At MND's Committee of Supply debate today, Minister for National Development Mr Lawrence Wong announced measures to make housing more affordable and accessible for young couples, to further support them in their marriage and parenthood journey.

Shorter waiting time for some BTO flats

2 To help young couples get their first homes earlier, HDB will offer Build-To-Order (BTO) flats in some projects with shorter waiting time. The first batch, comprising 1,000 units in non-mature estates, will be launched in 2018. The construction of these BTO projects will commence ahead of their launches. As a result, their waiting time will be reduced by 1 year, from about 3 to 4 years today to 2.5 years.

3 First-time home buyers will enjoy greater priority on these flats. At least 95% of the 4-room and larger flat types will be set aside for first-timer families, as they are the preferred options for most of these families. This is a 10%-point increase from the current quota of 85% in the non-mature estates.

Quicker access to balance flats

4 Balance flats offered under the Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) exercise, currently held twice-yearly, are popular among first-time home buyers as these flats are closer to completion or already completed. To enable those with more urgent housing needs and are less particular about location to have quicker access to a flat, HDB will introduce a new sales mode for unsold balance flats. Unsold flats that remain after SBF exercises will be offered for sale at regular intervals via ballot, with priority given to first-timer households.

5 HDB will offer these flats for balloting in one common pool, instead of separate selection queues for each town and flat type. HDB will launch the first such exercise in the second half of this year. More details will be announced nearer the date.

Shorter resale transaction process

6 A resale transaction currently takes about 16 weeks to complete, and requires two appointments with HDB. HDB will leverage technology and make the resale transaction process faster and more streamlined. Details will be announced by the end of the year.

Lower rents for Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme

7 HDB currently provides an affordable rental housing option, through the Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme (PPHS), for first-timer families who prefer to live on their own while waiting for their new HDB flats to be completed. To date, about 2,000 families have benefitted from PPHS, and more than 400 babies have been born to families living in PPHS flats. More details on the PPHS are in Annex A.

8 To further help these families, HDB will lower the PPHS monthly rents by $200 to $400, depending on the flat-type and location. The revised rents will be about or less than half of market rents. These families can save more than $1,000 a month by renting a PPHS flat instead of a flat in the open market.

9 The revised rents will take effect from 1 April 2017 for both new applicants and existing PPHS tenants1. Benefitting households will be informed of their revised rents by the end of this month. Further details on the revised rents are in Annex B.

10 More information on the PPHS is available on the HDB InfoWEB. For enquiries, members of the public can contact HDB at:

a) E-mail: hdbrental@hdb.gov.sg

b) Branch Service Line: 1800 - 2255432 (Weekdays: 8.00am - 5.00pm)

Source: Housing & Development Board