Helping singles should not be at the expense of married couples, says Khaw Boon Wan

Minister of National Development Khaw Boon Wan has said that his Ministry is contemplating possible restrictions on the plan to let singles buy new HDB flats. He added however that the move to help singles should not be at the “severe” expense of married couples. 

Based on current policy of the Housing and Development Board (HDB), singles above 35 years of age are only allowed to purchase public housing from the resale mark, not new flats direct from the HDB, which are cheaper.

Minister Khaw in his blog post said he has been receiving feedback from the public ever since Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced during his National Day rally speech that the government would actively look into the housing concerns of singles.

Some of the restrictions proposed by members of the public include:

– Barring singles from renting out the flats;
– 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.

Minister Khaw cautioned that these suggestions were still in the infancy stage. He also noted that property analysts have commented on the impact of such a policy on the resale market, in particular the “shoebox” market.  Earlier in the month, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) announced more stringent regulations regarding the shoebox private apartments in the suburbs in order to ease overcrowding concerns and encourage couples to have children.