Ministry of National Development to review whether singles can buy flats direct from HDB

In Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s 2012 National Day Rally, he said the Ministry of National Development is looking into whether singles can be eligible to buy flats directly from the Housing and Development Board.

PM’s call for a review of housing policies for unmarried Singaporeans comes as a right time, as prices of resale flats have risen sharply, putting them out of reach for many singles.

The number of Singaporeans staying single has increased significantly in the last 10 years. In the 30-34 age group, 21.9% of women and 33.3% of men were singles in 2000. The figures showed a marked increase at 30.6% and 43.1% respectively.

Yet, the number of singles buying HDB resale flats has been declining over the past three years. In 2009, 4,569 singles bought resale flats under the Single Singapore Citizen (SSC) Scheme. This dropped to 3,972 people bought resale flats last year.

Since the SSC Scheme was introduced in 1991, it has been adjusted over time. At the start, singles could only buy three-room or smaller resale flats outside of the central area .In 2001, the location restriction was lifted. In 2004, the size restriction was lifted and singles could buy a flat of any size. Just last year, the income ceiling to qualify for the Singles Grant and HDB loan was raised from S$3,000 to S$5,000 and the grant quantum was also raised from S$11,000 to S$15,000.