Channel NewsAsia

S'poreans voice housing preferences in online survey

An online survey has found that Singaporeans are supportive of giving greater priority to those who apply for a HDB flat in the same town as their parents.

SINGAPORE: An online survey has found that Singaporeans are supportive of giving greater priority to those who apply for a HDB flat in the same town as their parents.

They are also in favour of building more three-generation flats and providing higher housing grants to those who live close to or with their parents.

The survey is being conducted by the National Development Ministry to find out what the preferred housing arrangements of Singaporeans are.

The survey, which began on May 25, has seen 1,927 people participate so far. It is part of the government’s new housing conversation with Singaporeans to find out what more can be done to help extended families live together or close by.

The ongoing survey has already shed some light on housing preferences.

Out of 949 courting Singaporeans who responded, the majority said they plan to set up their own home when they get married. Out of this majority, 72 per cent said they want to live close to their parents either in the same town or nearer.

It is likewise the case for seniors with children above the age of 21. Among the 41 seniors who currently live apart or plan to live apart from their children, 68 per cent said they also plan to live in the same town or closer. Ninety-eight seniors have taken part in the survey so far.

But among the 880 married Singaporeans who responded, only 31 per cent live in the same town as their parents or nearer, while 40 per cent stay in a different region.

"There may not be sufficient new BTO (flats) in the same estates where their parents are living,” said Dr Lee Bee Wah, chair of the Government Parliamentary Committee for National Development.

“For example, at one time I had a lot of residents who come and tell me that they want to apply for new BTO flats in Yishun. However at that time, a lot of flats were being offered in Punggol, so some of them went to apply in Punggol and later on when they find that there were flats available in Yishun, it was too late."

Some suggestions to help extended families live together or close by have also been mooted. One such suggestion is to give absolute priority to those hoping to apply for a BTO flat in the same estate as their parents.

"Imagine if the children were brought up in Nee Soon South and then later on when they want to buy a flat, they also buy it in Nee Soon South -- a few generations living in the same place,” said Dr Lee, who is also MP for Nee Soon GRC.

“It will be a very strong kampong spirit being forged. I would see it as more of a positive. Of course, there will be concerns. Some people might say giving absolute allocation may (result in) some abuse.

“Perhaps in this case, to ensure it is genuine demand, perhaps what the Ministry can look at is the Minimum Occupation Period (MOP). You can increase the MOP. Currently, it is five years. For those given absolute allocation, perhaps we can look at increasing the MOP."

The online survey will conclude in July and those who want to take part can do so at http://www.mnd.gov.sg/homesweethome.

To take the housing conversation further, Singaporeans are invited to take part in three upcoming focus group discussions, the first of which will be held on Saturday.

To get a variety of views, each session will target participants from different life stages, namely courting couples, married couples and seniors with children above the age of 21." 

Tweet photos, videos and updates on this story to  @channelnewsasia