Published November 11, 2006

HDB flats will remain affordable

1,500 first-timer families received additional grant


MINISTER of National Development Mah Bow Tan has restated the government policy of ensuring that public housing will remain affordable to 90 per cent of all Singaporeans.

Speaking in Parliament yesterday, Mr Mah said that about 1,500 families have so far benefited from the Additional Central Provident Fund Housing Grant (AHG) introduced in March.

Under the AHG, an additional grant of $5,000-$20,000 was introduced for first-timer families earning up to $3,000 a month.

Mr Mah said the government message is: 'If you are already trying your best but still need a little help to buy your first flat, the government recognises this effort and will help you achieve this goal.'

Also in March, the government announced that the Housing and Development Board (HDB) would start building new two-room flats to provide even more affordable housing options for low-income families.

Yesterday, Mr Mah said that 95 per cent of the 200 two-room units offered in Sengkang and Jurong West have been sold. He added that demand was good and highlighted that the HDB had received more than 200 applications for the 100 two-room flats offered in Jurong West alone. 'HDB will proceed to build more of such flats,' he said.

Mr Mah also noted that there have been households that have had to downgrade to smaller flats because of financial hardship.

He said that he has further asked the HDB to exercise maximum flexibility 'in acceding to appeals for an additional concessionary loan to buy the smaller flat'.

The HDB is to launch more studio-apartment projects, targeted at elderly households.

Mr Mah said that close to 95 per cent of the 1,200 units offered so far have been taken up.

In September, HDB started to offer studio apartments in Bishan, and Mr Mah said that there had been about 1,000 applications for the 176 units.