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Jamus Lim spotlights HDB policy constraints for single Singaporeans’ BTO flat applications

In a recent Facebook update, Workers’ Party MP for Seng Kang GRC Asst Prof Jamus Lim highlighted the struggles of single Singaporeans securing BTO flats in light of existing policy.

Limited to studio or two-room units, those unable to list their parents might face housing dilemmas, either sharing tight quarters or opting for costlier resale options.



SINGAPORE: In a recent Facebook post, Associate Professor Jamus Lim, a Workers’ Party Member of Parliament representing Seng Kang GRC, shed light on the challenges encountered by single Singaporeans in securing BTO flats under the existing HDB policies.

On Monday (16 Oct), Assoc. Prof. Lim shared on Facebook a story relayed by one of his constituents, illustrating the obstacles faced by singles in Singapore, particularly in relation to public policy.

In addition to having to wait until the age of 35 to apply for a new flat, the constituent also highlighted the unintended repercussions of this policy for individuals who are caring for an elderly parent.

The Workers’ Party has previously voiced opposition to this policy, as they believe that most individuals would have already formed families by the age of 28, and the extended waiting period only renders many singles incapable of achieving independence.

Jamus Lim emphasized that since singles BTOs only permit a studio or two-room unit, individuals with parents (or a widowed parent) who, for various reasons, cannot be listed as co-applicants, must either share a cramped space or venture into the more expensive resale market.

“And were they to (perhaps understandably) pursue the purchase of a larger resale, they would often be excluded from many financial support schemes, on the basis of the higher valuation of their flat, despite not being in particularly great financial circumstances.”

Jamus Lim reiterated that as Singapore evolves into a high-income economy, it is becoming increasingly common for marriages to be delayed, implying that more and more singles might encounter similar challenging circumstances.

During the National Day Rally on 20 August, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced that Singles who are at least 35 years old will soon be able to apply for new two-room Housing Board flats in any location.

In a parliamentary session in September, Minister for National Development Desmond Lee confirmed that In response to the housing needs of singles and the elderly, the HDB will launch up to 14,000 two-room flexi flats over the next three years, representing a substantial 30% increase compared to the preceding three years.

Minister Lee also highlighted ongoing efforts to engage with singles regarding their housing preferences, including innovative housing typologies like co-living and intergenerational housing, which are currently under active consideration.

Sengkang MP Louis Chua previously advocated lowering BTO eligibility age for singles to 28

It is worth noting that Louis Chua, a colleague of Jamus Lim in Sengkang GRC, previously proposed allowing singles to apply for a Build-To-Order (BTO) Housing Board flat from the age of 28, as opposed to the current age of 35.

On September 13 last year, during his adjournment motion, Mr Chua highlighted that singles under 35 who desire homeownership face the challenge of either purchasing costly private properties or renting in the competitive open market, where they might be priced out.

“While it is abundantly clear that many Singaporeans who may be single for various reasons before the age of 35 would like to have a place of their own, many simply cannot afford to do so,” he said.

Additionally, Mr Chua emphasized that the existing policy has profound implications for the increasing number of singles under 35, potentially denying them the security of home ownership if they are unable to afford private housing or HDB rentals.

“More importantly, current policy signals to single Singaporeans that their marital status, whether by choice or due to factors beyond their control, is somehow viewed as undesirable and undeserving of Government support for home ownership,” he said.

He proposed the provision of Central Provident Fund housing grants to singles on a tiered scale if the eligibility age is lowered to 28, with grants starting at a reduced amount and progressively increasing up to 35.

In response, Senior Minister of State for National Development, Tan Kiat How, acknowledged that the government has expanded the range of housing options for singles over the years.

He pointed out that the quota of two-room flexi flats, specifically allocated for first-time applicants, including singles, has been increased.

He further highlighted that in the August 2022 BTO exercise, the allocation of non-senior two-room flexi flats for first-timer singles in non-mature estates was raised from 50 per cent to 65 per cent, previously having been increased from 30 per cent to 50 per cent in 2015.

SMS Tan at the time assured that the Ministry of National Development (MND) will continue to involve Singaporeans in discussions about their housing needs and aspirations as part of the Forward Singapore exercise.

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hahah . how many singles you knew got their BTO? for me. zero. i only knew one couple got a BTO in Sengkang after they married and have baby already…

Fact is, they need to bring people in from 3rd World countries to keep the HDB resale market prices stable or even going up higher.
Government need the funds to flow in.
They need to keep a balance, for PAP supporters as well. They know their people.

Then the New graduates, those ambitious & self entitled ones, some with elite uncaring face, must be catered too as well.

It’s quite an Art, but PAP, from my knowledge of world fucking history might fail miserably in managing this Act.

Hey, please don’t forget to vote Shanmugam out as well, lah.

Jamus, this PAP government is now upping the ante, by not providing HDB loans to opposition supporters.
They have a dodgy crew which is monitoring people’s activities & refusing our rights.
Please tell them, Singapore might disappear. My friends are Houdini’s.

Bidding and lottery then can bend the rules to give their favourites. Waiting list is fixed. Cannot slot in their favourite … Actually oso can. System they own …

Male Singaporeans served NS.
After NS, we need to compete with Immigrants for JOBS. Are all really TALENTS?
To make things worst, we need to SERVE Reservists for 13 years. Must pass IPPT.
Yet, immigrants can find ways to Apply for BIGGER and bigger HDBs!
What we really get in return as Singaporeans while PAP fooling us to justify their MULTI millions salary.
Singaporeans, are we all IDIOTS!!

The ruling government’s policies have always been full of holes. Their “pro-family” policies excludes most types of families. It is almost like they despise their voters, especially those that cannot afford to live in “private” properties like themselves.

But, this is exactly what the 70% voted for, is it not?

Last edited 8 months ago by Blankslate