20160106 Singaporean singles are taxpayers, right to subsidised public housing without age restriction

I refer to CNA’s “Application rate for singles for HDB flats down since July 2013: HDB”.

The above article misleads readers by stating this half truth – “The application rates for singles have fallen from a high of 58 applicants per flat in July 2013 to about 7 applicants per flat in November 2015”.

It gives readers the impression that most applicants had successfully applied for a flat. In reality, there are at least 50,000 singles waiting to buy a subsidised HDB flat if not for the insufficient number of flats constructed by HDB.

The number of singles within the 35 to 49 age bracket confirms the shortage of flats for singles. According to “Population-in Brief 2015”, there were 131,000 singles in 2015. (tables below)

Singaporean male singles

Age group % No. of citizens
35 – 39 26 28000
40 – 44 18 21000
45 – 49 14 17000
Total NA 66000

Singaporean female singles

Age group % No. of citizens
35 – 39 23 25000
40 – 44 17 21000
45 – 49 15 19000
Total NA 65000

Since 2013, only 7,700 singles have booked a 2-room unit. The drop in application rates from 58 applicants per unit to 7 probably means most have given up hope on HDB’s hopeless planning.

Granted a certain percentage of singles may not fulfill HDB’s criteria, ie prefer to live with their parents, have bought resale flats or could afford private property, earning above $5000, etc there is still a very large number of singles who have been shortchanged by our housing policy.

Singles are also taxpayers and should be entitled to subsidised public housing. Housing prices are so high that there’s effectively no affordable rental housing for singles earning less than $2000: whatever little disposable income left would have been depleted. Why should independent adult Singaporeans be forced to live with their families?

And it has never been an issue of land shortage because a few hundred thousand foreigners are living in public housing estates.

Most citizens would prefer to use our see-no-touch-till-65 CPF for housing instead of cash and it should not depend on HDB’s whim to construct sufficient new flats. The amount of CPF accumulated by singles is likely to be substantial if not used for housing. Perhaps this is another way to channel billions into GIC for investment?

The government should also first determine where singles are likely to put up instead of forcing them to relocate to another corner of the island. Don’t anyhow construct housing anywhere it wants and force Singaporeans living in, say, Jurong to apply for a flat in Sengkang.

It’s about time the government stops discriminating between which group of taxpayers are entitled to public housing. As tax payers, singles (and also divorcees) should be entitled to public housing without any age restriction.

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3 Responses to 20160106 Singaporean singles are taxpayers, right to subsidised public housing without age restriction

  1. Xmen says:

    The fundamental question we need to ask is the purpose of the government. If the government is for the people, then (public) housing would be one of its top priorities. (Yes – it was THE PRIORITY in the 60s/70s during the formation.) But the government today is a very different beast. The country is now run like a corporation by technocrats and bureaucrats. Its performance is as good if not better than any conglomerate. Until there is a ‘change’ of government, people’s (employees’) welfare will not be the focus as in any profit oriented conglomerate.

  2. mre says:

    There is no rule that you MUST buy a hdb, taxpayer or otherwise. Drawing on the total single population to support your argument is misleading.

    Those hundred thousands of foreigners living in public estates… perhaps the bigger issue is why married Singaporeans enjoying tax supported rebates do not need to live in their hdbs and can afford to lease them out.

    • Phillip Ang says:

      Where do you expect ordinary Singaporeans to live if we don’t purchase a HDB flat from the main landlord in Singapore? 😦
      I agree there is also an issue with rental by married Singaporeans to foreigners but this rule was INTENTIONALLY relaxed by PAP before 2005. They had known how many foreigners were arriving and therefore relaxed the rules to allow rental to foreigners. PAP has turned a blind eye to married couples renting out to foreigners because there’s insufficient housing for foreigners. Do you know that from 2005 to 2009, 310,000 foreigners became Singapore PRs?
      Foreigner housing will be too expensive if constructed by the private sector so the easiest way was tweak some rules to accommodate its foreign worker policy. ‘Owners’ make money, government doesn’t need to construct additional housing, GDP increases, etc, it’s a win-win situation to PAP. 😦
      Can you imagine if they start to clamp down on rental to foreigners? What will happen to their foreign worker policy?
      Your ‘bigger issue’, unfortunately, is a non-issue to them. 😦
      In land scarce Singapore, every ordinary Singaporean wants to use our untouchable CPF to ‘own’ a property instead of cash to pay for rental. Care to explain why my argument is misleading?

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