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Latest HDB News: Interest Rate Announcements, New Flats Launched in February + Neighbourhood Centre Opening

Latest HDB News: Interest Rate Announcements, New Flats Launched in February + Neighbourhood Centre Opening

February was an eventful month for Singapore’s HDB. The Housing and Development Board made a number of key announcement that will impact both residential property owners and those who are currently seeking to buy an HDB flat.

3,739 New BTO Flats Launched

In February, the HDB launched 3,739 flats for sale, making both built-to-order (BTO) and re-offer balance flats (ROF) available.

This announcement makes the first tranche of 15,000 BTO flats available in 2019. The selection of apartments is pretty wide and these range from two-room to 3Gen flats.

BTO flats are spread across five projects. Three of the projects are in the non-mature towns of Sengkang and Jurong West. Another two are located in the mature developments of Whampoa and Kallang. All of the new flats come priced with a subsidy that takes into account location, attribute and the current market conditions. Such preferential options make HDB flats one of the most affordable housing options available to those seeking to buy.

Eligible first-time property owners can benefit from grants reaching up to 80,000 dollars. These consist of the Additional CPF Housing Grant (it can reach up to 40,000 dollars) and the Special CPF Housing Grant (also up to 40,000 dollars).

Depending on the residential property that they’re interested in, potential buyers who qualify for the grant may acquire an apartment for as little as 15,000 dollars for a two-room flexi flat. With the grant in hand, new residents will have more budget for their home interior design and renovation project!

The next BTO apartment launch will occur in May 2019. The offering will consist of 3,400 flats and more information will be provided via the HDB official website.

Interest Rates and HDB Mortgage Rates Announced

In a joint press release, the HDB and Central Provident Fund (CPF) board made an announcement about the interest rates and HDB mortgage rates for the period starting on April 1, 2019 and ending on June 30, 2019.

CPF members will continue earning interest rates of up to 3.5 per cent annually on ordinary account money and up to five per cent per year on special and MediSave accounts.

HDB also made an announcement about its mortgage rate. Luckily, the current Singapore HDB mortgage rate will remain unchanged for the second quarter of the year. The HDB mortgage rate is fixed at 2.6 per cent per year.

For more information about the changes, please take a look at the following announcement.

First New HDB Neighbourhood Centre Launched

HDB has started working on a new development that’s based on feedback received from the members of residential communities. This new development involves the construction of neighbourhood centres. The first one was opened in February in Punggol.

The neighbourhood mall is called Oasis Terraces and it creates additional community space for gatherings and social interactions. It is meant to address the needs of those living in the neighbourhood, as expressed in the community’s communication with HDB.

Feedback was first gathered in 2014 during the early planning stages of the project. Since the need for such community spaces seems to be high, HDB is working on additional neighbourhood centres at other locations.

The Oasis Terraces development brags family-friendly eateries, a supermarket that will remain open late, a 24/7 gym and various playgrounds.

As per a Ministry of National Development announcement, five more neighbourhood centres will be opened throughout Singapore in the coming three years.

In 2000, HDB allowed private companies to begin working on the development of neighbourhood centres. The opening of Oasis Terraces marks the board’s comeback to the niche. The decision to take over was made in 2015 since private construction companies were not keen on building community centres in new towns that had few residents.

Many to Benefit from Service and Conservancy Changes Rebates

Approximately 93,000 Singaporean households will qualify for and receive service and conservancy changes rebates (S&CC) this year, HDB announced. Qualifying households should be occupants of HDB flats.

In 2018, service and conservancy charges increased and the hike affected residential property owners, shops, offices and retail spaces under the HDB. A second round of fee hikes is expected to take effect in June 2019.

Based on the first hike, homeowners had to pay an additional sum of 0.5 to nine dollars per month (depending on the property’s specification). The cost for commercial and retail property owners is calculated per square metre per month. The increase is 0.09 to 0.27 dollars per square metre per month.

All sums collected this way are used locally for the improvement of HDB properties. The upgrades of HDB estates include cleaning, pest control, replacing old lifts and maintenance.

The Singaporean government now plans to allocate 132 million dollars on the allocation of S&CC rebates. Qualifying Singaporean households can receive a rebate in the range of 1.5 to 3.5 months of charges.

HDB Releases Q4 2018 Public Housing Data

Finally, the HDB has made public housing data for the final quarter of 2018 available.

The resale price index went down 0.2 per cent from 131.6 to 131.4 on a quarterly basis. The annual decline is set at 0.9 per cent.

Resale transactions decreased 20.2 per cent on a quarterly basis, from 7,063 transactions to 5,637 cases. An annual decline of 4.6 per cent was identified in 2018 in comparison to 2017 values.

As far as the HDB rental market goes, median rents varied by location and by type of property. For three-room HDB flats, the rental prices ranged from 1,400 dollars in Woodlands to 2,100 dollars for a Central town location.

For five-room flats, the lowest rent was set at 1,800 dollars in Woodlands and the maximum reached 2,800 dollars in Queenstown.

The number of approved rent applications increased 2.3 per cent on a quarterly basis – from 11,216 applications in Q3 to 11,479 applications in the fourth quarter of the year. As of December 31, 2018, the HDB registered 56,742 rented flats – an increase of 1.2 per cent over the third quarter of the year.

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