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Housing conversation: Courting couples say absolute priority a no-go

Those applying for a public flat in the same estate as their parents should not receive absolute priority, said 20 courting couples attending a discussion on public housing.

SINGAPORE: Those applying for a public flat in the same estate as their parents should not receive absolute priority, said 20 courting couples.

This is despite them saying that they wished to stay near their parents, who are currently living in non-mature estates.

The couples (aged between 22 and 34) were attending a discussion on public housing organised by the National Development Ministry on Saturday.

Key reasons cited by the participants preferring to live apart from their parents included the desire for privacy and to avoid conflicts.

But they also want to live near enough to parents, for support.

Participant Ding Ming Wei said: "As young couples, when you started out, marriage is a huge cost. You spend a lot on your renovation and also on your wedding.

"So I think if you stay near parents, you can have some financial support. So for example, some of the nights, my parents can stay with me, or I can stay with my parents, so we can cut costs such as electricity and meal costs.

"The savings may not be very significant, but I think when you start out, it is good to save when you can."

Other reasons cited included support in bringing up children and a shorter travelling time required to visit parents.

Participants also said parents' health and mobility could be some of the reasons why they may move in with their parents.

But outweighing the desire to live near their parents is the opportunity to stay in a mature estate.

More than half of the participants currently live in a non-mature estate.

And most of them said they do not agree to giving absolute priority to those who apply for a flat in the same estate as their parents, although they agree that more ballot chances should be given to these applicants.

Participant Geraldine Wong said: "The resale value of a flat in the mature estates is substantially higher than those in the non-mature estates. So in giving absolute priority to those whose parents live in a mature estate, it is unfair to those whose parents are not (living) in a mature estate."

Senior Minister of State for National Development Lee Yi Shyan said: "The policies as they are, already favour children living with their parents. The question is how far more we want to tilt the incentive system. But our whole intent is really to support family formation, to support intergenerational support."

Two other sessions will be held in the following weeks.

They will involve married couples with young children or no children, and seniors with children above the age of 21.

Those who wish to take part in the discussions can sign up at http://www.mnd.gov.sg/homesweethome. 

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