3,330 singles handed keys to BTO flats since 2013

Last year, an average of 5.9 single applicants vied for each two-room Housing Board flat, down from 57.5 applicants in June 2013.
Last year, an average of 5.9 single applicants vied for each two-room Housing Board flat, down from 57.5 applicants in June 2013.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Steady progress made in meeting the housing needs of singles aged 35 and above: HDB

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 a high 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."

A higher queue number means the applicant has a smaller chance of picking a flat, as others ahead might have snapped up available units.

However, later that year, the HDB invited her to select a two-room unit, which singles aged 35 and above have been able to buy since 2013, thanks to a rule change.

Ms Chan received her keys last December, making her one of 3,330 singles who had collected their keys to their BTO flats as of end-January, HDB revealed yesterday.

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

Before 2013, unmarried people could buy from only the resale and private markets, 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 single applicants vied for each new two-room HDB flat, down from 57.5 applicants in June 2013.

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

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

Ms Chan decided to buy 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 income for her mother too.

Punggol is ideal as 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. She 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.

"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 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.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 04, 2018, with the headline '3,330 singles handed keys to BTO flats since 2013'. Print Edition | Subscribe