Saturday, September 26, 2009

How family's fortunes have grown over years

THE letters lamenting how singles are being priced out of the HDB market and the call to ban cash over valuation (COV) arrangements are bemusing.

My family is an example of how HDB policies have helped us improve our standard of living and how gradual price increases have helped my family upgrade our housing status.

My parents have three children and over 40 years, our family of five has moved from a one-room flat to a three-room and finally to a four-room flat in Choa Chu Kang - a location that is not ideal for some people but has reasonably good amenities. Most important, it is a place my family can afford.

Although we started out with a small one-room flat, the price increases have helped our family upgrade the size of our home.

Unlike other countries, Singapore has a unique public housing policy where the Government not only helps most of us buy our first home, but also ensures that the increasing value of our property will enable us to upgrade to the next level when we are ready.

My brother recently applied successfully for a flat in the vicinity. Although his fiancee's parents live in the more popular Sengkang and of course she would like to live near them, they decided to apply for Choa Chu Kang because their chances of getting a flat would be higher.

When I got married eight years ago, I lived with my parents-in-law for a few good years before we bought our own place. Young couples these days complain they are being priced out of the HDB market. But it is their unrealistic expectations that have caused this.

Realistically, a young couple who want to start a family and own their own place should consider a tradeoff between the size of their first home, its location and the availability of new homes (especially in a mature estate).

Otherwise, there are other options like the rental market or living with their parents until they are ready to move out.

A word of advice to these young couples who plan to start their own families and move on to the next stage of their adult life: Instead of blaming others for not being able to own their own place (with the size and location they want), perhaps they should be more mature and realistic in their expectations.

In life, we must learn to adapt and not just live within our means, but also make the most of what we have.

Mabel Tan (Miss)

Source: Straits Times, 26 Sep 2009

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