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SINGAPORE: After National Development Minister Desmond Lee said that the government is studying better access to housing for singles, Workers’ Party MP Louis Chua (Sengkang GRC) reiterated the call to lower the eligibility age for singles to 28 years, an issue he raised in Parliament last year.

Mr Lee said on Jul 30 (Sunday) that different housing types in mature and non-mature estates, as well as at prime locations, will be studied, along with ideas that would help address concerns over affordability, such as “rent-to-own” models or shorter leases when buying property, The Straits Times reported.

Posting a screenshot of the report on Facebook early on Tuesday morning (Aug 1), Mr Chua wrote that he was glad to hear about this update of more equitable access to housing for singles. He called it “essentially the crux of my adjournment motion in Parliament late last year, titled ‘Ensuring the housing needs of singles and Singaporeans are met’.”

However, he again urged that the age of eligibility for Build to Order houses for singles be lowered to 28 from 35, where it is at present, and expressed the hope that this will be seriously considered.

He added, “I also spoke about how a ‘Rent-To-Own’ or ‘Rent-To-Buy’ scheme as seen in other parts of the world could be adapted in Singapore…to which SMS Sim Ann remarked that ‘it is not clear how Rent-To-Buy is better for the aspiring Singapore home owner’.”

Therefore, Mr Chua wrote that he is “thus heartened” to read that Minister Desmond Lee is now considering the rent-to-own model to “address affordability concerns,” and ended his post by expressing that “For the sake of our fellow Singaporeans, single or otherwise, I do hope these discussions come to fruition!”

On Sunday, the National Development Minister said, “We continuously identify where the social compact lies. It is very clear that our society is evolving. People are getting married later, having fewer, if any, children, and more are remaining single. We are also seeing increasing transnational families. These are the trends that are here to stay… but we must get a feel of the pulse and make adjustments along the way.”

Mr Lee spoke to around 90 participants in the ongoing Forward Singapore exercise regarding housing needs and aspirations, The Straits Times said. /TISG

WP MP Louis Chua makes case for lowering BTO eligibility age to 28 for singles, but says ‘most pressing issue’ is supply & availability of homes

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