The Ministry of National Development recently announced that singles are now eligible to buy two-room flats directly from the Housing board. This is applicable to singles who are aged 35 and above and have monthly incomes capped at $5,000 (though newer reports indicate this cap may be changed in the coming weeks).
According to Khaw Boon Wan, Minister for National Development, the measure could be a game-changer for more than 80% of Singaporeans.
But will this really make flats more accessible?
First, we have to wait till 35 to buy the new flat. Then, don’t forget you still have to wait a few more years for it to be ready!
So technically you’re only getting your place when you’re 40 (or close to 40)…
Was the 35 the ideal cut-off age? Why not 25? Or 30?
35 seems to have been chosen because it’s the age when you’re well into your career, your revenue and your expenses are more stable, and you kind of have a clear idea of what you’re looking for in a long-term relationship.
But isn’t that kind of old to be single, signing up for a long-term loan, and flaunting a bachelor(ette) pad?
In our conservative culture, any 35-year-old singleton will be seen as “past the expiration date”, so by then the flat will mostly be good to house elderly parents or other relatives…
Plus, what if you’re single and you actually want a 3-room or a 4-room flat? And what if you want to live in a part of town that hasn’t been specifically designated by the policy?
Online, netizens have expressed their concerns over the lack of choice of flats: “I am a single and dying to have my own place but I will hesitate to jump right into it and settle for something we have not much say over, though affordable. I don’t think I am interested to live in those locations after living near the city centre for so long”.
According to another commenter, “(…) perhaps the minister should also include 3 rooms and in mature estate. That would be in line with what some wanted, a bigger flat to cater for visits of other family members and in proximity to their parents’ home. After all, a home is about family bonding”.
So will the new measures make singles prefer BTO flats over resale flats?
It’s too early to tell, but overall reactions to the initiative seem encouraging! Just think, maybe one day we’ll be able to own one of these babies: