Flexi scheme ensures diverse mix

Studio, 2-room HDB flats sold under the scheme will appeal to young and old: Khaw

The new Two-Room Flexi housing scheme will lead to a "more inclusive" arrangement, with young and old living in the same block, said National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan yesterday.

This is one of the benefits of the programme, which groups studio apartments and two-room flats in the same category and sells them under the same scheme, he added.

"The buyers will be diverse - there will be some elderly people, younger people; some may be getting married, others may be married, and then there are those with kids," Mr Khaw said in Mandarin, during a dialogue organised by Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao.

Attended by 45 Zaobao readers, the two-hour session at the Singapore Press Holdings News Centre in Toa Payoh included small-group discussions on the new housing scheme.

Mr Khaw noted that having an entire block of studio apartments occupied by elderly people - as is the current practice - may not be good for their mental outlook.

The plan to group studio apartments and two-room flats together in a scheme that will offer buyers different lease periods was first mentioned during the Budget in March. Last month, Mr Khaw said buyers will be restricted to certain lease lengths based on age.

Mr Khaw said yesterday that the Two-Room Flexi scheme should be ready by the next Build-To-Order sales exercise in September.

Currently, studio apartments have a 30-year lease and are for people aged at least 55 who have sold a previous flat to fund their retirement; two-room flats have a 99-year lease and are for families or singles.

Both flat types come in 36 sq m or 45 sq m sizes, but because of their shorter lease, studio apartments are cheaper.

Madam Foo Twe Heng, 75, a retiree, is considering downgrading from a five-room flat to a two-room unit, but hesitates to move to a new estate.

"I've been living in my Toa Payoh flat for 40 years and I'm very close to my neighbours," she explained.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 26, 2015, with the headline 'Flexi scheme ensures diverse mix'. Print Edition | Subscribe