HIGHER CHANCES TO SECURE A BTO FLAT
Currently, first-timers receive two ballot chances when vying for a queue number to choose a BTO flat, as compared to one ballot chance for second-timers.
First-timer families refer to couples or families comprising at least two Singapore citizens, or one citizen and one permanent resident, who have not enjoyed any housing subsidies before when buying a BTO or resale flat.
In their statement, MND and HDB said they will introduce a new sub-category of first-timers comprising families with children, and young married couples aged 40 and below, who are buying their first home.
This sub-category of prioritised first timers will "receive additional support", including an additional ballot chance for their BTO applications, said the statement.
More details will be announced during the Budget debate for MND, said Mr Wong.
BIGGER GRANTS TO BUY RESALE FLATS
Mr Wong said that some Singaporeans are prepared to buy resale flats for their first homes but find the prices too expensive.
"We have implemented cooling measures to moderate demand in the resale market. The launch and completion of more BTO projects over the next few years will further ease demand and prices for resale flats," he said.
To help first-timer families, he said, the CPF Housing Grant will be increased depending on flat type, with those buying smaller flats receiving more in grants.
For those buying a two- to four-room resale flat, the grant will be raised to S$80,000, up from S$50,000
For those buying a five-room or larger resale flat, the grant will be increased to S$50,000, up from S$40,000
Together with the Enhanced CPF Housing Grant and Proximity Housing grant, eligible families can receive up to S$190,000 worth of grants in total when buying a resale flat.
HDB and MND said that eligible buyers who submit their resale applications on or after April 1 this year will receive the increased grant quantum before their resale completion, as per current practice.
For those who have yet to complete their resale transaction by 3.30pm on Feb 14, or submit their resale application from that time until March 31, HDB will disburse the difference between the current grant and increased grant within three months from the date of their resale completion.
ADDITIONAL HELP FOR SINGLES BUYING THEIR FIRST FLAT
Besides families, eligible singles looking to buy a resale HDB flat for the first time will also be given additional support.
They will receive S$40,000 in CPF Housing Grant, up from S$25,000, if they purchase a 2-room, 3-room or 4-room flat.
If they purchase a 5-room or larger flat, they will receive S$25,000 under the grant, up from S$20,000.
ADDITIONAL SUPPORT 'TIMELY', BUT SELLERS MAY WANT HIGHER PRICES: ANALYSTS
Property analysts largely agreed that giving an additional ballot chance to a sub-category of first-time buyers was beneficial for them.
Mr Ismail Abdul Gafoor, chief executive of PropNex Realty, said that the sub-category would be helpful “for those with genuine and more pressing housing needs to secure a BTO flat”.
Ms Christine Sun, senior vice-president of research and analytics at OrangeTee & Tie, added that it could also help lower- to middle-income earners own a home faster.
“(This is) especially if they are cash-strapped and cannot afford a resale flat,” she said.
Head of research and consultancy at ERA Realty Network Nicholas Mak also lauded the move.
However, he noted that BTO buyers who are not eligible for the additional ballot chance may potentially “explore the HDB resale market and eventually exit the BTO market, since their chances of getting a BTO flat is now lower”.
This group might also have to wait longer should they decide to continue applying for BTO flats.
On the increased CPF Housing Grant, Mr Ismail described it as “timely move” that will help flat buyers lower their downpayment or loan amounts.
This is particularly in light of the HDB resale price index rising by nearly 31 per cent between the first quarter of 2020 and last quarter of 2022, he said.
Ms Sun said that with the additional grants, the market may see more eligible buyers eyeing flats in popular locations such as mature estates.
Mr Mak added that the higher grants might even result in some sellers raising the asking price of their resale flats.
While agreeing that there is such a possibility, Mr Ismail of PropNex added: “However, such sellers could risk pricing themselves out of the market as most buyers remain price-conscious.”