Can S$1,000-a-month salary really afford to buy a HDB flat?
Minister of State for Manpower and National Development Tan Chuan-Jin on Friday evening took to Facebook to clarify the comment made by Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam in Parliament on Thursday.
In a Facebook note titled "Earn $1,000 a month and you want to buy a flat?!", Tan intended to clarify and break down the process that permits a household that earns a combined monthly income of $1,000 to purchase a two-room Housing and Development Board (HDB) flat.
Taking the example of a two-room Build-to-Order (BTO) flat in Fernvale Lea in Sengkang, that was offered in January this year, Tan took its selling price of $100,000, from a price range of between $83,000 and $112,000.
He said first-time applicants who earn $1,000 in combined monthly income qualify for the Additional CPF Housing Grant of up to $40,000, as well as the Special CPF Housing Grant of up to $20,000, which can be used for the down payment for the flat purchase. This will amount to offsetting $60,000 from the selling price.
With a loan from HDB for the remaining $40,000, Tan demonstrated the repayment as follows:
Taking a 30-year loan: $161 per month
Taking a 25-year loan: $182 per month
Taking a 20-year loan: $214 per month
He pointed out that for an income earner with a $1,000 monthly salary, he has $217 contributed monthly to his CPF Ordinary Account, which means that his monthly cash outlay will be $0.
"This support for families enable them to move from rental to owning their own homes," said Tan, who added that rentals for families with total monthly incomes of $1,000 come up to between $90 and $123 for a one-room, and between $123 and $165 monthly for a two-room flat.
Beyond that, Tan wrote that 4,300 two-room BTO flats that have been reserved for families that earn less than $2,000 per month were built since 2006, with more to come this year. He described the situation as "manageable", adding that the Ministry of National Development (MND) is increasing its building of rental flats, so that by this year there will be about 50,000 of them, cutting down waiting time for a rental flat from 21 to eight months.