How To Apply For AN HDB Grant: Family Grant, Proximity Housing Grant (PHG)

Properties in Singapore are expensive compared to other rich countries in the world. It’s pretty obvious, though, considering the entire country is submerging slowly under sea level.

But let’s get back to happier things, like not being able to afford a home.

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Luckily, the government has a solution: you can apply for an HDB grant. This scheme doesn’t completely spare you from undertaking a loan, but it significantly decreases your debt.

That said, let’s see how you can get your hands on such a grant.

How Does an HDB Grant Work?

If you’re in the low or middle-income class, you can apply for an HDB grant to purchase your dream flat at a lower cost. If you qualify, you’ll get the grant money directly wired into your CPF OA.

That means you won’t get any cash to spend otherwise. The only way to use these funds is by purchasing a home.

Just imagine the help, though.

AN HDB grant can decrease your home loan by $100k. As a result, you can buy a more spacious home for a larger family without getting burdened by your debt.

Important note: HDB has different grants and payment schemes discussed below.

Types of HDB Grants

There are four main types of HDB grants to consider, each right for a specific situation. So, let’s see which HDB grant is best for you.

1. Enhanced CPF Housing Grant

The Enhanced CPF Housing Grant aka EHG is best for couples and families who want to purchase new and resale flats, such as:

  • BTO
  • Sale of Balance Flats
  • Re-offer of Balance Flats

Here are some eligibility conditions:

  • Total average income below $90k
  • At least one partner in the couple should have had continuous employment for the past year
  • For resale flats: the rest of the leas + the youngest buyer’s age should be above 95 years to make sure you keep the flat for long enough

With that in mind, you can obtain $5-$80k. Families and couples with lower incomes qualify for more funds and vice-versa.

There’s other good news:

You can apply for this HDB grant if you’re single, but you have to be over 35 yo. On the downside, you’ll only get half the funds a couple would get with this grant.

2. Family Grant, a.k.a HDB Resale Grant

If you’re married or officially engaged, the Family Grant provides reliable financial assistance to purchase an HDB resale flat for your family. However:

  • You have to be a first-time buyer
  • The household income should be below $14k
  • If you apply with other family members apart from your partner, the total household income should be below $21k

That sounds pretty good, but there are some downsides to this HDB housing grant.

For starters, you can obtain more funds if you’re purchasing an HDB flat with two to four rooms. In this case, you’re eligible for a maximum of $50k.

But, if you’re getting a five-room flat, the maximum amount you qualify for is $40k.

There’s another disadvantage:

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These sums apply if both partners are Singapore citizens. If one of you isn’t, you only qualify for a maximum of $40k for 2-4-room flats and $30k for 5-room flats or larger ones.

Here’s some good news, though:

Singles can apply too! On the downside, your income should be a maximum of $7k, and you can only qualify for $25k max.

3. Proximity Housing Grant (PHG)

Let’s say you have elderly parents who need your assistance. Or maybe you need them to help you with your kids while you’re at work. Or gaming.

That said, this HDB grant:

  • Lets you pick an HDB resale flat within 4km from your parents’ or in-laws’ home, provided that apartment has a minimum of twenty years left from its lease
  • Doesn’t have an income ceiling
  • Isn’t solely for first-time applicants
  • Applies to singles too

On the downside:

  • You’re only eligible for this HDB grant once
  • You can only obtain $30k if the whole family moves in together or $20 if you decide to live separately from your parents/in-laws within that 4 km radius
  • If you’re a single applying for the PHG, you qualify for half the amounts above

4. Family Grant

The Family HDB grant is best if your heart is set on an HDB executive condominium (EC). However:

  • It only applies to first-timers
  • The average gross monthly household income of all persons in the application shouldn’t be more than $12k (applicants and occupiers included)
  • It only applies to executive condos you buy straight from developers, so you have to book your EC first
  • The maximum sum you’re eligible for is $10-$30k depending on your income, if both spouses are Singapore citizens
  • It doesn’t apply to singles
  • If one of the partners has used an HDB grant before, but the other spouse hasn’t, they can apply for the Half Housing Grant to qualify for half the funds.

Even worse:

If one of the spouses is a non-citizen, the total family income should be $11k, and the maximum sum the family is eligible for is $20k.

Luckily, people in this situation can either apply for citizenship or have a baby in Singapore to qualify for an additional $10k.

How to Apply for HDB Grants

This point is probably why you’re here in the first place, but hopefully, you haven’t skipped all the sections above. Remember that an essential part of any application is to check the eligibility conditions.

If you don’t meet these requirements, there’s not much use in applying in the first place.

So, consider all the factors we discussed for each HDB grant above, such as:

  • The maximum income ceiling for your family
  • Your citizenship status
  • Employment
  • Necessary remaining flat lease
  • And more

Note that some of these conditions can sound somewhat ambiguous, so you must read the fine prints. Here’s an excellent example:

What does it mean to be a first-time applicant?

You might think that this term means it should be your first time applying for a specific HDB grant. And you’d be wrong because it means you must not:

  • Own an HDB flat or an apartment you bought from HDB
  • Have sold an HDB apartment
  • Have owned a:
    • EC unit
    • DBSS flat
    • HDB resale flat
  • Have transferred your rights of ownership to a flat bought from HDB or an HDB resale flat you bought with CPF housing grants
  • Have ever had any housing subsidy

As you can see, HDB grants have strict – and some might say even draconic – requirements. Let’s say you qualify, though.

Here’s what you have to do in this case:

  1. Download and fill in your application, but make sure you’re completing the correct form for your grant:
  2. Submit this form to the HDB during your apartment booking meeting.
  3. Bring all the necessary documents that support your application during this meeting.
  4. Don’t forget to bring along income proof:
    • Computerised payslips for the past 12 months, or:
    • Other documents that attest your income

Now you wait for the HDB to approve your grant.

If they do, you’ll get the funds directly transferred into your CPF Ordinary Account, just like we discussed above. That means you can’t convert it into cash and use it for other purposes.

So, who gets the money?

  • The eligible Singapore citizen(s) who applied
  • If you apply jointly with another couple, both couples will get half of that HDB grant
  • For multi-nuclei Singapore citizen applicants, the recipients are the two married applicants

How long does it take to receive your HDB grant?

The rule of thumb is that most HDB grant applications are reviewed and receive an answer within two weeks. However, this period depends on each case’s particular situation, so the best advice is to allow for a more extensive period.

What if you decide to sell that HDB property?

In this case, you’ll have to give back the HDB grant you received, plus 2.5% accrued interest. This sum is the same as the interest rate accumulated if the grant funds are deposited in your CPF OA instead of being used to purchase an apartment.

So, you should only sell an HDB property you bought with an HDB grant only if there’s no other way, for example, if you’re moving country or getting divorced.

In Conclusion

Obtaining an HDB grant would help your family afford a beautiful flat in Singapore. Considering that these apartments cost a king’s ransom, subsidies are more than welcome.

However, you must understand the application process, starting with the four HDB grants and their eligibility conditions.

Once you do all that research, the rest will seem like a breeze.

Alternatively, you can make your life even easier by contacting an agency that deals with these applications daily. They can check your current status, assess which grant would better suit your needs, and help you with the correct paperwork.

Moneykinetics is here to support you with research and additional loan applications. Read more here.

 

 

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