On Monday, 20th Feb 2017, the Singapore Budget 2017, was unveiled by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat. Among all other polices, he announced the enhancement of CPF Housing Grant for first-timer buyer of resale HDB flats for families as well as singles applicant.

Since about 18,000 units of BTO HDB units has reached the end of the minimum occupation period (MOP of five years) as at end-2016 which is 80% higher than in year 2015, this enhancement is believed to likely help sustain the recovery in resale transactions and stabilising of resale prices.

The new enhancement will allow eligible first-timer families to be granted as much as S$110,000, including the present Additional CPF Housing Grant (as much as S$40,000) and Proximity Housing Grant (S$20,000).

Likewise, suitable first timer singles buying resale HDB may receive as much as S$55,000 in housing grants, including the present Additional CPF Housing Grant (as much as S$20,000) and Proximity Housing Grant (S$10,000).

Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong said in his Facebook post on Monday that this would assist those who wish to reside near their parents in mature estates where there are fewer BTO projects, or people who desire to have their own home quickly without the wait of 3 to 5 years of construction period.

The most recent BTO exercise saw overwhelming responses in both mature estates, Tampines and Clementi, with more than three times of subscribers. There were about 2.7 times applicant for Punggol BTO HDB and its 5-room flat saw the highest subscription by flat type at 5.2 times.

Last year, resale HDB transactions climbed second year in a row. Comparing to a year ago, the increase is 7.8 percent to 20,813 even though the resale prices dropped by 0.1% over the same interval.

JLL national director for research and consultancy Ong Teck Hui mentioned that the enhancement in housing subsidy should boost the demand in resale HDB flat, expecting the price to stabilise or rise slightly. However, he failed to view the latest measure as an objective to aid in the private residential market, though a healthy HDB resale market with stable prices may perhaps ignite sentiments in upgrading to private housing.