If you missed the National Day Rally 2023 speech delivered last night (20 Aug 2023) by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, here are the 3 key HDB changes you absolutely need to know:
From H2 2024 onwards,
- BTO flats will no longer be classified by mature and non-mature estates, but instead by Standard, Plus, and Prime projects.
- Singles will be eligible to buy 2-room flexi flats in all locations, across all types of BTO projects under the new framework.
- A wider range of senior-friendly upgrades is to be done to existing HDB flats and towns under the new HDB improvement scheme, Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE) 2.0.
But what do these mean for you? Let’s break it down.
3 key HDB changes from National Day Rally 2023:
#1: New classification of BTO flats: Standard, Plus, and Prime projects
In his speech, PM Lee announced that a new classification system for public housing is necessary to keep homes affordable across all income groups, maintain a good social mix in every town, and keep the housing system fair for all.
With these objectives in mind, HDB introduced the new classification framework, which replaces the old classification of Singapore’s public housing as mature and non-mature estates. Moving forward, the new BTO projects will now be classified as “Standard”, “Plus” and “Prime” projects.
It is important to note that the new framework will only take effect in H2 2024, and existing flats or flats that have already been booked will not be affected by the changes.
What are the differences between Standard, Plus, and Prime BTO projects?
The new BTO categories are differentiated by location appeal, including proximity to transport links (MRT stations), nearby amenities such as malls, and distance to the city centre.
The Standard category remains largely unchanged, making up the bulk of the supply of new HDB flats which can be found islandwide and follows the standard MOP rule of 5 years.
On the other hand, Prime projects refer to new HDB flats under the existing Prime Location Public Housing (PLH) Model which took effect in Nov 2021. These flats are in the choicest, most central locations, and have tighter restrictions for buyers and sellers. We explain this in-depth here.
Lastly, the new Plus category for BTO projects, which will take effect from H2 2024, will be located in locations more attractive than the Standard projects – they will be placed near MRT stations, malls, and other favoured amenities by buyers — though they remain less central than Prime projects.
The main difference between the Plus and Prime projects is that there will be a lower subsidy recovery rate for Plus projects.
Additionally, the Government will gradually provide more housing grants, especially grants that are means-tested such as the Enhanced Housing Grant (EHG), in order to keep costs low while still providing maximum support to the lower- and middle-income households in Singapore.
#2: More housing options for Singles
Under the new BTO framework, eligible first-time singles who are at least 35 years old will be able to apply for two-room flexi BTO flats in any location, whereas before they were limited to BTO flats in non-mature estates.
From H2 2024, they will no longer be limited to these non-mature estates, which are usually further away from the city centre, and will now have islandwide options.
In the resale market, singles will also be granted access to Standard or Plus flats of any size, as well as two-room Prime flats.
#3: Senior-friendly upgrades to existing homes
By 2030, one in four Singaporeans will be a senior, aged 65 and above. To support the ageing population, HDB will introduce more features and upgrades in its precincts to promote fitness and active ageing, and to allow seniors to commute more safely and comfortably.
Under the Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE), or EASE 2.0, there will be wider options of fittings to accommodate seniors’ needs, such as foldable shower seats and widened toilet entrances for seniors who are wheelchair-bound, in addition to the current fittings of ramps at the entrance of their homes and grab bars in the toilets.
More shelters and rest points will also be built where seniors usually frequent, as well as more therapeutic gardens, fitness trials and exercise machines to encourage seniors to stay active.
Roads will have longer green man signals for seniors to have more time crossing the road, as well as barrier-free ramps and raised zebra crossings to assist wheelchair users for safety.
Community Care Apartments, which are built to include care services that can be tailored to suit the needs of the elderly residents, will include more launches as more seniors rely on community help and assisted living.
These major steps are to prepare for a super-aged society, says PM Lee, and is part of a new national programme called “Age Well SG”, to complement Healthier SG to improve the health of seniors.
How will any of these 3 key HDB changes affect you?
We will be covering these topics in more depth in the following days and will add them here as they are published.