On Wednesday (4 March), during the Committee of Supply 2020 Debate in Parliament, Member of Parliament (MP) Chong Kee Hiong for the Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC, said that the waiting time of 3 to 4 years for a Build-to-Order (BTO) flat is rather long, particularly for families with babies on the way.
Therefore, Mr Chong questioned if the Government would consider reducing the waiting time for BTO flats, especially for young families.
Also, Mr Chong queried if the Housing and Development Board (HDB) would consider selectively offering a higher proportion of bigger units, such as 5-room flats in new BTO projects in mature estates, to support Singapore’s pro-family policies.
“I have observed a recent Edusave Merit Bursary Awards in my constituency, that there seem to be more families with more children i.e three or more. These families usually have a domestic helper or live with grandparents, so extra rooms and more living space are needed,” said Mr Chong.
Additionally, he also asked about the take-up rate based on the launching of booking of flats by the Ministry of National Development (MND) last year.
Meanwhile, Nominated MP Mohamed Irshad posed a question to the MND on what more could be done to help home seekers access flats more quickly. The question was posed in light of the increased household income ceiling for subsidised flats by the MND last year.
Additionally, Mr Irshad questioned the open booking of flats by the MND and how it could better support the housing needs of single unwed parents and their children.
He asked, “Will there be a dedicated website to address housing queries from single unwed parents?”
The above questions raised during the supply debates this month come in the background of a speech made by Minister Lawrence Wong a year ago at the HDB Awards.
Minister Wong mentioned then that there would be an increase of the income ceiling from $14,000 for HDB to $16,000 for executive condominiums (ECs). This means that a section of those previously eligible to purchase executive condominiums would now be ineligible.
Similarly, the Minister had also announced that the income ceiling for singles would also be adjusted accordingly. To the minister, first-timers, therefore, would have access to affordable housing options and there would be an increase in home buyers and home buying options for Singaporeans.