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Affordable Housing

More Support For Rental Flat Dwellers To Become Homeowners

The new Homeownership Support Team will assist tenants in handling homeownership policies and processes.

Households living in HDB rental flats can look forward to getting stronger and personalised support from the Housing Board, which plans to create a team dedicated to helping such families become homeowners, reported Channel NewsAsia.

“We agree that public rental should only be temporary for tenants who are work-capable.” Hence, the government is increasing support to help tenants become homeowners, said Senior Parliamentary Secretary for National Development Sun Xueling on Tuesday (5 Mar).

To be established later this year, the Homeownership Support Team (HST) will assist tenants in handling homeownership policies and processes. The help on offer may include guiding them through the transaction, help in choosing a home that can meet their budget and needs, as well as monitoring cases to ensure households get their keys.

The support team aims to help 1,000 families in the next four to five years, said a HDB representative, adding that the agency currently counsels tenants to consider buying a flat instead of renting one when they renew their tenancy.

Moreover, Sun revealed that HDB gained a “better understanding” on how to provide better assistance to tenants thanks to the Fresh Start Housing Scheme, whereby families can obtain a grant of up to $35,000. Implemented in 2016, this programme assists second-timer rental families with kids purchase a two-room flat.

“We have learnt that having someone to consult, and more importantly, to provide the human touch, is important for our tenants.”

For example, some families needed advice on budgeting to be able to buy a flat, while others said they were grateful for the face-to-face support provided by the Fresh Start team.

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In February, Sun noted that 74 families enrolled in the scheme, of which five have already collected the keys to their flats.

“These numbers may seem small, but for those who benefit from the scheme, the help provided means a lot and we want them to succeed in their home ownership journey,” she explained.

Sun added that the number of rental households moving up the property ladder has increased steadily over the last few years, with around 1,300 rental households successfully levelling up to homeownership in 2018.

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