In a weird case of déjà vu, the world is now back to the new norm of low-interest-rate environment.…
As a Singaporean, one of the rites of passage to adulthood is worrying about how to buy your first home. The process of buying your first home can be a bit complicated, especially when you consider how many grants there are. If you are scratching your head and worrying about the high cost of homeownership, we have some good news for you. (P.S. By ‘we’, we meant HDB). From 11th September 2019, changes to HDB’s grant have been made to help make the process simpler as well as to improve the affordability of housing for first-time homeowners.
Here is a summary of the changes to HDB grants that you must know if you are in the midst of buying your first home.
In the past, HDB had implemented a household income ceiling of $12,000. This means that if your household earns more than $12,000, you will not be able to purchase an HDB flat, be it BTO or resale. Under the latest change from HDB, the income ceiling has been raised to $14,000 (~$7,000 per person). If you are looking to buy a 3Gen flat, the income ceiling is raised by another $7,000 to $21,000 per month.
The new income ceiling is definitely great news for first-time homeowners because it means that more couples can qualify for HDB flats. That being said, raising the income ceiling also imply that more couples will vie for the limited BTO launches.
With the change in income ceiling for HDB flats, the income ceiling for ECs has also been increased from $14,000 to $16,000.
If you are a first-time homeowner planning to buy a resale flat as your first home, congratulations. This round of change to HDB grants seem to be targeted at families/singles who are looking at the resale flat market.
In the words of HDB, “First-time families who prefer a resale flat can enjoy up to $160,000 in housing grants, depending on their household income, type of flat they buy, and the extent to which the flat can last the buyer and his/her spouse till 95 years old”.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the $160,000 housing grants that resale flat buyers can enjoy:
Let’s be honest. While every homeowner looks forward to the grant provided by HDB, no one looks forward to doing their due diligence on how much grant they can qualify for under the grant.
There’s Additional Housing Grant (AHG), Special CPF Housing Grant (SHG) and the Proximity Housing Grant (PHG). You will need to read through every single scheme to understand whether or not you qualify for them. For the more savvy ones, you might even have created a spreadsheet just to see how you can optimize the grants for your first home.
With the latest updates to the HDB grant, you will no longer have to deal with such a headache. The AHG and SHG have been combined under the Enhanced Housing Grant (EHG).
So, be it whether you are applying for a BTO or buying a resale flat from the open market, timing your BTO application to maximize your grants becomes a much easier process. As long as you are a first-time homeowner, you will qualify for EHG. With the new and simplified HDB grants, all you need to do is to check which tier does your average monthly household income fall under.
If you choose to go the resale or EC route in your journey to become a homeowner, there’s also good news for you. You will qualify for an additional Family Grant. This is part of HDB’s commitment to help make resale flats more affordable given the recent skyrocketing prices.
Note: Don’t forget that if you are buying a resale HDB flat, you can also qualify for the Proximity Housing Grant of up to $30,000 (for families) and $15,000 (for singles).
|First-timer families||First-timer singles|
|4-room or smaller resale flats||$50,000||$25,000|
|5-room or larger resale flats||$40,000||$20,000|
Besides making the grants easier to understand, the other piece of good news is that the grant amount has been increased. Not only do you not have to do complex calculations, you also get to enjoy more housing grant from HDB. Kudos to HDB for making such a positive change to the housing application process for Singaporeans.
|Average Monthly Household Income (Over a period of 12 months)||Enhanced CPF Housing Grant Amount|
|Less than $1,500||$80,000|
|$1,501 to $2,000||$75,000|
|$2,001 to $2,500||$70,000|
|$2,501 to $3,000||$65,000|
|$3,001 to $3,500||$60,000|
|$3,501 to $4,000||$55,000|
|$4,001 to $4,500||$50,000|
|$4,501 to $5,000||$45,000|
|$5,001 to $5,500||$40,000|
|$5,501 to $6,000||$35,000|
|$6,001 to $6,500||$30,000|
|$6,501 to $7,000||$25,000|
|$7,001 to $7,500||$20,000|
|$7,501 to $8,000||$15,000|
|$8,001 to $8,500||$10,000|
|$8,501 to $9,000||$5,000|
Tip: Don’t Miss Out On Savings From Choosing The Right Home Loan
We know that homeownership is a huge financial commitment to take on. That’s why, besides making full use of the grants available, you should also take advantage of other ways you can lift some of the financial weight off your shoulders. One way is to choose the right home loan so that you can enjoy substantial savings on your interest rate payment from your loan. A difference of 0.1% on your home loan interest rate can turn into huge savings for you. Find out how you can choose the right home loan here.
Link to Higher HDB Grant For First-Time Homeowners