Feb 4, 2010 - PropertyGuru.com.sg
A 36-year-old Singaporean single lady by the name of Toh Siew Peng has written a letter to the Straits Times Forum, complaining about the discriminatory policies of the HDB against singles.
Qualifications for a housing loan and grant, as well as the chance to purchase new HDB flats are limited only to married Singaporean couples.
Singles will have to wait until they are above 35 years old before they can avail for flats in the resale market. However, permanent residents (PRs) are not subjected to a similar restriction.
In the letter, Ms. Toh claimed that she wrote to HDB five years ago, asking if she could purchase a flat at the age of 30, to which HDB allowed. However, she did not proceed with the purchase due to “unattractive conditions” as she did not qualify for the housing loan and grant from the HDB.
Now at 36, she tried to buy a flat under the singles scheme, but her application was rejected as her income exceeds $3,000.
She was upset that HDB “took the same circumstances into consideration” in permitting her to purchase a flat five years ago, but not now.
“HDB staff advised me to get a bank loan, but I cannot fork out the huge amount of cash upfront. The bank will loan me an amount equivalent to only two times my monthly salary,” she said.
“I feel that the HDB should increase the income ceiling. Five to 10 years ago, a three- or four-room HDB resale flat was priced from $150,000 to $250,000, but now the price has increased to $280,000 to $350,000. In addition, there is the $20,000 to $40,000 cash upfront.”
HDB flat prices, especially that of resale flats have increased in recent years due to rising demand fueled by immigration, and a limited supply of new flats.
Some Singaporean singles are left with no other choice but to compete with PRs in the resale market as they do not qualify to purchase new flats, which are to “encourage” Singaporeans to marry and start a family.
MM Lee Kuan Yew has admitted that the prices of properties have sky-rocketed as a result of foreigners and PRs.
“We’ve grown in the last five years by just importing labour. Now, the people feel uncomfortable, there are too many foreigners. Trains are overcrowded with foreigners, buses too; property prices have gone up because foreigners with permanent residency visas are buying into the market.”
Singaporean singles like Miss Toh will either have to wait till their parents pass away to inherit a roof over their heads or get married to buy a more affordable BTO flat.