Living closer: Journey between homes is too long

Living closer: Journey between homes is too long
Madam Arina Tan, a purchaser, with her husband Robin Lim, an engineer, and their daughter Luzanne. They are among the 20 young couples who attended a housing conversation held by the Ministry of National Development (MND) at the National Library on 14 June 2014.

SINGAPORE - They have just moved into a brand new four-room flat in Yishun, but they call it their weekend home.

Married for two years, with a little girl who is turning one soon, Madam Arina Tan, 29, a purchaser, spends the weekdays at her in-law's four-room Lakeside flat.

Her in-laws help watch the baby while she and her husband are at work.

The 50-minute journey on the MRT and bus from her in-laws' place to their home deters them from making the daily trip.

Her husband, Mr Robin Lim, 32, an engineer, said they had considered buying a Jurong East resale flat.

He said: "It is a developed estate, so prices were as high as $500,000 for a four-room flat. As a young couple, we couldn't fork out that amount of money."

They balloted four times for a flat, mostly in Boon Lay, but had no luck.

Eventually, they applied for Yishun in 2010 and were successful, paying $270,000 for their flat.

Before moving in, they were living with his parents.

Madam Tan said: "We have a new home, but it doesn't feel like it. It's troublesome because we have one set of clothes and baby necessities in each home."

The couple's experience has led them to suggest absolute priority when it comes to getting a flat near their parents, an idea that was supported by several participants in the housing conversation event.

INCREASE DURATION

During previous discussions with courting couples, most participants were against absolute priority because it gave children with parents living in mature estates an unfair advantage.

This time, a participant suggested that the absolute priority could be conditional, by increasing the minimum occupational period to 10 years to support those who genuinely wish to live near their parents.

For the young couple, they will continue living with the in-laws until their daughter gets older.

Madam Tan said: "Of course we thought of options such as childcare centres, but she still is too young. So for now, we have no choice but to stick to this arrangement."

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