All hail the HDB Proximity Housing Grant (PHG) – the government’s way of encouraging Singaporeans to live close to their families and maintain a robust intergenerational support system!
Here are the basics of the PHG: It is a CPF housing grant of up to S$30,000, and it’s for buying resale flats only.
Two types of buyers can benefit: Those who want to live WITH their parents/children in a HDB resale flat, and those who want to buy a HDB resale flat near their parents/children.
Not only does your flat get subsidised with the PHG, some perks to multi-generational living or living close to your family include having the option of frequent get-togethers, being able to help elderly parents with doctor’s visits and other needs, and peace of mind if you need an emergency babysitter close by.
A BRIEF BACKGROUND OF THE PHG
The PHG was launched in 2015 and has since helped over 30,000 households. In 2018, the criteria for the PHG was revised to allow more Singaporeans to benefit from this grant. It is now more inclusive and generous:
• More $: The maximum grant amount for those living with their parents/children in the same HDB flat is now S$30,000, up from S$20,000. Those living near their parents/children will receive S$20,000 in grants – this is unchanged.
• Singles welcome: The PHG is now available to singles buying an HDB resale flat. Previously, only married/engaged couples or family members buying a flat together could apply. Single applicants will receive half the grant amount that a couple would: S$10,000 if they live near their parents/children and S$15,000 if living with.
• Wider radius: The PHG is now available when buying a resale flat within a 4km radius of the family’s HDB flat or private property address. Previously, the maximum distance was a 2km radius or within the same HDB town – criteria that many buyers found limiting.*
WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR THE PHG?
• You are a Singapore Citizen aged 21 or above.
• For a family/couple nucleus, the other applicant must be a Singapore Permanent Resident or a Singapore Citizen.
• For singles, you must be 35 years old and above, applying under the Single Singapore Citizen Scheme, Joint Singles Scheme and Public Scheme.
• For those with a non-Singaporean spouse, as long as you are 21 or above and applying under the Non-Citizen Spouse Scheme, you are eligible, too.
• You must be buying a HDB resale flat. And the flat must be a 2-room flat or larger and have a remaining lease of at least 20 years. PHG isn’t for BTO flats!
• The house your parents/children are living in can be an HDB flat or private residential property (e.g. condo, landed home). For private properties, your parents/children must be living in it (i.e. owner-occupiers). The property must also be owned by your parents/children (which can include your children’s in-laws or immediate family member such as your sibling).
• There is no income ceiling on the PHG. Hurrah!
• Both first-time homebuyers and second-time homebuyers are eligible.
• You will only be able to receive the PHG once in your lifetime. If you have received the PHG previously, you may not apply.
HOW DO I CHECK IF A FLAT QUALIFIES FOR THE PHG?
HDB has set up a Distance Enquiry e-service that allows you to check if the HDB resale flat you have in mind is within 4km of your child’s/parent’s home. Simply key in the postal codes to both properties.
There’s also a search function in HDB’s Map Services. While looking at the housing information for a particular HDB address, you can select ‘Distance Enquiry for Proximity Housing Grant’ in the navigation menu to check which blocks of flats are included within a 4km radius.
The HDB Map Search doesn’t show you which units are currently for sale, so if you want this information, you can head to property portal 99.co, type in that home’s address or postal code and hit ‘Search’.
DO I HAVE TO RETURN OR PAY BACK THE PHG?
Yes. A misconception about CPF housing grants, including the PHG, is that they are free. Unless you plan to live in the same house forever – which is unlikely as most families grow or shrink over time – you’ll need to pay back the grants you accepted when you sell your flat.
This refund comprises the principal amount of grants you’ve received as well as an accrued interest of 2.5 per cent on the grant amount. Accrued interest is the amount of interest your grant could have earned if it had stayed in your OA untouched.
The money will be deposited into your CPF Ordinary Account (CPF-OA)*. And it comes out of the proceeds from selling your current flat.
However, the good news is that the amount returned into your CPF-OA may be used to buy your next home.
*Note that if you’ve also taken the AHG, SHG or EHG in addition to the PHG, only a maximum of S$60,000 from these grants will go back into your CPF-OA when you sell your flat. The excess will be distributed equally into your CPF Special Account and Medisave accounts.
AM I REALLY LIVING NEAR MY PARENTS?
Not all flats that are within 4km of each other are well connected. If travelling time between the two homes is an important consideration, narrow down your search for a HDB resale flat by using the Search By Travel Time feature on 99.co. Choose a travel time (which is via public transport) that you are comfortable with – say, 20 minutes. In the search results, you’ll see homes that are within a 20-minute bus or MRT ride away from your indicated address.
WHAT OTHER GRANTS MIGHT I BE ELIGIBLE FOR?
Other grants available for buyers of HDB resale flats include:
• Singles Grant: Those aged 35 and above may receive S$25,000 for 2- to 4-room flats and S$20,000 for 5-room flats.
• Enhanced CPF Housing Grant for Singles: Those aged 35 and above may receive grants from S$2,500 to S$40,000 based on their average monthly income.
For first-time applicants (Couples/Families)
• Enhanced CPF Housing Grant for Couple/Families: Applicants may receive grants from S$5,000 to S$80,000 based on their average household income.
• Family Grant: Married first-time applicants may receive grants from S$30,000 to S$50,000 based on size of flat and citizenship.
For second-time applicants
• Step-Up CPF Housing Grant: Second-timer applicants may receive a S$15,000 grant based on your current and future flat types.
For first-time and second-time couples
• Half-Housing Grant: Reserved for first-time applicants whose spouse/fiance previously received a housing subsidy. Applicants may receive S$25,000 for 2- to 4-room flats and S$20,000 for 5-room or bigger flats.
For newly-married singles
• Top-up Grant: Reserved for those who previously received a Single Grant but are now married, as well as those who previously received a Single Grant under the Non-Citizen Spouse Scheme but whose spouse is now a Singapore Citizen. The amount is dependent on how much you previously received.
This story first appeared on 99.co.