Supporting the Housing Needs of Low-Income Families – Enhancements to Fresh Start Housing Scheme

Mar 8, 2022

At MND’s Committee of Supply debate 2022, Minister for National Development, Mr Desmond Lee, announced enhancements to the Fresh Start Housing Scheme. These measures are part of our efforts to support low-income families in their journey towards home ownership.

Helping Rental Tenants Realise their Home Ownership Aspirations

Enhancements to Fresh Start Housing Scheme

The Fresh Start Housing Scheme was introduced in 2016 to help rental tenants who are second-timers[1] with children and who are currently staying in public rental flats, to buy a home of their own again. Compared to first-timers who receive substantial housing subsidies to buy their first flat, second-timer families receive less subsidies. The Fresh Start Housing Scheme takes a targeted approach to help these families buy a 2-room Flexi flat to start afresh in a new home. It integrates financial assistance, in the form of the Fresh Start Housing Grant, with personal responsibility and social support.

The Fresh Start Housing Scheme was enhanced in 2018 and 2019 to benefit more families, while also providing stronger support to help these families stay on track in their home ownership journey (refer to Annex A for more information on the Fresh Start Housing Scheme).

To help more public rental tenants who are second-timers with children, HDB will further enhance the Fresh Start scheme through the following measures:

(i)             The Fresh Start Housing Grant will be increased from $35,000 to $50,000. Eligible families will receive an upfront disbursement of $35,000 into their CPF Ordinary Account at key collection. Another $15,000 will be disbursed into their CPF Ordinary Account in equal tranches over five years after key collection. This will be implemented from the May 2022 HDB sales launch.

(ii)            Currently, Fresh Start families can buy 2-room Flexi flats with lease lengths ranging from 45 to 65 years in five-year increments. To meet a wider range of housing needs, we will offer these families the option to buy 3-room flats with the same lease lengths, i.e. 45 to 65 years in five-year increments, as long as the lease of the flat can cover the youngest applicant/spouse-occupier up to the age of 95.

These shorter-lease 3-room flats will be more affordable than those on 99-year leases, while ensuring families still have a home for life. Families will also attend annual social assessments by HDB and receive social support from an appointed social service agency. This is to ensure that they stay on track in their home ownership journey. Flats sold under the Fresh Start scheme will continue to have a 20-year Minimum Occupation Period (MOP), to ensure a stable home for the families and children. HDB is working on the implementation for the offer of 3-room flats under Fresh Start, and will announce the details when ready.

Together, these measures will provide significant help for these families to own a home again.

[1] Second-timer families refer to households who have previously enjoyed one housing subsidy.

Annex A: Background on the Fresh Start Housing Scheme