Most favour higher priority for families to live near parents: Poll

An ongoing survey by the Ministry of National Development (MND) showed yesterday that nine out of 10 Singaporeans support greater priority for those who apply to live in the same town - in both mature and non-mature estates. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIO
An ongoing survey by the Ministry of National Development (MND) showed yesterday that nine out of 10 Singaporeans support greater priority for those who apply to live in the same town - in both mature and non-mature estates. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

An overwhelming majority of Singaporeans polled are in favour of giving more perks to people who want to live with or near their parents.

An ongoing survey by the Ministry of National Development (MND) showed yesterday that nine out of 10 Singaporeans support greater priority for those who apply to live in the same town - in both mature and non-mature estates.

About eight out of 10 respondents also backed higher housing grants for those who live close to or with their parents.

The online questionnaire, which surveys Singaporeans on their preferred housing arrangements, commenced on May 25 and will end next month. Almost 2,000 people had responded as of yesterday.

Seventy-two per cent of 949 young Singaporeans polled said they would prefer to live close to their parents after they marry - whether next door or in the same block, neighbourhood or town.

Yet, 76 per cent of them plan to set up their own homes and not live with their parents.

Of these, 41 per cent cited "independence and privacy" as the chief factor behind this decision.

"I would prefer my first property to be away from my parents," said 24-year-old undergraduate Alan Tang. "There is something to be said about living independently and striking out on your own.

"Of course, as my parents get older or fall ill, I would naturally be more inclined to live under the same roof."

Army regular Lee Siang Ming and his wife chose to live with his in-laws in a four-room flat in Tampines so that they could help look after Mr Lee's nine-year-old son and seven-year-old daughter.

"We wanted someone we trust to take care of the kids," said the 29-year-old. "That way, we can feel at ease while we are at work."

Last month, National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan floated in a blog post several suggestions to encourage more Singaporeans to live with or near their parents.

These included giving "absolute priority" to those applying for Build-to-Order (BTO) flats in the same estate as their parents, which would do away with balloting for them, and even larger grants for first-timers who buy an HDB resale flat with or in the same estate as their parents.

Currently, those who opt to live with their parents or in the same estate get an extra $10,000 on top of the $30,000 grant for families.

Singaporeans also get double the ballot chances if they apply for a BTO or Sale of Balance flat near their parents or married children, and triple the chances if they apply to live in the same flat.

Meanwhile, up to 15 per cent of the studio apartment, two-room and three-room supply in a BTO project are set aside for parents who apply for flats in the same project as their married children.

In a bid to further consult Singaporeans on how housing policies can help extended families draw closer together, the MND has commissioned a door-to-door survey, which will quiz around 2,000 respondents over the next few months.

It is also organising a series of housing conversations this month to gauge the opinions of young couples, married couples and seniors.

Members of the public can sign up for these and fill out the online survey at www.mnd.gov.sg/ homesweethome

yeosamjo@sph.com.sg