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Most young Singaporeans want to live with or near parents after marriage: MND survey

Incentives for elderly parents who want to move to non-mature estates to be nearer to their children could be one way to help extended families live nearer to one another, said MND Minister Khaw Boon Wan. 

SINGAPORE: In a door-to-door survey commissioned by the Ministry of National Development (MND), the majority of young unmarried Singaporean respondents said they planned to live with or near their parents after marriage.

However, among Singaporeans who are married, only 35 per cent of the respondents currently live with their parents, and a mere 28 per cent with their own, separate homes live in the same town as their parents or nearer.

INCENTIVES ON THE CARDS?

Following the release of the survey results, MND Minister Khaw Boon Wan acknowledged in a blog post that “there is room for us to do more to help extended families live nearer”. 

At a discussion on housing on Tuesday (July 15), he had responded positively to a participant's suggestion that priority be given to seniors who are willing to move to non-mature estates to be closer to their children. "If some parents are quite prepared to leave their comfortable surroundings in the mature estates to move to a non-mature estate, I think we should try to facilitate and even reward them for moving out." 

MP Lee Bee Wah, who is Chairman for the Government Parliamentary Committee for National Development, said one way to help seniors willing to make this move is to provide a grant for those interested in buying a HDB resale flat. Absolute priority could also be considered for those those interested in new Build-To-Order flats.

"When I post this question on Facebook, there are quite a lot of my friends who share with me the difficulties of their relatives who want to live near their children, but could not get the flat. That means they balloted unsuccessfully," she said. "So if it is new BTO, we can consider giving them absolute priority. If they were to go for a new BTO flat they will know that if they were to choose a new BTO flat they will definitely get a flat."

Some 2,000 Singaporeans were surveyed in the latest MND poll, including unmarried and married adults, and elderly parents.

Results showed that 55 per cent of unmarried children surveyed planned to live with their parents after marriage, with 41 per cent citing looking after their parents as the reason.

WHERE PEOPLE WANT TO LIVE, IN RELATION TO THEIR PARENTS AFTER MARRIAGE


WHY PEOPLE WANT TO LIVE WITH THEIR PARENTS AFTER MARRIAGE

Of those who planned to set up their homes after marriage, 65 per cent want to live near their parents, and 96 per cent of unmarried children said they would see their parents at least once a week after marriage.

WHERE PEOPLE WANT THEIR OWN HOMES TO BE, IN RELATION TO THEIR PARENTS' PLACE


Among Singaporeans who are married, 35 per cent currently live with their parents. Only 28 per cent with their own, separate homes live in the same town as their parents or nearer.

WHERE MARRIED PEOPLE LIVE IN RELATION TO THEIR PARENTS


Among the seniors with unmarried children surveyed, 73 per cent said they wanted to live with their child after his or her marriage

WHY PARENTS WANT TO LIVE WITH THEIR MARRIED CHILD


In his blog post, Mr Khaw called the results “heart-warming”. “The state of family bonding in Singapore is healthy and strong. They affirm that Singaporean families value mutual care and support and want to live near to one another,” he wrote. “MND will study the survey findings in greater detail, and together with the feedback we have received from our housing conversations, see how best we can help fulfil Singaporeans’ aspirations to live near their extended families for better mutual care and support.”  

During Tuesday's discussion, he had noted that in non-mature estates, the greater availability of land and various incentives should be able to satisfy the needs of couples who wish to live near their parents.

"But for mature estates it is a real problem, it is a real challenge. For the simple reason that I just do not have the land available to build more. But wherever I can I'll try to do so. What it means is, many will have to depend on the resale flats," he said.  

One option for mature towns was the Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS), which would allow for the building of greater numbers of new flats. In Queenstown, for example, SERS will enable HDB "to build many more than the 3,000 or 4,000 flats that will have to give way", he said. That opens up the possibility of more children able to live near their parents.

"That explains why it is so important, where it makes sense, to do this massive en-bloc - partly to satisfy these needs for putting families together as children grow old, and partly to intensify land use, because traditional blocks are very low-rise, and poor use of land."

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