10-year minimum occupancy period for new flat owners in prime areas: HDB

·Editorial Team
·2 min read
Aerial view of the Greater Southern Waterfront, where there are plans to launch public housing. (IMAGE: Urban Redevelopment Authority)
Aerial view of the Greater Southern Waterfront, where there are plans to launch public housing. (IMAGE: Urban Redevelopment Authority)

SINGAPORE — Those purchasing flats in prime and central locations, such as the city centre and surrounding areas, will be required to occupy their units for at least a decade before they can be sold on in the open market, said the Housing Development Board (HDB) on Wednesday (27 October). 

In addition, these owners will not be allowed to rent out the entire flat, even after the minimum occupancy period (MOP), and cannot invest in private property for 10 years. While the government will provide enhanced subsidies to homeowners for these flats, it will claw back the money if the flats are eventually sold given the high land costs in these locations. 

Furthermore, the government will limit the profile of those eligible to buy such flats in the resale market. 

For example, buyers are subject to a $14,000 household income ceiling, while at least one of them must be Singaporean. Singles aged 35 and above will not be allowed to purchase such flats.

INFOGRAPHIC: Housing Development Board
INFOGRAPHIC: Housing Development Board

The measures are part of the new Prime Location Public Housing (PLH) model in a bid to deter speculative demand. "Given the prime locations and additional subsidies provided for PLH flats, there is a need to safeguard them for Singaporeans with genuine housing needs and strengthen the owner-occupation intent," said HDB.

"Without the eligibility conditions, the resale prices of these prime location flats may rise beyond the reach of many Singaporeans; and over time only the better-off can afford to buy them."

The announcement comes amid a surge in demand for certain HDB resale flats, with a number of them sold above $1 million and located in the city centre.

INFOGRAPHIC: Housing Development Board
INFOGRAPHIC: Housing Development Board

Public rental flats will also be built at these sites, where feasible, for lower income households. According to HDB, this will ensure that public housing is kept inclusive and diverse across Singapore.

The new policies were announced following extensive public engagement with diverse groups of Singaporeans. Between November 2020 and September 2021, more than 7,500 Singaporeans, including first-time homebuyers, existing homeowners, industry experts and academics shared their views on the new model. 

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