3Gen flats good for extended family but conflict may arise

The new Three-Generation (3Gen) flats provide a good option for multi-generation families to live together but living as an extended family may give rise to conflict, experts said.

Aris Lee is a potential 3Gen homebuyer who currently lives in a four-room flat with her husband, four children, her mother and a domestic helper.

Ms Lee and her family are looking forward to more living space as they hope to apply for the newly announced 3Gen flats soon.

Ms Lee said: “I was actually quite elated (as) I will be able to transfer my current family into a bigger space.”

The 3Gen flats will be piloted in Yishun in next month’s Build-To-Order (BTO) exercise where 80 units will be made available.

Applicants must form a multi-generation family made up of at least a married or courting couple and their parents to be eligible.

Experts said 3Gen flats will provide the infrastructure for multi-generation families to support each other in childcare and eldercare.

But they also cautioned that family ties will need to be safeguarded because living as extended family may give rise to conflict.

Paulin Straughan, a sociologist and deputy head of the Department of Sociology at the National University of Singapore, said: “The short end of this is you’re talking about different generations with different ideals and different preferences and different aspirations, all housed under the same roof. There’s so much potential for conflict.”

Earlier, some Singaporeans had also raised concerns about the size of the new flats.

A current five-room flat is about 110 square metres, and the 3Gen flats will be slightly bigger, at 115 square metres.

Property analysts said this size is comparable to dual-key executive condominium units.

Christine Li, head of Research & Consultancy at OrangeTee, said: “They are still functional because they have four bedrooms and three bathrooms. There are not many multi-generational flats available in the market and the prices of those flats are quite high.

“We believe that the demand for the BTO will be quite decent, given that buyers do not have to pay for COV (Cash-Over-Valuation) as well as cash downpayment.”

The last time the HDB introduced such flats was in 1987, when 367 multi-generation flats were offered under pilot projects in Bishan, Tampines and Yishun.

But the project was stopped due to the lack of demand.

The older multi-generation flats are generally bigger than the new 3Gen flats that are going to be built.

Nine multi-generation flats have been sold over the last 12 months in the resale market with prices ranging from S$790,000 to S$980,000.

Property analysts, however, said the value of new 3Gen flats may be more limited due to strict resale restrictions.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 28 Aug 2013