Problems with increasing housing grant

I DISAGREE with the calls to increase the Higher-Tier Central Provident Fund Housing Grant for young couples who wish to buy a resale flat in mature estates so as to live close to their parents ("Buy resale flat near parents? Financial help is key: Experts"; last Tuesday).

There are problems with increasing the grant.

First, it could lead to a mentality among the younger generation that living close to their parents is an entitlement, and if they cannot live near them, then that is an excuse to not look after them.

Second, raising the grant would lead to an increase in property prices in mature estates, and could trigger a vicious circle where the Government constantly has to raise the grant for young couples as the property prices in mature estates keep rising.

A better idea would be to give the seniors incentives - not limited to monetary ones - to move out of mature estates to live near their married children in new estates.

When elderly couples move out of mature estates, it increases the supply of resale flats available in these estates, thus lowering the asking price of these units and making it more affordable for young couples who wish to live there.

Ultimately, young couples should not be encouraged to buy a flat in a mature estate where decades of the lease have already expired.

Singapore will face a major challenge in future when there are too many couples outliving their property lease because they bought a property with a shorter remaining lease.

Chan Yeow Chuan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 29, 2015, with the headline 'Problems with increasing housing grant'. Print Edition | Subscribe