In Singapore, a country where land resources for residents are limited, housing grants are helpful and necessary. It is difficult, if not impossible, for young and financially struggling buyers to afford a property with a grant. One popular grant that had helped buyers in the past is the so-called Housing & Development Board (HDB) grant, also known as Central Provident Fund (CPF) housing grant.
This grant is meant to help buyers take less housing loan when purchasing a flat. In this article, you can learn how first-timer applicants can apply for an HDB grant. Also, see which type of HDB grant fits your specific needs and requirements.
HDB Grants in a Nutshell
CPF housing grant or HDB grants are meant for lower and middle-income individuals and families in Singapore who wish to buy their home at an affordable price. Once your application is approved, your grant will be deposited in your CPF Ordinary Account. You will not see the grant in the form of cash. Instead, it will be used to offset the purchase price of the property you are buying.
Getting an HDB grant could decrease the home loan you are supposed to take. In some cases, a first-timer can save as much as $100,000. Without a doubt, an HDB grant makes owning a home or residential property a possibility even for those who do not have a high gross monthly household income.
While HDB offers a variety of grants and payment schemes for different types of clients, we will only focus on HDB grants meant for first-timer applicants. If you are an eligible first-timer applicant, HDB only allows you to apply for these types, namely, Build to Order (BTO)/resale, resale flats, and executive condominium (EC). Here’s a table to help you understand how these HDB types are different from one another. Note the details below may vary if you or your spouse is a Singapore permanent resident.
|HDB Type||HDB Grant||Income Ceiling||Grant Amount|
|Build to Order (BTO)/resale||Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (EHG)||$9,000||$5,000 to $80,000|
• $40,000 to $50,000 (for 2 to 4-room resale flats)
• $30,000 to $40,000 (for 5-room or bigger resale flats)
|Resale||Proximity Housing Grant (PHG)||none||$20,000 to $30,000|
|Executive Condominium (EC)||Family Grant||$12,000||$10,000 to $30,000|
Note that the term income ceiling means that applicants’ monthly income must not exceed what was indicated. Remember that a CPF housing grant is meant to assist groups or groups who would not otherwise afford to buy a resale flat or a brand new flat. Applicants can get higher better housing if they have a lower income.
For Singaporeans who are married to foreigners, you are eligible for the Singles Grant. To be eligible here, you must be 21 and above and have a non-citizen spouse. First timer applicants may be eligible for grants worth up to $40,000. Having a lower average monthly household income would allow you for higher grants.
Types of CPF Housing Grants
To better understand the four different types of HDB grants, we can discuss each one of them in detail. Remember that each type is better suited for a particular group of people. You have to know your personal situation in order to pick which of these types better suits you and your needs.
1. Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (EHG) — for HDB BTO & resale
Applicable for: This type of grant is best for couples & families with an average monthly household income of $90,000 or less. The household income is computed by getting the average income of 12 months prior. HDB requires that at least one of the applicants must have worked continuously for at least a year.
Eligibility: New and resale flats are allowed for this grant, including those under Build to Order (BTO), Sale of Balance Flats (SBF), and Re-offer of Balance Flats (ROF). In the case of resale flats, the remaining lease plus the age of the youngest must be equal to at least 95 years. This is to ensure that you stay in the flat long enough. If not, the grant will be prorated.
Grant Amount: The amount ranges from $5,000 to $80,000. Remember that the Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (EHG) is meant for couples belonging to a lower or middle-class income. This means that the lower the household income you get, the higher the grants you can receive.
Does it apply to singles?
The singles grant for this requires the applicant to be at least 35 years old. Also, to qualify, your average gross monthly income should be from $2,500 to $40,000. This would also mean that the grant you will receive will be half of what couples would get.
To know more about EHG, you can check this out from the HDB website.
2. Family Grant a.k.a HDB Resale Grant — for HDB resale flats
Applicable for: Married or engaged couples or families who are first-timers when it comes to buying HDB resale flats. The applicants’ household income must not be more than $14,000. If you choose to apply with your parents or other family members, the average gross monthly household income must not be more than $21,000.
Eligibility: For an HDB resale flat, a 2-room flat, or larger flats. Note that taking a 5-room or a bigger resale flat would decrease the grant by $10,000.
Grant Amount: If both of the couples are Singapore citizens and are buying a 2-room to 4-room resale flat, they can get as much as $50,000. If they are buying a 5-room or bigger resale flat, they can get as much as $40,000.
Meanwhile, if one of the couples is a Singapore citizen, taking a 2-room to 4-room resale flat can give as much as $40,000. And, $30,000 of they will get a 5-room or bigger resale flat.
Does it apply to singles?
Under the version of the Singles grant, the applicant must have a gross monthly household income of $7,000 12 months prior. Applicants will get $25,000 if they buy a 2-room to 4-room resale flat or $20,000 if they buy a 5-room or bigger resale flat.
To know more about the Family Grant of HDB resale grant, check this resource from the HDB website. They have a longer and more detailed explaining about the Family grant.
3. Proximity Housing Grant (PHG) — for HDB resale flats
Applicable for: Applicants looking to buy an HDB resale flat to live with or within 4 kilometers from where their parents live. This is also meant for older couples who wish to be with their married or single children. When it comes to the Proximity Housing Grant, there is no income ceiling. Even those who are not first-timer applicants may be eligible for a PHG.
Eligibility: Applicable to any resale HDB flat that has at least 20 years of lease left. Note that the proximity housing grant is only given once. Also, the flat of the parents or of the married children does not necessarily need to be an HDB flat.
Grant Amount: If you are applying for a flat so your family can live together, you can get as much as $30,000. Meanwhile, if you choose to live separately within the 4-kilometer distance, you can get as much as $20,000.
Does it apply to singles?
Yes, singles buying a resale grant in order to be live with or near their parents can apply for this grant. A Singles grant would give the applicant half of what couples would receive.
The Proximity Housing Grant (PHG) was introduced to families to buy a resale flat where they can stay close to one another and provide mutual care and support. For more information about this, you can check this out.
4. Family Grant — for HDB executive condominium (EC)
Applicable for: Those who are filing an executive condo application for the first time may be eligible for this type of CPF housing grant. Their average gross monthly household income should be $12,000.
Eligibility: For any type of executive condominium bought directly from the developer. Once the EC is booked, the buyer can then apply for the family grant.
Grant Amount: For couples who are both Singapore citizens, they can get $10,000 up to $30,000 depending on their household income. Meanwhile, for those with a non-citizen spouse, the income ceiling is at $11,000. They can get as much as $20,000. Eventually, if these couples will have a child or if the PR becomes a citizen, they can get an additional grant of $10,000.
If one of the couples is a second-timer applicant and the other is a first-timer, they can qualify for the so-called Half Housing Grant. This would give them a grant amount of half of what is given in the Family Grant. Note that a second timer is someone who has been given a grant before, like under the Single grants scheme.
Does it apply to singles?
No. Singles are not allowed to buy a brand new executive condominium. In order to qualify for an EC, the application must be made with 2-4 other Singapore citizens.
If you want to read more about the CPF family grant for ECs, you can find more details here.
Remember that a CPF housing grant can be used in two ways. First, it can be used to offset the purchase price of the flat. Meaning, the amount you have to pay will be considerably lower. Second, it can be used to reduce the mortgage loan intended to buy the flat. Here, a buyer need not apply for a bug mortgage or home loans because the HDB grants will make the flat more affordable.
You must also remember that the housing grant cannot be used to pay for the minimum cash downpayment that some developers or buyers would ask. It cannot also be used to pay the monthly mortgage installment. If you are buying a resale flat from a bank, the grants will also be included when computing for the CPF withdrawal limit.
How to Apply
Before filing an application for any of the HDB grants mentioned above, you have to ensure that you are eligible. Remember that each type of grant requires a specific income ceiling, residence status, employment, remaining lease of flat, and many other more. For example, you must be certain that you are a first-timer. To know this, make sure that you must not:
- Be the owner of an HDB flat or a flat bought from HDB
- Have sold an HDB flat
- Have bought an Executive Condominium (EC) unit, Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) flat or an HDB resale flat with CPF Housing Grants, or taken over ownership of such a flat or EC unit
- Have transferred the ownership of a flat bought from HDB, or an HDB resale flat bought with CPF Housing Grants
- Have ever taken other forms of housing subsidy, such as Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme benefits or HUDC estate privatization
Once you have made sure that you are eligible for a CPF Housing Grant, the next step is to download and fill up the necessary form specific to the type of grant you are applying for. Here are where you can access the forms, EHG flat application form, here; AHG flat application form, here; and AHG/SHG flat application form, here. After the first-timers have completed the form, they can submit it to HDB during the flat booking appointment.
During the flat booking appointment, applicants bring with them the required documents for the housing grants they are applying for. Employed applicants must bring with them their payslip 12 months prior to the flat applicant. If you cannot provide this, there are alternative proof of income you can show which you can find last here. Be sure to complete all the required documents so that your application can be granted fast.
After the HDB has approved the grant, the CPF housing grants will be fully credited to the CPF Ordinary Accounts of the eligible Singapore citizen applicant/s. Note that the grant can not be converted into cash. For joint Singapore citizen applicants, each of the couples will receive half of the housing grant. Meanwhile, for multi-nuclei Singapore citizen applicants, the grant is given only to 2 applicants who are husband and wife.
The processing length of a housing grant application depends on a case-by-case basis. Typically, it would take 2 weeks for the Housing and Development Board to approve an application. It is best if applicants would give more time for the HDB to process their housing grant.
First timer applicants must also remember that if they decide to sell HDB properties, they have to pay back the grants they received to their CPF account. Also, if this happens, they must pay back the 2.5% accrued interest in the grants given to them. This interest is equivalent to the interest rate earned if the grant is just staying in the CPF Ordinary Account of an applicant.
Getting grants from HDB would surely help couples and families to afford decent housing in Singapore. Given the high prices of homes and flats in the country, government grants and subsidies are always welcome if not necessary. With this, it is important for first-timers to understand the HDB grants application process fully. Understanding the different grants for first-timers is the first step.
Without a doubt, the process of buying a resale flat and applying for an HDB grant can be tiring and exhausting. For many, it is difficult to keep up with the many information related to a flat application, resale grants, enhanced housing grant, and many more. If you are overwhelmed with all the details of housing grants, you can always consult agencies familiar with these types of financial processes.
Loan Advisor is a finance directory comparison website dedicated to providing help for individuals and groups needing help and clarity to understand seemingly complex financial matters. You can consult us if you have questions regarding HDB policies, resale grants, housing loans, and many more. We will help you find which of the available grants for first-time applicants is best for you. We have given help to a lot of Singaporeans in the past. We hope to guide you with your housing grants application.