Along with the hype has been much speculation over the reasons behind the changes, and many popular mainstream newspapers and sensationalist TV journalists are walking a very fine line in my mind. Given some of the outrageous accusations and speculations, I'm guessing that many of the people they've spoken to must be one-eyed sammyboy forummers looking for their 15-minutes of fame.
So to cut all to the chase, the purpose of this article is quite simply to outline the facts in relation to the policy changes - without the sensationalism, hype or borderline xenophobia... these are the facts only, my friends - sorry if you're disappointed.
POLICY CHANGE 1: OCCUPATION OF HDB RESALE FLATS
Previously, buyers of non-subsidised HDB resale apartments (via bank loan or cash) had to occupy their flat for at least 2-1/2 years before being permitted to sell again. Under the new rules, these buyers must now live in their flats for at least three years before being allowed to offload their property.
POLICY CHANGE 2: QUOTA OF PRs
This change has been getting more airplay than the others...
There are new quotas limiting the number of HDB apartments that can be sold to PRs (Permanent Residents). The limits are set at 5% of flats for HDB neighbourhoods and 8% for blocks.
These quotas do not include Malaysian PRs due to "close historical and cultural ties to Singapore".
In another shift, the Government has also drawn a clearer line between PRs and citizens in relation to housing benefits. Before, ALL Singaporean couples and couples where a citizen is married to a PR were able to buy a new flat at a subsidised price, or could apply for a housing grant for the purchase of a resale flat.
Now under the new policy, a 'mixed' citizen-PR couple will be required to pay a $10,000 premium at the time of purchase of a new flat. These mixed couples will also lose $10,000 off their housing grant if they buy a resale apartment.
However, the $10,000 will be refunded to the family if the PR family member becomes a citizen OR if the couple has a child who is declared a citizen of Singapore.
POLICY CHANGE 3: HDB CONCESSIONARY LOANS
Previously only HDB owners wanting to upgrade to bigger flat could get a HDB loan for a second time. Now, the policy is extended to 'Downgraders' wanting to buy smaller flats.