Confused about HDB grants? Answer these 5 simple questions, to find out exactly how many and how much HDB grants you are eligible for.
Confused about what kind of grants you can get for your HDB flat? So was I. As a 26-year old Singaporean about to get married and planning to buy a BTO (Build-To-Order) unit in a non-mature estate, I had to first find out the different types of HDB grants available as my options. After which, I was redirected to individual pages to find out more about each HBB grant, i.e. what it entails and how to qualify for it.
I realised it wasn’t easy to navigate the HDB website if you have a tonne of questions, and you’re looking for all answers at a glance. I decided to take the matter into my own hands.
The purpose of this article is to help soon-to-be Singaporeans like you and me to maximise the grants you can receive from the HDB without having to read through countless pages of policy names, and terms and conditions.
Table of contents:
- Basics of HDB housing grants
- 5 Questions to determine how many (and how much) HDB grants you are eligible for
- Translating your answers to the 5 questions into HDB grants
- Summary of HDB grants for 4 Singapore couples
Basics of HDB housing grants
What are HDB housing grants and how do they work?
Also known as CPF housing grants, these are given to help lower- and middle-income Singaporeans afford a home of their own. Do bear in mind that these housing grants are not given in the form of a cheque or cash transferred to your preferred bank account. Instead, they are credited directly to your CPF Ordinary Account (CPF-OA) after you’ve booked a flat, to only be used for the purchase of your flat.
How are HDB housing grants calculated?
There are three main HDB housing grants, and these are calculated based on your level of income, size of the resale flat, and the number of occupants under one roof.
Enhanced Housing Grant (EHG): This is calculated based on your average income for the last 12 months. For singles, it’s based on your personal income level and, for couples, the combined household income is considered.
Family Grant (FG): This is calculated based on size of resale flat. The bigger the resale unit you purchase, the more grant money you will receive.
Proximity Housing Grant (PHG): This is calculated based on distance to your parents’ place and/or planning to live together. Staying closer to your parents has its benefits, especially if they’re old or you have children they give company to. So, if you choose to purchase a resale flat located within 4km of your parents’ place, you will automatically qualify for this grant. In addition, those who purchase a flat with the intention of living with their parents stand to receive an additional $10,000 in PHG grants.
Do you need to return HDB housing grants when you sell the flat?
In one word, yes.
You will have to return all HDB housing grant money that you’ve received with interest to your CPF-OA. This is pegged to the prevailing CPF-OA interest rate, which currently stands at 2.5% p.a.
For example, if you’ve received $30,000 in HDB housing grant money when purchasing your HDB flat, you will have to return the full $30,000 and accrued interest of 2.5% when you sell your property. This amount will directly go into your CPF-OA; neither HDB nor CPF will benefit in any way from this.
A lot of people choose not to take any HDB housing grants due to the repayment factor, but here’s a thought to ponder over. Without this additional $30,000 at the time of purchase, you would have to take a larger housing loan, which translates to paying more for interest and higher monthly repayments.
5 questions to determine how many (and how much) HDB housing grants you are eligible for
To simplify how HDB grants work, all you need to do is to focus on the following 5 questions. Assuming you’re a Singaporean or Permanent Resident, and either engaged or married, by simply answering these 5 questions, you can determine the number of HDB grants you qualify for.
Here are the 5 questions you need to answer:
- Are you looking to purchase a HDB or an Executive Condominium (EC)?
- What’s your average monthly household income over the past 12 months?
- What’s the size of your flat (e.g. 4-room, 5-room)?
- Are you planning to buy a HDB BTO or resale flat? BTOs are cheaper but you have to go through the ballot process and wait 3 to 4 years for it to be built. Resale flats are more expensive but are immediately available.
- If it’s a resale flat, does the lease cover till the youngest co-owner until 95 years old?
- Do you stay within a 4km radius from your parents?
Translating your answers to the 5 questions into HDB grants
Here’s how your answer to these 5 questions translate into the relevant grants for you.
(Note: I have included a table in this article with different personas of couples that will explain the HDB grants in detail, each suited to them.)
1. Enhanced Housing Grant (EHG)
Qualifying criteria: Average monthly household income for last 12 months
Potential grant amount: $5,000 to $80,000
In the past, grants like the Special Housing Grant would only be available to you if you are applying for a flat in a non-mature estate that is 4-room or smaller. With the latest change in the HDB grants, that is no longer a factor. The only factor now is your average monthly household income for the last 12 months. This alone will determine the amount of grant money you can receive from the Enhanced Housing Grant (see below).
2. Family Grant (FG)
Qualifying criterion: Size of HDB resale flat
Potential grant amount: $40,000 or $50,000
Over the years, the price of resale flats have been rising, especially in mature estates where amenities are aplenty. To help Singaporeans who are considering resale flats, the FG was introduced. You stand to receive either $40,000 (5-room or bigger) or $50,000 (4-room or smaller) in grant money depending on the size of your flat.
The only caveat to this grant is that you need to ensure that the remaining lease on the resale flat covers the youngest co-owner till they are aged 95.
3. Proximity Housing Grant (PHG)
Qualifying criterion: Resale flat has to be within 4km from parents’ home, or planning to live with parents
Potential grant amount: $20,000 or $30,000
Living close to your parents not only makes visiting or caring for them more convenient, but this would also allow you to be eligible for the PHG. The eligibility criteria is straight forward, stay within a 4km radius from your parents and you will be eligible for a $20,000 PHG grant. And if your entire family decides to purchase a resale flat and live together, you will receive an additional $10,000 in PHG money.
Unlike most grants, PHG does not have an income ceiling (yay!) and the amount of grant money isn’t pegged to your average household income. Having said that, do note that you’re only allowed to receive PHG once in your lifetime and the resale flat has to have at least 20 years remaining on its lease.
Unsure if you qualify for this? Use HDB’s handy PHG tool to check your eligibility.
Summary of HDB grants for 4 Singapore couples
Couple A: $6,000 combined household income, eyeing a 4-room resale flat near parents
Benjamin and Emma are married, in their late 20s, and have been trying for their BTO since they graduated from university. Unfortunately, luck hasn’t been on their side. They have now shifted their attention to the resale market for a unit near their parents. Luckily for them, they are entitled to $105,000 worth of grants to help them buy their resale flat.
Couple B: $8,000 household income, eyeing 5-room resale flat near parents
Kevin and Eileen are married, in their mid-30s and earn a combined monthly income of $8,000. They are first-time owners, looking for a 5-room HDB resale flat that will allow them to live with their parents. Thanks to HDB grants, Kevin and Eileen can expect $85,000 in grants to help them defray the high cost of a large resale flat.
Couple C: $4,000 household income, eyeing 3-room resale flat away from parents
John and Mary are engaged, in their mid-20s and have a baby on the way. They have a combined household income of $4,000, are first-time owners looking to start a family in a small and cosy HDB. Unfortunately, there aren’t any suitable 3-room resale flats near their parents for them to qualify for the PHG. But even without the PHG, John and Mary can look forward to $100,000 worth of grants.
Couple D: $5,000 household income, eyeing 4-room BTO flat away from parents
James and Jean are fresh graduates who have just entered the workforce, newly engaged and earning a combined income of $5,000. They are willing to wait for 3 to 4 years for a new HDB flat and have applied for a BTO flat in the upcoming BTO release. Given they are applying for a BTO and will not be staying near their parents, they are only eligible for EHG.
Just applied for the latest HDB BTO launch and shopping for a low interest rate home loan to finance your dream home? Use our simple-to-use comparison tool below to find out what are the housing loan options and promotions currently available.
Read these next:
Step-By-Step Guide To Buying Your Very First HDB BTO In Singapore
HDB BTO Launches In 2020
How Much Do You Need To Buy Your First Home In Singapore?
HDB BTO, SBF Or Resale: Which Should You Pick?
What Type of HDB Flats Can Single Singaporeans Buy?
By Si Jie Lim
Most people think personal finance is dry, boring and full of confusing jargon. But the fact is it can be simple and interesting. That’s why Si Jie is passionate about turning personal finance into an easy and fun topic that everyone can relate to.