Singapore's Lease Buyback Scheme (LBS) is a tool that allows seniors to unlock their equity in their homes. The LBS allows homeowners to sell the final years of their home's lease to the Housing & Development Board and collect the net proceeds for their retirement. In this article, we dive into the details of the LBS and explain how it can help homeowners.
- What Is the Lease Buyback Scheme?
- How Does the Lease Buyback Scheme Work?
- Who Is Eligible for the HDB Lease Buyback Scheme?
- How to Apply for the Lease Buyback Scheme
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the Lease Buyback Scheme?
The Lease Buyback Scheme is a tool for Singapore Citizens to access the equity value of their HDB flat. The programme allows homeowners to sell a portion of their flat's remaining lease to the Housing & Development Board and to collect the proceeds (net of any outstanding home loans) and the LBS Cash Bonus.
How Does the Lease Buyback Scheme Work?
By selling a portion of their remaining lease to the Housing & Development Board, homeowners will receive funds which can be used for a number of purposes. First, the proceeds from the LBS can be used to repay the remaining mortgage balance. Afterwards, the net proceeds must be used to top up the homeowner's CPF Retirement Account (RA), which can be used to join CPF LIFE, which will provide retirees with a monthly income for life.
|Age of Youngest Homeowner||Minimum Lease Retained|
|65 - 69||30|
|70 - 74||25|
|75 - 79||20|
Individual homeowners must use their net LBS proceeds to top up their RA to the current age-adjusted Full Retirement Sum (FRS), while homes owned by more than one individual must top up to the current age-adjusted Basic Retirement Sum (BRS). For more details about the required top-up, please refer to the table below.
|Flat Owner's Age||Top-Up Requirement (1 Owner)||Top-Up Requirement (2+ Owners)|
|65 - 69||S$192,000||S$96,000|
|70 - 79||S$182,000||S$91,000|
Those that have contributed up to the specified top-up requirement are able to keep the remaining proceeds, up to S$100,000. In the case that homeowners have have excess funds at this point, they will be required to further top up their CPF Retirement Accounts.
Lease Buyback Scheme Bonus
On top of the proceeds from HDB Lease Buyback, eligible homeowners will also receive the LBS Bonus, which can amount to as much as S$30,000. Households that top-up their CPF Retirement Account by at least S$60,000 through proceeds from the LBS will also receive a Full LBS Bonus of S$7,500, S$15,000 or S$30,000, depending on the size of your flat.
Those that do not top-up their RA by at least S$60,000 will receive a prorated LBS bonus. The prorated bonuses are based on the size of the flat as well as the amount contributed towards the homeowner's RA. For details, please refer to the table below.
|Flat Size||Full LBS Bonus||Pro-Rated LBS Bonus|
|1 to 3-room||S$30,000||S$1 for every S$2 top-up|
|4-room||S$15,000||S$1 for every S$4 top-up|
|5-room (or larger)||S$7,500||S$1 for every S$8 top-up|
Who Is Eligible for the HDB Lease Buyback Scheme (LBS)?
The Lease Buyback Scheme is available to homeowners that are at least 65 years old. In the case of a couple, both individuals must be at least 65 years old. Additionally, at least one owner must be a Singapore Citizen and the combined household income of eligible applicants must be S$14,000 per month or less.
- Singapore Citizen
- Eligibility Age: 65 years or older
- Maximum Gross Monthly Household Income: S$14,000
- Minimum Occupation Period: 5 years
- Minimum Remaining Lease: 20 years to sell to HDB
While the LBS programme was previously limited to owners of 3-room flats, it has been expanded to include 4 and 5-room flats. However, short-lease flats, Housing and Urban Development Company (HUDC) flats and executive condos are not eligible for the Lease Buyback Scheme. Please note that the Lease Buyback Scheme is intended to aid seniors that plan to age in their current HDB flat, so all owners must live in their home for at least 5 years before applying for LBS. Finally, eligible homeowners must have at least 20 years of lease to sell to the Housing & Development Board.
How to Apply for the Lease Buyback Scheme
Fortunately for those interested in applying for the LBS, the Housing & Development Board offers personalised financial counselling sessions, which can be scheduled online. At this session, homeowners will be given a range of monetisation options (e.g. Lease Buyback Scheme and Silver Housing Bonus) and if they are inclined, they may apply for the LBS in-person.
The homeowner's flat will then be valued by a member of the Housing & Development Board's Panel of Private Valuers. Finally, a financial counselling session will take place to allow the homeowners know how much they will receive from the proceeds of the LBS, the LBS Bonus and how much monthly income they will receive through CPF Life. Following the completion of the transaction, homeowners can expect their account to be credited with the LBS bonus and monthly income in about 1-2 months. Please note that there are administrative and legal fees associated with the Lease Buyback Scheme, of about S$100 and S$300-S$500, respectively. These fees will be deducted from the proceeds from the LBS.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
The Silver Housing Bonus allows older (55+) homeowners to down-size to a smaller flat, whereas the Lease Buyback Scheme (LBS) lets slightly older (65+) homeowners remain in their home and simply sell a portion of their remaining lease to the Housing & Development Board.
Yes. However, homeowners are only eligible to receive either the LBS bonus or the Silver Housing bonus. This means those that have received the Silver Housing Bonus are only eligible to earn the proceeds from the LBS programme, not the associated bonus.
No. The LBS is intended to provide retirement funds to those that plan to age in their current home.