Why It Matters

Helping singles care for parents

For the first time, singles aged 35 and older who want to have their own space but still live near their parents will get extra help in the form of a $10,000 grant.

Previously, this group had to live with their parents to tap the Proximity Housing Grant.

With the change, announced on Monday at the Budget, the Government has killed two birds with one stone.

First, it is likely to relieve demand for new two-room Housing Board units - the only Build-to-Order (BTO) flat type singles aged 35 and older can apply for - which has seen high application rates. The new $10,000 grant, coupled with other first-timer grants, could have them turn to the resale market instead. This also means singles can get a flat in mature estates, where many elderly people live. Otherwise, singles can buy only BTOs in non-mature estates.

Second, the move could encourage singles already looking for a home of their own to consider a flat near their parents. This acknowledges their role as an integral part of the caregiving network in an ageing Singapore. It is an inclusive step, which recognises that families take different forms - not just parents and their married children.

The Government is also increasing the Proximity Housing Grant amount by 50 per cent for those who want to buy resale homes to live with their parents. Singles will now get $15,000, while married children will get $30,000. Again, it is another measure on the Government's part to encourage families to provide the first line of caregiving - and what better way to do so than by living together.

The higher grants, which kicked in on Monday, can help such families buy a bigger flat on the resale market, which might be useful, given the size of BTO flats these days.

It also complements existing measures that help Singaporeans buy an HDB flat to live with or near their parents, such as the four-bedroom, three-bathroom multi-generation flats.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 22, 2018, with the headline 'Helping singles care for parents'. Print Edition | Subscribe