SINGAPORE: New rules on buying homes using CPF or HDB housing loans will be introduced, that will focus on whether the remaining lease of the property can cover the buyer until at least age 95.
This was announced on Thursday (May 9) by the Ministry of National Development (MND) and Ministry of Manpower (MOM).
The changes, which apply to the purchase of HDB flats, private properties and executive condominiums, take effect on Friday.
Under the current rules, the amount of CPF allowed to be used is dependent on the remaining lease of the property. For instance, if there is at least 60 years left in the lease, a buyer can use the maximum CPF allowed to pay for the property.
If the property has less than 60 years left on its lease, a buyer is eligible to use CPF if his age plus the remaining lease is at least 80 years.
With the changes, the total amount of CPF that can be used will depend on whether the remaining lease can cover the youngest buyer until age 95.
If this criteria is met, a buyer can use CPF to pay for a property up to its valuation limit. If not, the use of CPF will be pro-rated.
No CPF can be used if the remaining lease is less than 20 years. This has been lowered from 30 years currently.
Most buyers will not be affected by the changes. About 98 per cent of HDB households and 99 per cent of private property families have a home which lasts them to 95 years and older, MND said.
UPDATES TO HDB HOUSING LOAN RULES
For those looking to take an HDB housing loan, buyers will be eligible to take the full 90 per cent Loan-to-Value limit, if the remaining lease can cover the youngest buyer to the age of 95.
This is even if the flat has less than 60 years left on its lease.
If the remaining lease cannot cover the buyer until age 95, they will be offered a loan on a pro-rated basis.
“These rules have to be updated to take into account the changing needs and higher life expectancy of Singaporeans,” said the ministries in a joint media release.
“Put together, these changes will give buyers more flexibility when buying a home for life while safeguarding their retirement adequacy.”
CHANGES TO CPF WITHDRAWAL RULES
There will also be changes to the CPF withdrawal rules after age 55.
CPF members who want to withdraw their CPF savings above the Basic Retirement Sum will need to have a property with a remaining lease to cover them until at least age 95.
This is to encourage CPF members to have “a home for life” and to secure a basic level of retirement income, said the ministries.
“This change is not expected to affect most CPF members, as all HDB flats and the vast majority of private properties have leases that can last a 55-year-old member until the age of 95,” they added.
Currently, CPF members above 55 years old can withdraw that CPF savings above the Basic Retirement Sum if they own a property with a remaining lease of at least 30 years.
The updated rules will apply to:
- HDB flats: Flat applications received on or after May 10, 2019
- Private properties and executive condominium units: Option to Purchase or Sales & Purchase Agreement signed on or after May 10, 2019
- CPF withdrawals: Applications received on or after May 10, 2019
Buyers who purchased properties before May 10 and are still servicing their housing loans will not be affected by these changes, according to the ministries.
Members who bought their property and turned 55 years old before May 10 can continue to apply to the CPF Board to withdraw their CPF savings above their Basic Retirement Sum under the previous rules.