Some restrictions on the plan to let singles buy new HDB flats are being studied by the government, Minister of National Development Khaw Boon Wan indicated on Saturday, as he acknowledged that the move to help singles should not be at the “severe” expense of married couples.
Addressing the issue on Saturday in his blog post, Khaw said he had received a lot of feedback after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced in his National Day rally speech that the government would actively look into the housing concerns of singles.
At the moment, singles above 35 years of age are only allowed to purchase resale flats, not new HDB flats.
Some of the “sound” restrictions proposed by members of the public on allowing singles to buy HDB flats directly from the government housing board included:
- barring singles from renting out the flat
- imposing a rule stating that if two singles with two BTO flats subsequently get married, one of the flats should be sold
- differentiating the subsidies received by a single and a married couple
- setting a shorter lease and longer minimum occupation period
- putting the threshold rate for singles wanting to purchase BTO flats higher than 35 years old
These suggestions, however, are still in its infant stage, said Khaw, who noted that property analysts have commented on the impact of such a policy on the resale market, in particular the “shoebox” market.
On Tuesday, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) announced restrictions on the growth of "shoebox" private apartments in the suburbs in order to ease overcrowding concerns and encourage couples to have children.
In his post, Khaw also urged singles to be patient with him as he said he has to first focus on settling the needs of the second-timed married couples.