Martin Lee @ Sg
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Singaporean Singles to be Allowed to Buy New HDB Flats

Minister Khaw Boon Wan had a busy day in Parliament answering many questions yesterday.

One of the issues bought up was housing for singles. It appears that Singaporean singles will be allowed to apply for BTO soon. However, the minimum age of 35 is likely to remain.

Ms Tan Su Shan asked the Minister for National Development over the past 10 years

(a) what is the number of singles between 35 and 40 years of age, buying flats from HDB directly;
(b) what percentage of such persons subsequently married, as compared with the same singles age group that did not purchase a flat or apartment; and
© whether the data shows that having one’s own home helps in settling down faster and, if so, whether the Minister will consider expediting the direct sale of Build-to-Order flats to them.

1. Singles cannot buy new flats from HDB by themselves. They can buy a resale flat if they are at least 35 years of age.

2. Over the past 10 years, 18,000 singles aged between 35 and 40 bought HDB resale flats. Of these, 3,800 (or 21%) got married subsequently. We do not have data on singles who did not purchase an HDB flat or a private apartment.

3. We are finalising our policy to allow singles to buy new HDB flats for the strict purpose of owner-occupation. We aim to get it implemented this year.

Er Dr Lee Bee Wah asked the Minister for National Development with the changing social environment where more Singaporeans are remaining single and not living with their parents: 

(a) if the Ministry will consider lowering the age requirement for singles to buy new flats; and
(b) if the Ministry will do a study to look into the housing needs of single Singaporeans between 25 and 34 years to help those who aspire to have their own homes.

1. Our public housing policy should support the Government’s pro-family social framework. Singles are part of a family unit, and are encouraged to live with their families for mutual care and support.

2. We allow singles to buy new HDB flats or resale flats from the age of 21, if they form a family nucleus with their parents to do so. If they wish to live on their own and are aged 35 and above, they can buy a resale HDB flat.

3. The minimum age of 35 supports our promotion of marriage and parenthood. We will be revising our policies to allow singles to buy new HDB flats with certain restrictions. However, there are no plans to lower the minimum age, as marriage rates are highest between the ages of 25 and 34.

There was also a barrage of questions on the Executive Condo (EC) scheme. It looks like the recent cooling measures have been well timed to answer all these questions.

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