This is a question we kept asking ourselves shortly after the announcement of the PLH news recently. The pushback from singles undoubtedly is understandable, but there’re always two sides of a coin.
We certainly don’t like to sugar-coat our thoughts, and we aren’t rallying for our Singapore government either (let’s put politics aside in the context, shall we..?)
The Singapore government certainly can’t please everyone, and in the grand scheme of things, Singles do certainly have more options – Renting, staying with parents, buying in other locations, or pairing up with another family member.
Families constitute a larger majority of the population, hence the Singapore government do have to address their needs first. This would indirectly encourage nuptials and uptake in birth rates. Bearing this prioritization in mind, HDB may not actually be building 2-room Build-to-Order flats under PLH model after all!
The overarching intention of HDB is to ensure that all Singaporeans will have a roof over their heads. As mentioned in our previous post, the average holding period for a PLH BTO home is 15 years (i.e. average 5 years wait time & 10 years MOP). If you ask us, that’s a considerable chunk of one’s life!
The likelihood of Singles giving up their ballot for the BTO is much higher due to career relocations, marriages and other life changing episodes. Many things can happen in the span of a few years!
Not saying that it won’t happen to families, but chances are a lot slimmer as families are less compelled to move due to kids’ schools and the need for stability.
Well, truth be told, there’s limited land area in the centralized locations, so HDB can’t afford having ballots being defaulted. This may result in empty BTO flats which would have to be put up in the Sale of Balance flats. Clearly, this would indicate poor maximization and utilization of the limited land space, which HDB certainly wants to avoid!
Let us put this into perspective.. Do you know that Singles are actually spoilt for choices? There’s a substantial supply of 2A/2-room flats island-wide, and in Yishun alone, there’re several plots of land planned for BTO with 2A units set aside, specifically catered for singles. Often times, the leftover unsold units under the Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) are also available for Singles as well!
Let’s put aside the expectation/need to live in the centralized location, as a single, you have the upper hand! As a matter of fact, there is abundant supply of homes to choose from in the developing suburban areas. You can cherry pick for North-South facing units, the high floors and proximity to MRT/Malls and amenities, etc.
It’s almost inevitable that BTO flats in the prime central locations would be priced higher. Meaning higher Buyer’s Stamp Duty and Monthly Mortgages – this would be financially taxing for singles being the sole source of income.
Up and coming new homes in the suburban areas are likely to be fully integrated – indicating appreciation opportunities in the same ballpark as homes in the sought after locations. With the development of Jurong and Woodlands business hubs, the Tengah area transforming into a smart city, and the development of Punggol Digital District and additional university campus in Punggol, all hope is not lost for the suburban regions!
The PLH Model is certainly in its infancy stage, it’s meant to be tweaked, a work in progress, and nothing is cast in stone.
If you’re a Single, we would love to hear your thoughts. We sure hope that this post has helped to reframe certain options for you!