20k grant for singles who live with parents

Impact minimal as increase is small: Housing agents

Starting next month, single Singaporeans aged 35 and above looking to buy Housing and Development Board (HDB) resale flats to live with their parents may apply for a higher Central Provident Fund (CPF) housing grant of $20,000.

While this is up from the current $11,000 for singles who live alone, property agents TODAY spoke to said the impact would be minimal as it is not a big amount compared to the grant given to married couples — $30,000 to $40,000.

Sales planner Michelle Yee, 50, who is single, felt that any increment was good. “I understand that the Government doesn’t encourage Singaporeans to be single, which is probably why the grant is lower than that given to married couples,” she said.

Property director James Lee, 39, said an additional $9,000 is not a lot considering the appreciation of housing values these days. Added Mr Lee: “Many singles would rather apply for the current $11,000 grant as they need not be tied down with the additional condition of living with their parents.”

Mr Lim Boon Heng, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, announced the new scheme in Parliament on March 5 as a pro-family initiative to encourage children to look after their elderly parents.

Under the scheme, the parents cannot buy or take over the ownership of another HDB flat, or invest in private property for at least five years.

Said Mr Lee: “This means that parents who are currently staying in their own flats must sell them, and most elderly Singaporeans do not like to move house.”

Property agent Magdalene Lim, 43, said that if she was to buy a flat, it would be out of filial piety, as the extra $9,000 would not make much difference because sellers were already demanding a premium above the market value of their flats, and buyers needed help most with this cash component.

Sales executive Fang Mei Mei, 41, welcomed the initiative, saying it was better than nothing: “I am appreciative that it has been upped for the singles.”

To qualify, singles must commit to living together with their parents in the resale flat for at least five years. All other prevailing conditions, such as the maximum income ceiling, minimum occupation period for resale flats and resale levy liability apply.

Source : Today – 28 Mar 2008

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