Ensuring Public Housing Remains Affordable, Inclusive, and Liveable
Mar 4, 2021
At MND’s Committee of Supply debate today, Minister for National Development, Mr Desmond Lee, announced various measures to ensure that public housing remains affordable, inclusive and liveable for Singaporeans.
Keeping Public Housing in Prime Locations Affordable and Inclusive
As we rejuvenate Singapore in the years ahead, the Government will be launching HDB flats in prime locations. Given the high market value of flats in these locations, a new housing model is necessary to ensure that these flats remain affordable and inclusive to Singaporeans.
This is important because we want our residential estates to be homes for residents of different backgrounds and walks of life. MND and HDB will further engage stakeholders and the public to hear their views and suggestions before finalising the details of the new housing model.
Streamlining and Simplifying the Flat Buying Process
To offer greater convenience to flat buyers and sellers, we will leverage technology and continue to streamline and simplify the processes related to the buying and selling of HDB flats.
In 2018, HDB introduced the HDB Resale Portal to streamline the transaction process for resale buyers and sellers, and reduce the time needed for resale transactions. As an enhancement to complement this portal, we launched the HDB Flat Portal in Jan 2021, for home buyers and sellers to gather information on the purchase or sale of a flat, whether new or resale, on a single integrated platform. The HDB Flat Portal includes customised financial calculators for buyers to estimate their housing budget and sellers to estimate their sale proceeds, a one-stop loan listing service which offers information on housing loans offered by both HDB and participating financial institutions (FIs), and a flat-listing service with information on current and upcoming new HDB flats for buyers to compare their housing options holistically.
To provide a more seamless experience for flat buyers, we will implement three new features on the HDB Flat Portal later this year:
a. HDB Flat Eligibility (HFE) letter;
b. Integrated loan application service with participating financial institutions; and
c. Digital platform to guide new flat buyers.
Currently, flat buyers’ eligibility for a flat purchase, CPF housing grants and HDB housing loan are assessed at different stages of their home buying journey. The new HFE letter will streamline the process by integrating the eligibility assessment for HDB flats, grants and loans via a single application through the HDB Flat Portal.
The HFE letter will replace the HDB Loan Eligibility (HLE) letter, enabling flat buyers to have upfront clarity on their total housing budget and financing options so that they can make prudent housing decisions. It will inform flat buyers of their eligibility for a new/resale flat purchase, housing grants, and HDB housing loan, including the amount of housing grants and HDB housing loan that they are eligible for.
Integrated loan application service with participating financial institutions
Besides providing information on housing loans offered by HDB and participating FIs, the HDB Flat Portal will include a new integrated housing loan application service to enable flat buyers to apply for In-Principle Approvals and Letters of Offer from participating FIs. This reduces the need for flat buyers to submit their housing loan applications to the FIs separately.
Digital platform to guide new flat buyers
HDB will make available a new digital platform in the HDB Flat Portal to guide new flat buyers on their housing journey. Some features of this platform include offering relevant information at appropriate milestones during the flat purchase process; helping flat buyers to plan ahead by working out their financial/ payment plans early; and allowing flat buyers to book their preferred appointment slot to collect their keys.
Supporting Individuals and Families Living in Rental Flats
Pilot Joint Singles Scheme (Operator-Run) Model
HDB will continue to support the housing needs of Singaporeans who live in rental flats. Today, two or more singles may jointly apply for a public rental flat under the Joint Singles Scheme (JSS). They are encouraged to apply with someone they know, like a relative or friend, or they can approach HDB to source for a flat mate.
The majority of JSS tenants are able to find a flat mate and live together amicably. However, some may not be able to do so.
HDB will pilot an alternative JSS model that will allow single tenants to apply for public rental flats without having to find a flat mate first. HDB will appoint a social service agency as the operator to manage these flats, including the flat-sharing arrangements. The operator can help to mediate any issues between flat mates and arrange for them to switch to other flats, if necessary.
Support for large families
Currently, families with three or more members who are living in 1-room rental flats can request to transfer to a 2-room flat. Families that form two nuclei, such as families with children, parents, and grandparents living together, can apply for another flat and HDB will offer them a second rental flat in the same block where possible.
To better support large families with children, while taking into account the very limited supply of 3-room rental flats, HDB will be working with MSF under Community Link (ComLink) to offer 3-room rental flats to these families on a case-by-case basis. At the same time, all families with children living in public rental flats will receive holistic support under ComLink to enable them to achieve stability, self-reliance, and social mobility, including home ownership, where possible.
Enhancing liveability of HDB flats and estates
As part of our ongoing efforts to ensure our HDB flats and estates remain highly liveable, we are studying additional ways to rejuvenate and revitalise our housing estates, including how to better engage and involve residents and stakeholders in the process.