SINGAPORE — Singapore will introduce a new classification of flats to replace the current framework of distinguishing new Housing Development Board (HDB) Build-To-Order (BTO) projects as either in Mature or Non-Mature Estates.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong revealed during his National Day Rally speech on Sunday (20 August) that the new framework of Standard, Plus and Prime flats will change the way HDB sells flats to Singaporeans, and will be rolled out for all new projects from the second half of 2024.
"In time to come, we will no longer refer to new projects as Mature and Non-Mature," he said during his English speech.
"Instead, we will build a good mix of projects within and across regions, to cater to different needs and budgets. And that is how we can fulfil our commitment to keep high-quality HDB flats accessible and affordable to you and your children."
Standard, Plus and Prime flats
HDB said in a media release on Sunday that the new classification system will differentiate BTO projects by their locational attributes:
Standard flats: Standard flats will come with the standard subsidies and standard restrictions that are applied to all BTO flats. They will continue to form the bulk of the housing supply.
Plus flats: This new category of flats will be in choicer locations within each region across Singapore - for example, BTO projects near MRT stations or the town centres. These flats will come with more subsidies and tighter restrictions, compared to the Standard BTO flats. Some examples of tighter restrictions include: a longer Minimum Occupation Period of 10 years to discourage those who may bethinking of flipping the property; a subsidy recovery applied on the resale price to take back the extra discounts; and an income ceiling on resale buyers to help moderate resale prices and help to maintain a better social mix.
Prime flats: These flats are in the choicest locations within Singapore, usually closer to the city centre. They will come with the most subsidies across the three categories, and will have the tightest conditions. These flats are currently offered under the Prime Location Public Housing Model.
PM Lee said that when the new framework is rolled out next year, singles will be able to buy two-room Flexi flats across all types of BTO projects – Standard, Plus, and Prime. This is a change from current policy whereby singles can only buy new 2-room Flexi flats in Non-Mature Estates.
They can continue to buy a Standard or Plus flat of any size or a a 2-room Prime flat in the resale market.
"More and more Singaporeans are choosing to be single. Singles too hope to own their homes, and have more housing choices. We hear your concerns," PM Lee said during the rally.
Government preparing to help seniors age well
With Singapore being one of the fastest-ageing nations in the world, PM Lee said the government is preparing to help the seniors age well.
In its Active Ageing initiative, the government has invested significantly in healthcare for seniors. Last month saw the launch of Healthier SG, which aims to get Singaporeans to take more responsibility for their own health, supported by family doctors and community partners.
The government will also do more to help seniors to stay engaged and socially active, by expanding the network of Active Ageing Centres in Singapore, and working with community partners to enhance the centres’ services and reach.
PM Lee added that the government will be making HDB homes and precincts more senior-friendly.
Seniors can soon choose from an expanded suite of fittings under the Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE) programme, such as foldable shower seats and widened toilet entrances if they are wheelchair-bound.
The government will also revamp streets and linkways frequented by seniors, as well as more therapeutic gardens, fitness trails, and exercise machines, to encourage seniors to stay active. Roads will be more pedestrian-friendly such as longer green-man signals, barrier-free ramps and raised zebra crossings.
More assisted-living facilities will also be built and improved, as PM Lee said, "We will keep making Singapore a more friendly home for current and future seniors...We will do this across Singapore, starting with the towns with more seniors like Ang Mo Kio and Bukit Merah."
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