More 2-room flats to be made available to singles

Romesh Navaratnarajah11 Mar 2015

HDB flats

The government will roll out 4,000 two-room flats in 2015 and the quota for singles will be increased to 50 percent effective from the next Build-to-Order (BTO) exercise in May, according to National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan.

During yesterday’s parliamentary session, he announced that the housing board will also review its Studio Apartment Scheme, an initiative launched in 1998 which lets seniors rent a smaller flat with a 30-year lease.

This is because HDB is also offering two-room flats with a 99-year lease, so a proposal to provide similar units with varying lease periods would cater to different needs and better align both schemes.

In addition, the housing board is studying whether it can provide more help to couples who want to purchase a resale flat near their parents.

Mr Khaw said there are couples who have bought flats far from their parent’s home, but would like to be closer so that they can look after their ageing parents, or have someone to help them raise their children.

He also replied to several MPs who suggested that the qualifying income ceiling for new HDB flats should be raised or removed.

“We increased it in 2011. I do not think we want to lift the income ceiling completely because HDB flats are heavily subsidised and we should continue to target help at those who need help more. However, as income level rises, we must be prepared to adjust the income ceiling. Anyway, I have noted the MPs’ call and I will mull over it.”

Mr Khaw also revealed that his ministry is thinking of ways to help rental tenants, who no longer qualify for grants and have exhausted their housing privileges.

“Can we formulate a scheme which requires the family to make a serious commitment towards their children, for example, and in return we provide a small flat with shorter lease?

“Dr Maliki Osman has been hand-holding such families in his ward and has helped some graduate into homeowners. It requires intensive counselling and nudging. The test is how to ensure that they do not end up losing the third flat and returning to apply for another public rental flat again? This requires careful thinking through,” he added.


Romesh Navaratnarajah, Singapore Editor at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact him about this or other stories email


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