The following News Highlights covers the two topics:

i) Housing Measures

ii) Helping Singaporean- Foreign couples better plan for their future



a. Helping families live closer to each other


1. As part of the government’s commitment to help families who wish to live closer to each other, the government will be adopting suggestions that came up during the recent Housing Conversations on “Closer Families, Stronger Ties”.

2. BTO exercises in future will set aside a proportion of new flats for families who want to live with, or close by.

i. First priority will be given to those who are applying to live together.

ii. First priority will also be given to parents who own a flat in a mature estate, and are applying for a flat in a non-mature estate to live near their married child.

3. These measures will take effect at the next

BTO launch in November 2014.


b. Slowing down supply of BTOs

1. Over the last 3 years, HDB has ramped up the supply of BTO flats (77,000 units). Efforts have effectively cleared waiting queues especially for first timers.

2. Now that the housing market is stabilising, the government will need to slow down to prevent an oversupply in the public housing market.

3. After studying BTO application rates carefully to ensure demand continues to be met, the government will:

i. Further reduce the number of BTO flats launched by 25% in 2015 (16,000 units). In 2014, the number of BTO flats was already reduced by 10% (22,400 units).

ii. BTO exercises will be launched every quarter (ie 4 times a year), instead of every other month (ie 6 times a year). The launch size will be kept at 4,000 units to ensure a good spread so that buyers continue to have choices.

4. These measures will take effect in 2015.


For more information on Housing Measures:



1. Over the years, there have been more marriages between Singaporeans and foreigners.

i. In 2013, 3 in 10 marriages were between a Singaporean and a non-resident.

2. To help these prospective couples better plan for the future and build the foundation for a strong marriage, the government will:

i. Revise the Long Term Visit Pass process to provide greater clarity prior to marriage, on whether foreign spouses can qualify for a long term stay in Singapore;

ii. Introduce Marriage Preparation and Support programmes to help these couples better integrate into the local community; and

iii. Make it easier for foreign spouses to boost family finances and seek employment in Singapore.

3. Please see annex A for more details on new measures.


The following News Highlights covers the two topics:

i)                    Staggered downpayment for right-sizing to 2-Room or 3-Room flats; and

ii)                   Population In Brief report 2014



At the latest Build-To-Order (BTO) launch on Wednesday, 24 September 2014, HDB announced that existing flat owners who right-size to a new 2-room or 3-room flat in a non-mature estate/town will be able to enjoy the Staggered Downpayment Scheme, where they pay half the downpayment for the new flat.


The following are the main details of the Staggered Downpayment Scheme.


1.       HDB flat owners who wish to right-size to a 2-room or 3-room BTO/Sale of Balance flat will now only need to pay half of the downpayment when they sign the Agreement for Lease


a.         A 5% downpayment to be paid upfront for HDB loan cases or those who do not need a loan, down from the existing 10%.

b.        A 10% downpayment to be paid upfront for loans taken from financial institutions (regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore), down from the existing 20%.

2.       They only need to pay the other half of the downpayment together with the balance purchase price of the new flat when the new flat is ready and they collect the keys.

3.       This will help HDB flat owners who want to right-size but cannot pay the full downpayment because their funds are tied up in the existing flat.

4.       Who are eligible for the Staggered Downpayment Scheme?

a.         They have applied to buy a 2-room or 3-room flat in Build-To-Order/Sale of Balance Flat exercises from September 2014 onwards (The next Sale of Balance Flats exercise is in November 2014);

b.        The new flat is in a non-mature estate; and

c.         They have not sold their existing flat (or the sale of the existing flat has not been legally completed) when they apply for a new flat.

5.       Flat owners do not need to apply for the Staggered Downpayment Scheme. The HDB will automatically extend it to those who are eligible.

More information on the Staggered Downpayment Scheme:




The National Population and Talent Division released its annual publication Population in Brief report on Thursday, 25 September 2014. The report provides relevant information on Singapore’s population landscape and contains a collation of key population indicators and demographic trends.


The following highlights the main findings of the report:


1.       Overall:

a.         Slowest population growth in the last decade (1.3%).

b.        As of June 2014, Singapore’s total population was 5.47 million

2.       Citizen/PR population:

a.         Citizen population grew by 0.9% while PR population remained stable.

b.        Our citizen population continues to age – percentage aged 65 and above higher than last year.

c.         Ethnic profile of citizen population remains stable.

d.        Fewer Singaporeans are getting married, and having children. Our total fertility rate dipped from 1.29 in 2012 (Dragon Year) to 1.19 in 2013 across all ethnic groups.

3.       Non-resident population: (This group is not here for good – It is made up of foreign workers, employment pass (EP) holders, students – and depends on the state of our economy)


a.         Growth of this group slowed – mainly due to concrete steps taken to slow foreign workforce growth to a more sustainable pace.

b.        Bulk of foreign employment growth was in construction – to support infrastructure projects (building homes, MRT projects and hospitals).


4.       Businesses will face a tight labour market as we restructure the economy.

a.         Singapore remains business friendly.

b.        Government programmes are helping businesses to become more productive and rely less on foreign workers.

c.         Businesses can grow and succeed here, and create quality jobs for Singaporeans.

To download the full report: