Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Why singles need more help with housing

I REFER to last Wednesday's letter, 'HDB clears the air: Singles do get benefits'. How will current HDB 'benefits' help singles get their first affordable flat, when even married couples who benefit from pro-family policies have problems buying an affordable flat due to rising costs?

Prices of resale flats have increased by at least 30 to 100 per cent (depending on flat location and flat size) since 2004, but the grant to singles remains $11,000. Is this stationary amount enough to offset ever-increasing prices?

Forming a family with parents to get a subsidised new flat is often not an option as many factors restrict this. For example, ageing parents may not be willing to move to a new environment, or a smaller flat. Also, the chance of getting a flat this way is only 5 per cent since 95 per cent of chances go to married couples.

If the subsidy on a new two-room flat included in the selling price is for a family of two, I am sure all singles would be willing to pay $11,000 (the grant they get on a resale flat) on top of the selling price.

Have HDB's pro-family policies really worked in encouraging marriage and having children? Is it not time to re-examine these policies and make changes to ensure that all citizens share the fruits of growth?

Source, Straits Times 30 December 2009

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