Connect with us


Minister Lee rejects PSP’s call to lower HDB age limit, warns of potential price surge

Minister Desmond Lee rejects PSP’s proposal to lower the age limit for singles to buy HDB flats to 28. He worries such changes without increasing flat supply could cause spikes in application rates and resale prices, posing challenges for aspiring homeowners.



On Tuesday (5 March), Hazel Poa, Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) from the Progress Singapore Party (PSP), made a recommendation to lower the age limit for singles to buy HDB flats to 28, allowing them to purchase new three-room flats.

This change aims to enable singles to own a flat before finding a partner, facilitating quicker family formation when they do find the right partner.

Alongside NCMP Leong Mun Wai, they reiterated PSP’s Millennium Apartments scheme and urged an increase in HDB flat supply.

However, National Development Minister Desmond Lee rejected the PSP proposal, emphasising the need to carefully balance the housing needs of various segments, including married couples, families, seniors, and singles, to ensure the stability and sustainability of the housing system

He cautions that implementing proposals without corresponding increases in flat supply could lead to spikes in application rates and resale prices, making it harder for people, including singles, to obtain flats.

As of now, singles in Singapore are required to be 35 years old or above to purchase a new flat from HDB or acquire one from the resale market.

Call for anticipating demand with advanced HDB flat construction

In the Committee of Supply Debate for the Ministry of National Development, Ms. Poa, also the Secretary-General of PSP, noted HDB’s annual construction of 20,000 BTO units, with only 2,000 to 3,000 being shorter waiting time flats.

She highlighted the downside of the BTO scheme, particularly the longer waiting times of four years or more.

She pointed out that young Singaporean parents marry later and often wish to have their own homes before starting families.

The extended waiting times, Ms Poa argued, negatively impact the total fertility rate (TFR) as fertility declines with age.

To address these issues and support parenthood, PSP proposed the Millennial Apartments Scheme, which offers interim rental housing to young people.

The PSP’s proposed Millennial Apartments Scheme involves the government maintaining a large stock of quality rental flats in prime locations near the Central Business District. These flats are intended for young families or groups of singles and would be leased out for 2 to 5 years.

Proposing a departure from the BTO approach, Ms Poa suggested building flats in advance to meet half of the projected annual demand based on marriage and immigration numbers. The aim is to reduce waiting times and encourage young couples to start families sooner.

She recommended lowering the age limit for singles to buy HDB flats to 28, allowing them to purchase new three-room flats.

“This way when they find the right partner, they can start the family immediately if they already own a flat.”

“Low TFR has troubled us for very long. The political will to implement major changes is needed if we really want to turn it around, ” she added.

NCMP Leong: PSP’s Millennium Apartments Scheme can be a game changer

Ms Poa’s colleague, NCMP Leong Mun Wai, reiterated the PSP’s call for the Millennium Apartments scheme to address the prolonged waiting times associated with BTOs.

He envisioned this scheme as a means to provide medium-term housing stability for young Singaporeans while awaiting their BTO flats or planning their long-term housing needs.

“The Millennium Apartment scheme is also a strategy to rejuvenate our central business district and mature estates by creating a vibrant young community in each of them.”

“In place of the Prime and Plus housing schemes, PSP recommends that affordable high-quality interim rental apartments be built at these locations to offer a broad range of young Singaporeans a chance to live in a prime area at least once in a lifetime. ”

Mr Leong hoped that the Millennium Apartments Scheme would be a game changer, relieving pressure on couples to secure a flat quickly and offering young Singaporeans more choices to fulfil their aspirations in terms of housing.

Minister Lee cautions against lowering age limit without corresponding flat supply, anticipates BTO price hike

In response, Minister Lee asserted that the government had already started planning for more flats with shorter waiting times of three years or less before the Covid-19 pandemic.

The government is now ramping up efforts to launch about 2,800 shorter waiting time flats in 2024, a year ahead of the original target, he said.

He also highlighted that recent launches have generally seen a decrease in waiting times, with more than 80% of BTO flats launched in February having a waiting time of three and a half years or less.

On PSP’s proposal to lower the age limit to allow singles to access public housing, Minister Lee explained that the government is already taking steps to allow singles to purchase two-room Flexi BTO flats islandwide, with plans to implement this in the second half of the year.

He assured that the government is working to increase flat supply to meet the anticipated demand resulting from these changes.

“If we had all the land and resources at this point to further expand singles access (to HDB application) even further, or for that matter expand access to other groups of Singaporeans, we would already have done so.”

“But we also have to meet growing demand from married couples, from families, from seniors and many other groups of Singaporeans.”

“If we were to adopt Ms Poa’s suggestions now without being able to increase our flat supply correspondingly, BTO application rates will spike and resale prices will soar.”

“Many people who want flats will not be able to get them including the singles whom she’s trying to help, ” Minister Lee cautioned, reiterating the government’s meticulous approach to housing policies, prioritizing stability and sustainability across diverse segments.

Minister Lee highlights land scarcity constraints

Following Minister Lee’s speech, Ms Poa sought clarification, acknowledging the annual effort to build 2,000 to 3,000 shorter waiting time flats.

She questioned the constraints preventing a further increase in housing supply to accommodate proposed changes.

Minister Lee acknowledged the call to ramp up supply but stressed the need for a balance among diverse population segments.

“Why can’t we have 50 per cent short awaiting time flats this year? I think the answer is quite simple, we have still to meet existing demand in addition to doing the catch-up for all the delayed flats as a result of Covid.”

He also highlighted the extensive lead time required for launching BTO projects, involving land preparation, dealing with prior land users, and various construction-related challenges.

He pointed out that every group, including singles, is subject to certain constraints such as age ceilings, income caps, nationality requirements, and household considerations.

Minister Lee highlighted the constraints Singapore faces as an island city-state, with 730 plus square kilometres and being one of the most densely populated sovereign city-states in the world.

The unique challenges of being an Island City state mean that all aspects of a fully functioning sovereign state, including housing and amenities, must be accommodated within the city, he added.

He emphasized the scarcity of large greenfield sites for building and the necessity to make use of infield sites, recycle land, and rejuvenate brownfield sites.

Minister Lee pointed out that despite these challenges, Singapore has been successful in achieving public housing for the masses.

“I make a call to members from both sides of the House to recognize that in Singapore, we are able to achieve public housing for the masses despite these tremendous limitations, ” he said.

“It requires long-term planning, discipline, give and take and also a sense that we all have our needs and we all also need to think of other groups of Singaporeans, especially the vulnerable ones.”

Share this post via:
Continue Reading
Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Seem like a local borned Single Singaporean need to live up to 35 years than can buy an hdb flat. Age is not the problem, the supply and demand of HDB flats is the blockage. To be fair, new citizens and PRs should wait for 35 years also.

Can Desmond Lee ensure Singaporeans are handcuffed to their flats with a shorter mortgage ie making flats more affordable?

I paid off my mortgage in 5 years for my first HDB flat which was the now defunct 4A rm. True that at that time the MOP was 10 years.

Presently, if a young couple can manage a 20-year mortgage; it would be an achievement but very likely in reality, it would be between 25 to 30-year mortgages.

DL, the first step to take is to reduce the demand for Public Housing by reducing the income level to $8000/- a month per household. The rest should be helped with financing to buy private property. The second step to take is to keep all new citizens away from Public Housing for ten years. If you can implement this two steps, there will be ample apartments available for rental and sale. I agree with PSP, that even the TFR may increase. A need for a flat should not have a criteria of age but income.

What is this millionaire clown talking about?

Are we not in the midst of a “price surge” in HDB flats? Both BTOs and Resale? Who is the one who has been restricting the supply of HDB flats since 2001 with the “BTO” scam?

From the very beginning, the “BTO” scam was to restrict the supply of HDB flats. I.e., To cause a surge in prices.

Singaporeans responded to the surge in prices by having fewer children (Just one now) and starting families later.


Raid the Reserve .