• Published Date: 19 Aug 2015

         Today, the Ministry of National Development (MND) and the Housing & Development Board (HDB) introduced the 2-room Flexi Scheme, a new housing option to better cater to the diverse housing needs of families, singles and elderly. The new 2-room Flexi Scheme will offer flexibility to accommodate different buyers and allow choice of lease and fittings. It will also support inclusive living.

     

    2      First mooted by the Minister for National Development, Mr Khaw Boon Wan, at the Committee of Supply debate in March 2015, the new 2-room Flexi Scheme will merge and replace the existing 2-room flat scheme and Studio Apartment (SA) scheme. The design of the new scheme has incorporated feedback and suggestions received from extensive public consultation held over the past few months.

     

    Flexi Buyers

     

    3      Under the new 2-room Flexi Scheme, first-timer and second-timer families and first-timer singles will continue to be offered 99-year 2-room Flexi flats.

     

    4      In addition, elderly citizens aged 55 and above can choose to buy a 2-room Flexi flat on short lease as a monetisation option, regardless of whether they have enjoyed housing subsidies previously or own a private residential property. This includes elderly who are not eligible to buy a 99-year 2-room Flexi flat, viz. first-timer singles earning more than $5,000, second-timer singles, households who have enjoyed two housing subsidies, and private property owners1. The purchase and ownership conditions are set out in Annex A.

     

    Flexi Lease

     

    5      Elderly citizens aged 55 and above have the flexibility of choosing the length of the lease on their 2-room Flexi flat, based on their age, needs and preferences. They can take up a lease of between 15 and 45 years in five-year increments, as long as it covers them and their spouse up to the age of at least 95 years. The various lease options are set out in Table 1.

     

    Table 1: Lease Options for Short-Lease 2-room Flexi Flats

     

    Age of Youngest Applicant and Spouse at Flat Application
     
    Lease Period
      Minimum (Years) Other Options (Years)
    55 to 59 40 45
    60 to 64 35 40, 45
    65 to 69 30 35, 40, 45
    70 to 74 25 30, 35, 40, 45
    75 to 79 20 25, 30, 35, 40, 45
    ≥ 80 15 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45

     

    6      With the short-lease option, the elderly will be able to have a new home for life while monetising more from their existing property. The purchase will have to be financed through cash or CPF savings, and not a mortgage loan, so as not to burden the elderly with debt. The short-lease 2-room Flexi flats cannot be resold or sublet. If the owners do not need the flat, they can return the flat to HDB and HDB will refund them the value of the remaining lease of the flat.

     

    Flexi Fittings

     

    7      The 2-room Flexi flats will be available in two sizes, 36 sm and 45 sm. Those who buy 2-room Flexi flats on 99-year leases will continue to have the option of flooring and sanitary fittings under the Optional Component Scheme (OCS). The elderly who buy 2-room Flexi flats on short leases will be able to choose from three new OCS packages specially tailored for them. These will include flooring, sanitary fittings and other items such as built-in kitchen cabinets with gas hob and cooker hood, kitchen sink, window grilles and built-in wardrobe (see Annex B) for details). In addition, as the flats on short leases are meant for the elderly, they will be fitted upfront with grab bars.

     

    Adequate Supply

     

    8      At least 40% (subject to a minimum of 100 units) of the 2-room Flexi flats in a Build-to-Order (BTO) project will be made available to the elderly. Under a new Senior Priority Scheme to be introduced, half of this quota will be set aside for the elderly who apply for a unit to live near their current flat or near their married child.

     

    9      All other priority schemes for families applying for 99-year 2-room Flexi flats will remain unchanged. These schemes are the Parenthood Priority Scheme, Married Child Priority Scheme and Assistance Scheme for Second-Timers (Divorced/Widowed Parents).

     

    10      HDB will launch over 70 BTO projects with 2-room Flexi flats in the next 5 years. These projects will be located all over Singapore to allow choice of locations.

     

    Affordable Pricing

     

    11      2-room Flexi flats are priced taking into account the lease tenure and if buyers are first-timers, second-timers, or others. Shorter lease flats will be cheaper than longer lease flats. First-timers will pay less than buyers who have enjoyed a housing subsidy or who cannot buy other subsidised HDB flats, as first-timers get grants and a larger subsidy. (See Annex C for details.)

     

    More Help for the Elderly

     

    12      Second-timers aged 55 and above who sold their first subsidised flat before 3 March 2006 2 and have not paid their resale levy liabilities will be given additional help when they right-size to a new 2-room or 3-room flat. Instead of paying the percentage resale levy with accrued interest, they will pay only the percentage resale levy3 , with the interest waived.

     

    13      Currently, SA owners can apply at the expiry of their 30-year lease for a 10-year lease extension. They will soon enjoy more flexibility in lease extension. From 1 April 2016, they can apply to top up their lease by 5, 10 or 15 years at the prevailing market value, at any point of time. This option is also extended to buyers who have yet to collect the keys to their SAs. For flat owners who have taken up the Lease Buyback Scheme (LBS) before the scheme was enhanced on 1 April 2015, they can apply to top up their 30-year lease by an additional 5 years at the prevailing market value, from 1 April 2016.

     

    14      The elderly who are waiting for the completion of their new flats or SAs can apply for the short-lease 2-room Flexi flat, if they wish to. The forfeiture fees will be waived if they cancel their new flat or SA application before 19 August 2016 and book a short-lease 2-room Flexi flat. Similarly, the forfeiture fees will be waived for those who cancel their new flat or SA application before 1 April 2016 to take up the LBS with their existing HDB flat. This will give elderly buyers sufficient time to find out more about options available and make a decision. We advise them to take time to consider the various schemes and choose one that best meets their needs.

     

    Implementation

     

    15     The 2-room Flexi Scheme and the waiver of accrued interest on resale levy for elderly who are right-sizing (paragraph 12) will be implemented from the September 2015 BTO exercise. Those who wish to top up the lease of their SAs or LBS flats (paragraph 13) may apply to the HDB from 1 April 2016.

     

    16      For any enquiries, the public can contact the HDB Sales/Resale Customer Service Line at 1800-866-3066.

     

    1      These private property owners may currently own a private residential property or have disposed of their private residential property within 30 months of applying for a short-lease 2-room Flexi flat.

     

    2      The resale levy is 10%/15%, 20%, 22.5% and 25% of the higher of transacted resale price or valuation, for a first subsidised flat which was a 2-room, 3-room, 4-room and 5-room/Executive flat respectively.The interest is 5% per annum which accrues from the sale of the first subsidised flat till the payment of the resale levy.

     

    3      This will be subject to a minimum payment of $15,000 for 2-room, $30,000 for 3-room, $40,000 for 4-room, $45,000 for 5-room, and $50,000 for Executive flat. These amounts are the resale levy payable by second-timers who sold their first subsidised flat on or after 3 March 2006.