Two-room flats may not appeal to many singles

Two-room flats may not appeal to many singles

Going by the numbers alone, the next launch of two-room Housing Board flats in July could be massively over-subscribed as a result of the recent move to allow singles to buy the units.

Eight in 10 working singles - some 150,000 Singaporeans - are now eligible to buy the smaller flats, which make up only a small fraction of the units launched each year.

But property watchers and singles themselves also say many of those eligible may give the flats a wide berth because of their small sizes and far-flung locations.

National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan had said last Friday that the two-room flats for singles will come in two sizes - 375 sq ft and 485 sq ft - and be located in non-mature estates like Sengkang.

But Propnex Realty chief executive Mohamad Ismail pointed out that someone earning $5,000 - the income cap for singles who want to buy a Build-to-Order (BTO) flat - could get a mortgage loan for up to $350,000.

This would cover the price of three-room resale flats in most areas, he noted - big enough to entertain friends and host guests. Some singles agree.

Mr Desmond Goh, 37, for example, is eschewing the new flats.

"Two-room is out of the question as my parents want to be able to stay with me when they're older," said Mr Goh, who works in customer service. He is likely to hunt for a three-room flat on the resale market instead.

Ms Stacey Cheo, 34, who works for a non-profit organisation, said the flats for singles should also be located in mature, central estates.

"I think families would like to stay in residential estates like Pasir Ris where there is the beach and the park for children. It's singles who want to go to town more often," she said.

It is unclear how many two-room flats will be launched in July now that singles are eligible, but they have traditionally been in short supply from HDB.

Last year, out of 27,000 flats launched, only 424 were two- room units.

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