mr Wong said.
He said that his ministry and the Ministry for Manpower have been studying the issue and working out the details, and that an announcement will be made soon.

Separately, Senior Parliamentary Secretary Ms Sun Xueling said that the Fresh Start Housing Scheme will be enhanced, allowing for second-tier families in rental flats with at least one child below the age of 18 years old to buy a home.

She also said that the Fresh Start Support Programme would be overseen by the Ministry of Social and Family Development. “The Support Programme will also take a holistic approach to strengthen them in various areas, such as financial management, family functioning and overall stability,”  she said.