News: New CPF Rules Give Hope To Owners Of Older HDB Flats

May 13, 2019

With the new rules, Singaporeans will now have more flexibility in using their Central Provident Fund (CPF) when purchasing older properties.

The introduction of new rules on the use of Central Provident Fund (CPF) savings as well as Housing and Development Board (HDB) loan restrictions when acquiring a flat has given more hope to owners of ageing HDB flats who have been looking to sell their units for quite some time.

Lilian Wong, who has been looking for a buyer of her parents’ three-room flat at Jalan Bahagia since September 2018, revealed that some deals fell through as potential buyers were unable to use their CPF funds to finance the acquisition, reported Today Online.

This comes as the previous rules prevent buyers who are planning to purchase a flat with less than 60 years of lease from using the full amount of their CPF savings.

But with 50 years left on the lease of Wong’s parents’ unit, buyers aged 45 and older would enjoy flexibility in using their CPF savings in case they want to acquire the house under the new rules.

Although it is still too early to feel the new rules’ impact, Wong said: “For older folks who want to downgrade, hopefully this will mean that some buyers might turn around and say ‘maybe we want to think about it’.”

She noted that unlike earlier announcements like Home Improvement Programme (HIP) II and Voluntary Early Redevelopment Scheme (Vers) – which are still “in the air” – the new rules are “more tangible”.

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“This is in your hand, you know what you can do. To me, this is a plus,” said the 67-year old retiree.

Technical officer Tun Tun, who has been selling his three-room flat at Circuit Road since January last year for $280,000, believes the announcement of HIP II and Vers changed nothing.

“Not many people are interested in HIP 1 or HIP 2,” said the 64-year old, who has reduced his asking price for his flat, which has 50 years of lease left, to $250,000. This is lower than the $296,000 he paid when he bought it in 2011.

“I am losing a lot of money,” he said. “It’s more than one year. It’s very, very hard to sell. People who are interested have issue (in finalising the deal).”

Calvin Loh, who has been selling his three-room flat at Commonwealth for about four months, believes the new rules could “help in some way” even as the changes are “not significant” since they only benefit older buyers who could maximise their CPF usage and secure higher loans.

And while he acknowledge that at least the government is doing something, the 39-year old observed that he and his fellow neighbours who are planning to sell their ageing units are “still stuck” in this predicament.

“You know it’s bad already; a lot of people are not looking at these kind of old flats. Unless you sell below valuation,” added the showroom manager for kitchen fittings.

Find HDB flats for sale or read our HDB guides to make better-informed decisions. Can you afford an HDB flat? Check your affordability now. 

Fiona Ho, Digital Content Manager at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact her about this or other stories, email fiona@propertyguru.com.sg

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