The Housing and Development Board (HDB) revealed that over 3,000 rental tenants have purchased their first flat in the Build-To-Order (BTO) or Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) exercises since 2011, reported Channel NewsAsia.
Around 19 percent of them purchased a flat under the Tenants Priority Scheme (TPS), said the HDB in a statement. Under this scheme, 10 percent of the three-room and two-room Flexi flat supply in the BTO or SBF sales exercises are set aside for public rental families who are buying their first home.
Meanwhile, 73 percent of these first-time owners purchased a three-room or smaller HDB flat, noted the HDB.
About 84 percent of the rental tenants bought their flat with the help of the Special CPF Housing Grant (SHG) or the Additional CPF Housing Grant (AHG) or both. The HDB said around 12 percent received the maximum SHG and AHG of $60,000, or the maximum grant prevailing during the time they picked their unit.
To date, around 1,300 rental tenants have moved into their new flats.
The HDB noted that its Public Rental Scheme supports families who are not financially ready to buy a flat. In fact, their rental rates are heavily subsidized, with each rental term good for two years.
“Thereafter, HDB will review and assess the tenancy renewal. Tenants who are financially stable will be encouraged to consider buying a flat,” it said, noting that it now offers housing grants of up to $80,000 for eligible flat buyers – up to $40,000 for the SHG and $40,000 for the AHG.
During last year’s National Day Rally, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong unveiled the Fresh Start Housing Scheme, which aims to help second-timer public rental households with young children own a flat again.
“MND and HDB are studying the option of offering eligible tenants a new housing grant to buy a two-room Flexi flat on shorter lease and with stricter resale conditions,” added the Housing Board.