Question: Wilfred, when I bought a BTO (Build-To-Order) unit with my husband in June 2010, our purchase price was $10,000 more than the ‘normal’ price. It seems it is because I am not a Singapore citizen. I became a Singapore citizen in June 2011 but HDB/CPF refuse to refund this extra $10,000 to us! What is this? HELP!!
Answer: You are referring to the policy introduced in 5 March 2010. Under that policy, HDB withholds $10,000 of the housing subsidy when a Singapore Citizen / Singapore PR household buys a subsidized flat. For a new flat, it is in the form of a premium of $10,000 for purchase of a HDB flat directly from HDB. For resale flat, it is in the form of withholding $10,000 from the CPF Housing Grant. However, you can get the ‘refund’ or Citizen Top-Up of $10,000 upon becoming a Singapore citizen. This is to encourage Permanent Residents to become citizens. However, application must be submitted to the HDB within 6 months after obtaining Singapore Citizenship. Also, if the flat is sold, you will not be eligible to get the Citizen Top-up.
It appears that for your case, you only apply for the Citizen Top-Up after 6 months (2 years to be precise). Perhaps you can appeal (since appealing is free). However, this highlights the importance of financial planning. Most people are like you – you do not do any systematic form of financial planning. Also, as it can be seen that financial planning can be quite complicated and thus the need to have a professional financial planner.
Disclaimers: All persons / characters appearing in this Q&A are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
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