HDB may exercise flexibility on age requirement for LBS

HDB may exercise flexibility on the age requirement for LBS for those with long term medical expenses, Minister for National Development assures in Parliament

Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong assured the House on Sep 2 that the Housing and Development Board (HDB) will be willing to exercise flexibility on the age requirement for the Lease Buyback Scheme (LBS) for those with long term medical expenses. The Minister was responding to an MP who had asked if “the Government will consider lowering the minimum age requirement for the HDB Lease Buyback Scheme for flat owners who need long-term medical treatment for chronic illnesses.”

In responding to the MP, Mr Wong said:

“The qualifying age for LBS is set at the CPF Payout Eligibility Age of 65 to allow seniors to receive their monthly CPF payouts immediately after they take up the LBS. Nevertheless, HDB is prepared to and has exercised flexibility on the age requirement for those with long term medical expenses.”

In thanking the MP for his feedback, Mr Wong said that his Ministry will take it into consideration as it continues to review its schemes.

The Minister for National Development, Lawrence Wong, announced in August last year that the LBS will be extended to all HDB flats, including 5-room and larger flats. Writing in his blog, the Minister said that the Lease Buyback Scheme “is a good scheme but it only applies to those living in 4-room or smaller HDB flats” at the moment.

Mr Wong said: “The original thinking was that it would make more sense for those living in bigger flats to right-size. But there are seniors who prefer to age in place. Some also have grandchildren who come over to visit regularly, and would like a bigger space for the extended family.”

Adding: “After considering the matter carefully, I have decided to extend the LBS to all HDB flats, including 5-room and larger flats. This will enable many more Singaporeans to benefit from the scheme.”

At the moment, you are eligible for the Lease Buyback Scheme or LBS as an additional monetisation option if you are from an elderly household living in a 4-room or smaller flat. Through this scheme, you will be able to tap on your flat to receive a stream of income in your retirement years, while continuing to live in it.

You can sell part of your flat’s lease to HDB and choose to retain the length of lease based on the age of the youngest owner. The proceeds from selling part of your flat’s lease will be used to top up your CPF Retirement Account (RA). You can then use your CPF RA savings to purchase a CPF LIFE plan, which will provide you with a monthly income for life.

In order for your household to qualify for the LBS, the following conditions must be met:

Criteria Eligibility
Age All owners must have reached the eligibility age (currently set at age 65) or older
Citizenship At least one owner must be a Singapore Citizen
Income Gross monthly household income of $12,000 or less
Flat type currently 4-room or smaller
Property Ownership No concurrent ownership of second property
Minimum Occupation Period All owners have been living in the flat for at least 5 years
Minimum Lease At least 20 years of lease to sell to HDB

How the LBS Works as illustrated by HDB:

If your household is eligible for the LBS, you will be able to:

  • Sell the tail-end lease of your 3-room or smaller flat, or 4-room flat to HDB, and receive up to $20,000 or $10,000 of LBS bonus, respectively
  • Use the net proceeds to top-up your CPF Retirement Account (RA) to the specified requirements as shown:

For households with 1 owner, he or she will have to use the proceeds to top-up the RA to the current age-adjusted Full Retirement Sum (FRS).

For households with 2 or more owners, each owner will have to use their share of the proceeds to top-up their RA to the current age-adjusted Basic Retirement Sum (BRS).

Flat Owner’s Age
Top-up Requirement for 1 Owner
Top-up Requirement for 2 or more Owners
Eligibility Age (currently 65) – 69
70 – 79
80 and above

Determining the LBS bonus

Your household will receive the full bonus as long as the total top-up to the flat owners’ RA is $60,000 or more. If you are unable to do so, you will receive a pro-rated bonus of:

  • $1 for every $3 CPF top-up for 3-room or smaller flats; or
  • $1 for every $6 CPF top-up for 4-room flats

Amounts in excess

After you have topped-up the RA to the requirements stated above, any excess proceeds can be withdrawn in cash, up to a maximum of $100,000. If your household has more than $100,000 of proceeds after the top-ups, owners will have to use their share of the proceeds to further top-up their respective RAs to the current FRS after your household has retained $100,000 in cash.


Your full RA savings will be used to buy a CPF LIFE plan if you have at least $60,000 in your RA after the top-up. You will not be eligible to join CPF LIFE if you are aged 80 and above.

Options for lease period

Your household will have the flexibility to choose the length of lease to be retained, based on the age of the youngest owner. The duration of the lease retained determines the amount of net proceeds unlocked.

Age of Youngest Owner
Lease Retained
Other Options
Eligibility Age (currently 65) – 69
70 – 74
30, 35
75 – 79
25, 30, 35
80 and above
20, 25, 30, 35

Illustrating an example

Joint Singapore Citizen (SC) Owners aged 65 years old


  • 4-room flat held under joint tenancy
  • No outstanding loan
  • Balance lease: 65 years
  • Market value: $450,000
  • Choose to keep a 30-year lease
  • Sell the tail-end 35-year lease to HDB for $190,000
Initial Retirement  Account (RA) Balance
Current Age-Adjusted Basic Retirement Sum (BRS)


In his blog entry, the Minister said that he is looking at ways to improve the liquidity of the resale market for older flats in order to facilitate “right-sizing”. “Currently, CPF can be used for the purchase of older HDB flats but subject to certain restrictions,” he said.

Adding: “These rules are meant to ensure that buyers purchase a home for life, without compromising their retirement savings.

Mr Wong said his ministry is working with the CPF Board to review and update rules to provide more flexibility for buyers of shorter-lease flats while safeguarding their retirement adequacy.

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Written by Ravi Chandran

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