More HDB help for couples, parents to live close by

Couples and their parents who want to live close to each other will get more help from the Government starting next week.

Up to a third of new flats will be set aside for first-time applicants under the enhanced Married Child Priority Scheme, the Housing Board said yesterday.

Those applying for new flats for the second time will be allocated up to 15 per cent of Build-To- Order (BTO) flats and Sale of Balance Flats.

Previously, those who applied to live with or near their parents received extra ballot chances.

But the latest change will offer them "significantly higher chances of success", said HDB.

The scheme benefits flat applicants who want to live with or close to their parents or their married children.

In addition, two groups will be given priority and shortlisted ahead of other applicants under this scheme.

One group are parents and married children who apply to live under one roof.

The other group are parents who own flats in mature estates and apply for BTO flats near their married children in non-mature estates.

About a quarter of flat applicants at each sales exercise apply under the scheme, said HDB.

The quota will kick in next week, when HDB puts up for sale 4,277 BTO flats in Sembawang, Sengkang, Tampines and Yishun, as well as 3,000 Sale of Balance Flats.

Ms Nicole Tan, 23, and her boyfriend, Mr Zheng Bin, 27, who intend to apply for a five-room Tampines North BTO flat next week, were elated with the news.

Said Ms Tan, who is unemployed and whose parents live in Tampines: "We have been trying for a flat seven times since January last year.

"Hopefully this will be our lucky break."

This move from a chance-based to quota-based priority system follows the Ministry of National Development's discussions in June which sought public feedback on how housing policies could draw families closer together.

Among the ideas discussed then were absolute priority for couples applying for BTO flats in the same estate as their parents and building more three-generation flats.

MP for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC Zainal Sapari believes that the quota will be popular with young couples, as it encourages them to live near their parents, and facilitates childcare and eldercare.

"This might also encourage couples to procreate. Some defer having a child because they can't live close to their parents," he said.

This article was first published on Nov 22, 2014. Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to for more stories.