New Plus housing model with more subsidies for more affordable BTO flats in attractive locations
Aug 20, 2023
JOINT MND-HDB PRESS RELEASE
New Plus housing model with more subsidies for more affordable BTO flats in attractive locations
Plus flats will come with tighter conditions to support genuine homebuyers
At the National Day Rally (NDR) on 20 August 2023, Prime Minister (PM) Lee Hsien Loong announced a new classification of flats to better reflect the locational attributes of HDB’s Build-To-Order (BTO) projects. Potential homebuyers can look forward to more affordable BTO flats in attractive locations.
Changing housing landscape
2. The distinction between mature estates and non-mature estates has blurred over the years as non-mature estates have become more built-up, with better amenities and transport infrastructure. The Government has invested heavily in these towns, and they now have excellent connectivity and a full suite of amenities. More information on the current classification of HDB estates is provided in Annex A.
3. With fewer large tracts of undeveloped land available for future public housing, HDB will increasingly build more projects within or near existing estates and more central areas. These are choice sites, which tend to be more popular among homebuyers due to their central locations, better connectivity and closer proximity to amenities.
New social compact for public housing
4. During the Forward Singapore (FSG) engagement sessions over the past year, we heard from more than 16,000 Singaporeans from all walks of life regarding their housing aspirations and the way forward for a new social compact. Majority of Singaporeans consistently shared that our public housing system should reflect the following key values and priorities:
a) Home ownership. Singaporeans firmly supported home ownership as a key tenet of our public housing system. They want public housing to remain affordable and accessible, so as to enable them to buy their first home. Many preferred HDB flats that are well-connected and near amenities.
b) Inclusivity. Singaporeans emphasised the importance of maintaining inclusivity in our public housing estates so that they continue to reflect the diversity of our society. While they acknowledged that attractive BTO flats would come at a higher price point to reflect their choicer locations and higher demand, they hoped that these flats will continue to remain affordable for Singaporeans across different income groups, with greater support for the lower-income households.
c) Fairness. Singaporeans agreed that public housing should be primarily for owner occupation, rather than investment. While the increased supply of BTO flats in attractive locations will meet the aspirations of many young homebuyers, Singaporeans agreed on the need to discourage excessive windfall gains from the sale of these flats to ensure equity across all homebuyers. Some suggested imposing tighter conditions for the purchase of flats in more popular or expensive BTO projects, similar to what we already do for Prime Location Public Housing (PLH) flats.
d) Sustainability. Beyond meeting the needs of current homebuyers, they hoped that HDB flats will remain affordable and accessible for future generations of Singaporeans and that our system remains sustainable.
5. Taking into careful consideration these ideas and perspectives, MND and HDB will introduce new measures to address the changing housing landscape and evolving aspirations of Singaporeans.
New Plus housing model
6. As announced by PM Lee, we will introduce a new classification system from 2H2024 to differentiate our BTO projects by their locational attributes:
a) Standard flats will come with the standard subsidies and standard restrictions that are applied to all BTO flats. They will continue to form the bulk of the housing supply.
b) Plus flats, a new category of flats, will be in choicer locations within each region across Singapore (e.g. near MRT station, town centre). For example, Plus flats could be offered in the upcoming housing precinct in Bayshore, which is close to amenities such as MRT stations, a community club and East Coast Park. These flats will come with more subsidies and tighter restrictions, compared to the Standard BTO flats.
c) Prime flats are in the choicest locations within Singapore, usually closer to the city centre. They will come with the most subsidies across the three categories, and will have the tightest conditions. These flats are currently offered under the PLH model.
See Table 1 for more details.
Table 1: Comparison of Standard, Plus and Prime models
7. To ensure public housing remains inclusive to all Singaporeans, we will gradually provide more housing grants, especially those that are means-tested, so that lower- and middle-income households get the most support.
Key features of the Plus housing model
More subsidies to ensure affordability for more Singaporeans
8. As the new Plus flats would naturally command higher market values given their attractive locations, they will be priced with more subsidies, on top of the subsidies already provided for Standard flats today. This will keep these flats affordable and enable a wider range of Singaporeans to purchase them.
Subsidy recovery upon resale of flat
9. For fairness across all homebuyers, Plus flat owners will have to pay a proportion of the resale price, reflective of the extra subsidies, if they choose to sell their flats later on. This will help mitigate excessive windfall gains and ensure equity with other flat owners who do not enjoy these additional subsidies.
10. As the extent of additional subsidies for Plus flats are typically lower as compared to Prime flats (see Table 1), the subsidy recovery rate imposed on Plus flat buyers will be lower than the recovery rate for Prime flats.
Tighter sale conditions
11. To strengthen the owner-occupation intent for Plus flats, Plus flat owners will need to occupy their flats for at least 10 years (i.e. the Minimum Occupation Period or MOP) before they can sell their flats in the open market or invest in a private residential property.
12. We will also impose tighter resale conditions for Plus flats to moderate demand and prices of these flats so as to keep them affordable for future resale buyers and maintain a better social mix in the long term. More details will be shared soon.
Enhancing housing access for singles
13. Changing lifestyle and social aspirations have resulted in a growing number of singles who prefer to buy and live in their own flats instead of with their families. During our FSG engagement sessions on public housing, some singles reflected their preference for flats in mature estates to be nearer to their elderly parents for mutual care and support.
14. The Government has been progressively enhancing public housing access for singles. Currently, first timer singles aged 35 and above are allowed to apply for new 2-room Flexi flats in only non-mature estates or buy resale flats in any estate. See Annex B for more information on housing access and support for singles.
15. With the new classification, eligible first-timer singles can:
a) Apply for 2-room Flexi BTO flats in all locations across Standard, Plus and Prime housing projects;
b) Buy a Standard or Plus flat of any size in the resale market; or
c) Buy a 2-room Prime flat in the resale market.
16. MND will continue to engage Singaporeans in the coming months, and we welcome views and feedback on these changes. The new classification will be implemented for BTO projects from the second half of 2024. The classification of the BTO projects on offer will be announced at HDB’s sales launches.
No change to classification of existing flats
17. The new classification and Plus model will not be retroactively applied to existing flat owners and the current resale market. With the longer MOP, it will take more than 10 years before Plus flats are available in the resale market. We will continue to monitor the impact of our measures in the broader resale market and review them, if necessary.
18. With these measures, there will be a good mix of projects within and across regions to cater to the different budgets and needs of Singaporeans.
Upgrading existing HDB homes and precincts for seniors
19. PM Lee also announced plans to enhance HDB homes and precincts to make them more liveable and senior-friendly:
a) We will expand the suite of senior-friendly fittings under the Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE) 2.0 programme to further enhance mobility and comfort for senior residents within their homes.
b) We will upgrade precincts to include more senior-friendly features to promote fitness and active ageing, as well as allow seniors to commute more safely and comfortably.
c) We will launch more Community Care Apartments, which integrate senior-friendly housing with customisable care services, to enable seniors to age in place.
20. These improvements are part of Age Well SG, a national programme led by MOH, MND and MOT to support seniors to age gracefully in their homes and their communities. More details of these plans will be shared subsequently.
21. MND and HDB remain committed to provide Singaporeans with affordable, quality and inclusive homes. We will continue to review our housing policies and make adjustments where necessary to ensure they remain relevant to the evolving needs of Singaporeans.
Issued by: MND & HDB
Date: 20 Aug 2023
 With the exception of BTO flats under the PLH model.
 This allows for singles to access wider public housing options, compared to today.
 Except 3Gen flats which cater to the housing needs of multi-generation families and enable them to live in the same flat.