No plan to up PPHS rental vouchers from $300 a month, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

No plan to up PPHS rental vouchers from $300 a month

The authorities currently have no plan to raise the $7,000 income cap under a scheme that provides temporary homes for families waiting for their Build-To-Order units, or the voucher amount to rent an HDB flat on the open market, said Second Minister for National Development Indranee Rajah.

But households with incomes above $7,000 a month that have additional expenses due to exceptional circumstances, such as high medical expenses, can approach the Housing Board for help, she told Parliament on April 2.

These will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Families with an unfinished flat from HDB’s sale exercises can apply for an interim rental home under the Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme (PPHS).

They also have the option to tap PPHS rental vouchers of $300 a month to offset rent for an HDB flat or bedroom on the open market from July 2024 to June 2025.

The initiative provides these families with more support as HDB works to double its supply of interim rental flats under the scheme from the 2,000 units now to 4,000 units by 2025.

Mr Louis Chua (Sengkang GRC), from the Workers’ Party, asked if the Government would consider raising the income ceiling for families who wish to use the rental voucher.

Ms Joan Pereira (Tanjong Pagar GRC), from the People’s Action Party, asked if the ministry would consider offering rental vouchers of more than $300 a month for lower-income households living in smaller flats.

Ms Indranee said the $7,000 income ceiling targets support at families with less disposable income to rent on the open market.

She added that the voucher amount was “carefully calibrated” to provide some relief for eligible families while mitigating its potential inflationary impact on the rental market.

Families will receive up to $3,600 if they qualify for the full year of support, and they can select an option – such as a whole flat or a bedroom – that suits their budget and needs, she noted.

Mr Chua then asked if the authorities would consider providing more help to families if rents continue to rise during the one-year period of the rental voucher scheme.

He noted that median rents for three- and four-room flats have gone up by about $600 to $1,600 a month since 2021, “which is considerably more than the $300 voucher given”.

In response, the minister reiterated that the $7,000 income cap is a measure to help lower-income families.

“If we didn’t have that cap, or if we increase that cap, you would have more people coming in and that would drive the rents up,” she said.

She added that lower-income households can benefit from the ramped-up supply of interim rental flats under the PPHS if they do not use the rental voucher.

Two-room flats under PPHS are priced for rent at around $400 to $550 a month, while three-room units are between $600 and $900.

“We will keep an eye on this. We will bear in mind those who are not able to afford,” she said.

Ms Indranee also said that public and private housing rents have showed signs of stabilising, with rents for three-, four- and five-room HDB flats on the open market rising by an average of 10 per cent in 2023.

In comparison, rents across these flat types surged by an average of 35 per cent in 2022 with the easing of Covid-19-pandemic-induced border restrictions and stronger rental demand from non-residents.

She said the authorities have rolled out measures to support households that need to rent, such as increasing the supply of public and private homes, and relaxing the rental occupancy cap for larger HDB flats and private properties.

SINGAPORE PARLIAMENTMinistry of National Developmenthdb