Couple share same bedroom after two decades - thanks to 3Gen flat

Mr Wong Khai Beng (standing, far right), 55, with his parents - Mr Wong Chong Hwee, 83, and Madam Lai Su Lan, 77, - his wife, Madam Ooi Guat Yian, 55, and their children - Rou Xuan (standing second from left), 19, and Jia Yi, 22 - in their new three-
Mr Wong Khai Beng (standing, far right), 55, with his parents - Mr Wong Chong Hwee, 83, and Madam Lai Su Lan, 77, - his wife, Madam Ooi Guat Yian, 55, and their children - Rou Xuan (standing second from left), 19, and Jia Yi, 22 - in their new three-generation Housing Board flat in Buangkok Crescent.ST PHOTO: KHALID BABA

After almost two decades, Mr Wong Khai Beng finally got to share a bedroom with his wife, after moving in last week to their three-generation (3Gen) Housing Board flat in Buangkok Crescent.

The mechanical parts salesman, 55, had to share a room in his old Kovan four-room flat with his son, 22. His wife, 55, was in another room with their daughter, 19, while his parents, aged 83 and 77, took up the third room.

His new 115 sq m 3Gen flat comes with four bedrooms and three bathrooms, two of which are attached to the bedrooms.

"We can still take care of my parents, the kids get their own space, and I get to be with my wife," he laughed.

Such 3Gen flats, rolled out in 2013 for multi-generation families to live under one roof, have been popular, with eight in 10 such units booked, the HDB said in a statement yesterday.

Close to 1,500 of these 3Gen flats across 24 projects have been put up for sale as at the end of last year, about 400 more than at the end of 2016. They are a fraction of the some one million HDB flats in total.

Among the 1,100 flats that have been booked so far, 44 per cent were by first-timers while the rest were by second-timers.

WIN-WIN SOLUTION

We can still take care of my parents, the kids get their own space, and I get to be with my wife.

MR WONG KHAI BENG, whose new 115 sq m 3Gen flat comes with four bedrooms and three bathrooms, two of which are attached to the bedrooms.

They have been popular at four projects, where all 252 units across Saraca Breeze @ Yishun, Punggol BayView, Tampines GreenRidge and Tampines GreenVerge - launched between 2013 and 2016 - had a take-up rate of 100 per cent.

To be eligible for 3Gen flats, applicants must form a multi-generation family comprising at least a married or courting couple, and the parents of either spouse.

Though popular, not all 3Gen flats are taken up because they can only be sold to other eligible multi-generation families, said property analysts.

ZACD chief executive Nicholas Mak said the Proximity Housing Grant - which gives $20,000 to married children who live near or with their parents or vice versa - also "cannibalises demand".

The next batch of 3Gen flats will be offered in Yishun in the upcoming Build-To-Order exercise in May.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 15, 2018, with the headline 'Couple share same bedroom after two decades - thanks to 3Gen flat'. Print Edition | Subscribe