The Straits Times
Published on Jan 23, 2013

Young couples planning to have children need housing help too


THE package of pro-family measures is aimed at boosting the birth rate. However, it may be better to focus the housing priority measures on childless couples planning to have babies, rather than parents with young children ("7,000 new flats for parents with young kids"; yesterday).

It is essential for a couple to have a home first before starting a family, and not the other way round.

Most young couples obtain their first flat through the Build-to-Order scheme.

It typically takes three years from the time of application to when the flat is ready, and that is only if the couple obtain the flat in the first ballot.

Suppose a couple marry in their late 20s, they would have a home only in their 30s - not at an ideal age for having babies as fertility starts to wane.

To encourage couples to have babies earlier, tweaks to the Parenthood Priority Scheme are needed, to enable young childless couples to get a house when their fertility levels are still high.

Perhaps they can be given priority for resale flats, with restrictions put in place to prevent abuse.

Leslie Lee Shuyang