The Housing and Development Board (HDB) on Friday (Nov 21) announced it will be setting aside a proportion of new flat supply for parents and married children who wish to live near each other.
In enhancing the Married Child Priority Scheme (MCPS), up to 30 per cent of the flat supply will be set aside for MCPS first-timer families and up to 15 per cent for second-timer families. This will apply from November’s Build-to-Order (BTO) and Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) exercises.
Previously, families who wish to live with or near each other received extra ballot chances for their new flat application under MCPS, the press release noted.
“With effect from November’s BTO and SBF exercises, the MCPS will be converted from a chance-based to a quota-based priority scheme to offer such applicants significantly higher chances of success,” HDB stated.
It added that under the enhanced MCPS, first priority will be extended to two groups of applicants:
- Parents and married children who apply for a flat to live together under one roof
- Parents who own a flat in a mature estate, and who apply for a BTO flat in a non-mature estate to move near to their married child
This means that these applicants will be shortlisted ahead of others within the quota. Any remaining quota after all such applicants have been shortlisted will then be given to other applicants under the scheme.
Property watchers said the move signals a shift in HDB’s focus – from satisfying the needs of applicants – such as those applying under the Fiance/Fiancee Scheme – to other objectives.
Eugene Lim, key executive officer at ERA Realty, said: “Going from past statistics, majority of these needs may have been satisfied and their success rate is actually quite high.
“So perhaps the HDB is now adjusting its policy to address the needs of the group of people who really want to stay together with their parents as a bigger household and help them be more successful in getting a flat.”
Flat buyers Channel NewsAsia spoke to said it is a fair move but pointed out that a larger issue is the waiting time for BTO flats. One of them, systems analyst Gabriel Toh, said: “I think it does not help much. I am already 33, if I will to wait three to four years for a BTO, I will only get the flat when I am touching 40.
“Another thing is the locations will be very off – usually at Sengkang, Punggol. So the location matters to us, which is why we bought a resale flat at Toa Payoh.”
Another challenge is getting parents who are living in a mature estate to join their children in a non-mature estate.
Thomas Tan, director at RE/MAX, noted: “Parents may not want to uproot themselves – whereby they find that they are very comfortable in that area, the amenities are there, all their friends are there, but you want them to uproot from their network to join their kids because of the priority scheme. It may not necessarily be an incentive for them to move.”
In November, HDB will offer about 4,277 BTO flats in Sembawang, Sengkang, Tampines and Yishun. An additional 3,000 flats will be offered in a concurrent SBF exercise.