3,300 singles handed keys to BTO homes since 2013: HDB

The HDB said that progress in meeting the housing needs of singles has been steady.
The HDB said that progress in meeting the housing needs of singles has been steady.PHOTO: HDB

SINGAPORE - When she received her queue number to buy a Build-to-Order (BTO) flat in Punggol, design consultant Felicia Chan did not think she stood much chance of getting one.

"It was quite a high number, considering the number of available units," said the 40-year-old, who applied for the flat in 2014. "I thought I wouldn't get it."

However, later that year, the Housing Board (HDB) invited her to select a two-room unit in the non-mature estate - a type of flat which single people aged over 35 have been able to buy since 2013, thanks to a rule change.

After a three-year wait, Ms Chan received her keys last December, making her one of 3,330 singles who had bought flats and collected their keys as of the end of January this year, the HDB revealed on Saturday (March 3).

The HDB said that progress in meeting the housing needs of singles has been steady.

Before 2013, unmarried people could buy from only the resale market, until the Government allowed singles aged 35 and above to apply for new HDB flats in non-mature estates.

Last year, an average of 5.9 applicants vied for each two-room HDB flat, down from the 57.5 applicants in June 2013.

"Over the last four years, the flat supply for two-room flats in non-mature estates has remained steady at an average of about 4,000 units per year," an HDB spokesman said.

About 12,200 singles have booked their new homes with the HDB.

Ms Chan said that she decided to get a flat because she wanted her own space.

She decided it was time to move out of her family home - a three-room flat in Ang Mo Kio - after her father died in 2013.

Renting out her room means more money for her mother too.

Punggol was a good location for her because it is not too far from Ang Mo Kio and Bishan, where her relatives live. "I can be there quickly for my family if anything happened," said Ms Chan, whose new flat is being renovated.

Ms Chan is paying about $80,000 for her new place, after HDB grants.

About 8,500 singles who applied for a new two-room unit benefited from the Additional Central Provident Fund (CPF) Housing Grant and/or the Special CPF Housing Grant between July 2013 and January this year, said an HDB spokesman.

"I was prepared to pay the whole sum, but HDB told me that I was eligible for the grants," Ms Chan said.

The spokesman said that the HDB will continue to monitor the demand and calibrate its supply of two-room flats to meet the housing needs of singles aged 35 and above.