Young Couples to Benefit from New Changes to Housing Grants and Raised Income Ceiling

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On Tuesday (10th Sep), National Development Minister Lawrence Wong announced a number of changes to the housing policy. Here are some of the changes that will benefit young couples looking to buy their first home:

  1. Higher Income Ceilings for buyers of HDB Flats and Executive Condominiums (ECs)

The current income ceiling for buyers of HDB flats and ECs is $12,000 and $14,000 respectively. This means that high income graduates from sectors such as Finance and IT would breach the income ceiling pretty quickly after graduation. These young couples will then be forced to buy private condominiums which are typically much pricier.

However, the new changes will raise the income ceiling for buyers of HDB flats and ECs to $14,000 and $16,000 respectively so as to allow young couples with higher incomes to make a more economical choice of buying a HDB flat/EC while saving for other future commitments.

  1. New Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (EHG) to Replace Additional Housing Grant (AHG) and Special Housing Grant (SHG)

The AHG allows eligible couples and families earning $5,000 or less to receive up to $40,000 in grants when buying their first HDB flat. The SHG, which also grants up to $40,000, is eligible to first-time home owners earning $8,500 or less who are buying a 4-room or smaller BTO flat in non mature estates. Homeowners who are eligible can enjoy both the AHG and SHG, potentially receiving a total of $80,000 in grants.

With the new changes, both the AHG and SHG will be replaced by the new EHG, which has a higher income ceiling of $9,000. Also, unlike the SHG, the EHG does not restrict the size and location of the flat. The maximum grant amount under the EHG remains unchanged at $80,000 (same as the AHG and SHG combined). This would mean that young couples earning higher incomes will still be able to enjoy grants to subsidize the purchase of their first home.

The Government has already been very generous in giving out huge amounts of housing grants. The housing grants available in Singapore are already one of the highest in the world (click here for article comparing various housing grants worldwide). These grants are designed to benefit young couples or families looking to have their own homes without breaking the bank or being saddled with huge housing loans.

Singaporeans who had a gripe with the rising costs of living will be relieved. While there remains room for improvement, it is a good to see that the Government has taken into account the country’s changing demographics and come up with policies that make housing more affordable and accessible to everybody.

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