Married couple's ideas for housing

Married couple's ideas for housing

SINGAPORE - A new quota for Build-to-Order (BTO) flats and extending grants to second-timers purchasing resale flats close to their parents - these were some of the ideas floated by married couples at a housing dialogue yesterday at the National Library.

The first idea, where a certain number of BTO flats will be set aside for couples who buy with or near their parents, surfaced as a more palatable alternative to giving them "absolute priority".

The idea of "absolute priority", which was first floated by National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan in a blog post last month, would do away with balloting for those who buy BTO flats in the same Housing Board estate as their parents. This guarantees them a flat.

Some participants at the dialogue felt that this would make it unfair for others who do not have parents already living in their choice estate.

Instead, setting aside a quota would not only give those who want to be close to their parents a better chance of securing a flat, but would also not deny others an opportunity to get a flat.

Health-care administrator Kristen Guo and her husband managed to secure a BTO flat in Bedok close to his parents, but the couple feel that the system should be fair and not overly prioritise living close to one's family.

"What about those who don't want to be close to their parents?" said Ms Guo, 28.

Yesterday's dialogue was the second of three Housing Conversations this month organised by the Ministry of National Development to engage Singaporeans on the topic of how housing policies can help draw families closer together.

The participants, aged 26 to 48, comprised 13 married couples and another 10 who came without their spouses. The first session on June 7 featured young courting couples.

Yesterday, the older married couples also discussed the idea of extending a resale flat housing grant for living with or close to one's parents to second-timers.

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