10 May 2011, 12.53PM
I would like to make the suggestion that perhaps we should review the age limit for singles to purchase HDB flats. It is unfair to penalise single Singaporeans by disallowing them to purchase HDB flats until they are 35. First, it seems unfair that we are putting PRs over Singaporeans by allowing PRs to purchase HDB flats when singles can't, at least not till they are 35, even if the PRs have to first form a family unit. Shouldn't the needs of citizens be considered first over that of foreigners? I personally don't see why foreigners should be allowed to purchase HDB flats at all, unless they have decided to give up their foreign citizenship and decide to live here as Singaporeans.
Second, singles do contribute more to the economy in terms of taxes as they are unable to enjoy many of the tax breaks given to married couples. Hence, I believe single Singaporeans should be allowed to enjoy the subsidies given to married couples and be allowed to purchase BTO flats as well. I also think that the income ceiling to qualify for an HDB loan should be reviewed as $3000 is an unrealistic limit. Given the high cost of living and housing here as a result of the government's policies to attract foreigners to grow the economy, I think all Singaporeans, and not just married couples, should be given some help. So far, the needs of Singaporean singles have been largely ignored, although this is now a sizeable demographic of the Singapore population.
Third, given the government's view of the HDB flat as a wealth accumulation asset for Singaporeans to benefit from the growth of the economy and the government's monetary policy of using exchange rate and not interest rate to curb inflation, singles are not only unable to accumulate wealth because they can't purchase a HDB flat while their married peers are able to do so and profit from it. They are also heavily penalised because they can't buy BTO flats, which are subsidised and instead have to purchase from the resale market where flat prices are marked up or even worse, pay exorbitant prices for a private condominium. This is especially difficult for the average single as the price points for such resale flats and private condominiums are quite out of reach for a single income holder. I also believe that allowing singles to purchase BTO flats will help to build a sense of loyalty and help these group of Singaporeans to feel more rooted in Singapore instead of feeling ignored as a demographic. I strongly urge the government to look into the needs of this group of Singaporeans as we are citizens after all. Who knows, allowing singles to own their flats might help to indirectly boost the fertility rate in Singapore as singles might settle down more quickly, as their needs are taken care of and they now enjoy more freedom away from their parents. I think we should keep up with the times and not expect single Singaporeans to live with their parents forever or discriminate against them with the age limit, because frankly speaking, at today's cost of living, it is incredibly difficult for singles to even afford a HDB flat from the resale market.