Saturday, March 27, 2010

Property ownership a priority

WHEN financial adviser Hu Yaoqian heard of the policy changes, she felt elated. It meant that her decision to apply for citizenship last October was right.

The 26-year-old permanent resident (PR), who came to Singapore to study in 2003, says she realised the benefits of becoming a Singaporean when she learnt about housing policies here.

As a citizen, she would qualify for a $20,000 grant to buy an HDB resale flat. Moreover, a citizen would enjoy subsidised rates for upgrading schemes compared to a PR who has to pay the full cost.

Her software engineer husband, who is her high school sweetheart from China, came to Singapore in 2008 and is also a PR. The couple are hoping to buy a four-room or five-room flat in the Bishan or Serangoon area.

In Ms Hu's line of work, she meets middle-income Chinese, who are mostly PRs typically around age 30 and married with young children.

Where government policy is concerned, she says, 'their only consideration is property' as their children are not old enough to go to school, and their health insurance covers medical fees.

Ms Hu notes that property ownership is a typical Chinese priority.

She says Singapore's PR system is still better than China's household registration or hukou system, which denies rural migrants access to employment, housing, cheap education and health care in the cities.

Source: Straits Times, 27 Mar 2010

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