Households earning up to $5,000 a month can now look forward to more help to buy their first home. The Minister for National Development announced in Parliament today the details of the enhanced Additional CPF Housing Grant Scheme to help first-timers buy a home.
AHG is an additional subsidy over and above the regular market subsidy and CPF Housing Grant that new and resale flat buyers enjoy respectively. It offsets the purchase price of a new or resale HDB flat, thereby further reducing the loan a flat buyer needs to take. This is the second enhancement since the AHG was first introduced in March 2006. The enhancements are:
- Increase in the income ceiling from $4,000 to $5,000. This will increase the coverage of the AHG from 50% to 60% of resident households.
- Increase in maximum grant quantum from $30,000 to $40,000. Details of the grant for the various income bands can be found at Annex 1.
- Reduction of the 2-year continuous employment condition to one year.
The enhanced AHG will make owning an HDB home within easier reach, especially for the lower-income. For instance, a family with a monthly household income of $1,500 can comfortably own a new 2-room HDB flat priced at $90,0001. With the help of the maximum AHG quantum of $40,000, they only have a monthly mortgage instalment of about $200. This is about 13% of monthly income and can be serviced entirely from monthly CPF contributions.
The increase in amount will also give more help to middle-income families. For instance, a family with a monthly household income of $4,000 will get an AHG of $15,000, an increase of $10,000. They can also get a higher CPF Housing Grant of $40,000 if they stay near their parents. If they buy a resale 4-room flat at about $315,0002, they will only need to use 26% of their monthly income to service their loan. Only a small cash payment of about $121 is needed, with the rest from their monthly CPF contributions.
This revision is expected to benefit an additional 2,700 first-timer homebuyers each year bringing the total benefiting households to about 8,000 per year. Overall, it will almost double the estimated cost of the AHG scheme to Government to about $150 million per year.
The Government first introduced the AHG on 3 Mar 2006 to help lower-income citizen families buy their first HDB flat. It was enhanced in Aug 2007, with a higher income ceiling of $4,000 (from $3,000) and a higher maximum grant of $30,000 (from $20,000). To date, the AHG scheme has disbursed about $140 million to help about 10,000 families buy their first flat. The beneficiaries of the AHG have extended beyond the lower income to the middle-income families.
As with the current scheme, the enhanced grant is to be used as capital payment for the flat purchase. Upon subsequent sale of the flat, the AHG has to be reinstated to the recipient’s CPF account, according to the prevailing CPF Board’s rules.
The enhanced AHG will take effect from 6 Feb 2009. It will be applicable to the purchase of flats as follows:
Category of Flats – Cut-Off Date
Purchase of New / DBSS Flats – Booking of Flats on or after 6 Feb 2009
Purchase of Resale Flats Resale – Application received by HDB on or after 6 Feb 2009