Being a homeowner is a rite of passage for Singaporeans, but those planning to embark on their home ownership journey at this time face a triple whammy of high inflation, elevated home mortgage rates, and uncertain global economic outlook.
The terrible trio are intricately linked, which makes it difficult to avoid their ill effects. However, those looking to buy a HDB can look forward to some relief in the form of housing grants and subsidies.
Here’s a cheat sheet on the various HDB housing grants available, and how they can help you.
Understanding HDB Housing Grants
You can think of HDB housing grants as one prong in the government’s strategy to keep housing costs affordable (the others being subsidised BTO flats, and policies designed to curb property speculation).
In essence, housing grants help to lower the barrier to entry for homeowners by bringing down the cost of the flat. True to Singapore’s granular approach, a variety of subsidies have been made available, and which ones you can qualify for will depend on a variety of factors.
Before we get into the details, here are some guidelines that are key to understanding HDB housing grants.
- There are essentially only three housing grant schemes: Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (EHG), CPF Housing Grant (aka Family Grant) and Proximity Housing Grant (PHG) for first-timers. See the following table for more information.
|Housing Grant||Who It Is For|
|Enhanced CPF Housing Grant||Singles, couples and families buying a BTO or resale flat|
|CPF Housing Grant||Singles, couples and families buying a resale flat|
|Proximity Housing Grant||Singles, couples and families buying a resale flat to live with or within 4km of a parent or child|
- New BTO purchases are only eligible for EHG. Resale flats are eligible for all three types of grants. This means you can potentially receive a larger subsidy when buying resale flats.
- Depending on your marital status and family unit, you will be eligible for one version or another of these three grants.
- Grants are not mutually exclusive, and can stack with each other. In other words, you will receive every grant you are eligible for.
- Grants are only available for Citizens and Permanent Residents. Couples applying with one non-resident will receive half the grant amount; i.e., the same amount of grant a single Singaporean applicant would receive.
With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at each of the three grants, including how much you can receive.
|Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (EHG)|
|Grant amount||Couples: S$5,000 to S$80,000|
Singles: S$2,5000 to S$40,000
|Income ceiling||S$4,500 per applicant|
|Applicable for||BTO flats |
The EHG is the most widely applicable housing grant, given that it can be used for both BTO flats and resale flats.
The maximum grant amount is S$80,000 (or S$40,000 for a single applicant), tiered according to your household income.
To be eligible for this grant, your average monthly household income must not exceed S$4,500 per applicant (i.e., S$9,000 for couples).
|CPF Housing Grant Details|
|Grant amount||First-timer couples:
First- and second-timer couples:
|Applicable for||Resale flats only|
The CPF Housing Grant (also confusingly referred to as Family Grant; this is inaccurate as singles are also eligible!) offers up to S$50,000 in subsidies for couples and families, and up to S$25,000 for singles.
It is affected by several modifiers. For one, only first-time applicants are entitled to this grant, so if your spouse is a second-timer, the total grant you will receive is equivalent to half the amount given to first-timer couples.
Next, buying a 5-room or larger flat will see you receiving a slightly lower grant amount.
Thirdly, if one of the applicants is a PR, there is a further reduction to the overall grant amount you will receive.
However, on the plus side, the income ceiling is rather generous at S$7,000 per single applicant, and S$14,000 per couple. The grant is also not tiered, you’ll receive the maximum eligible amount as long as you meet the qualifying criteria.
Note that there is a separate CPF Housing Grant for those seeking to buy an Executive Condo (EC). This is because ECs are sold by a property developer, and not the HDB.
|Proximity Housing Grant|
|Applicable for||Resale flats only|
The Proximity Housing Grant was introduced to encourage family bonding, by offering an additional subsidy for resale flats purchased to live with or near your immediate family members.
If your parents or married child are living with you in the resale flat you are purchasing, you will be eligible for the higher amount available under this grant.
Otherwise, if the resale flat you are buying is located within 4km of where your parents or married child is residing, you will be eligible for the lower grant amount.
There is no income ceiling requirement, and neither are there any tiers to the grant amount received.
Tips for Young Homeowners to Build Their Housing Fund
Even with heavily subsidised BTO prices and the various housing grants extended, buying a flat represents a major financial commitment, especially for young homeowners. As such, planning ahead is important.
Here are some tips to help you build your housing fund.
Know Your Budget
Knowing how much you need is the first step. Look up past BTO launch exercises to get a gauge for how much each type of flat costs, so you can work out a budget. This will also help you pick the right home for your income level.
Put More Funds In Your CPF OA
If you’re planning to use your CPF funds to pay for your future home, consider putting your spare cash into your CPF Ordinary Account. Not only can you earn interest of 2.5% per annum, you will also be able to make a larger downpayment when purchasing your flat. This, in turn, will lower your monthly mortgage payments.
Set Up an Automated Savings Account
If you’re truly serious about owning your own home, get a separate bank account that is solely for your housing fund. For consistency, set up an automatic transfer every month to deposit a fixed amount of money. That way, you won’t conveniently “forget”.