By Wong Siew Ying | Posted: 27 March 2013 2204 hrs


Some real estate agencies say more singles have returned to the HDB resale market after getting more clarity about the government’s plan to allow singles to buy new flats directly from the Housing and Development Board.

Propnex and Dennis Wee Group have seen 20 percent more enquires and viewings from singles in recent weeks.

Lately, some property agents have been getting more calls from singles, who have put their home-hunting plans on hold previously, to find out if they too can buy new public housing flats from the government.

Mr Lee Sze Teck, Senior Manager, Research & Consultancy, Dennis Wee Group, said: “Singles were expecting the government to actually open up a fair bit of housing market to them, but when the government announced that only two-rooms and with an income ceiling of $5,000 per month were the criteria, they were disappointed. As such, they came back to the resale market and for us, we witnessed about 20 per cent increase in enquiries.”

Singles can buy new 2-room flats in non-mature estates directly from the HDB in July’s Build-To-Order exercise.

Analysts say on average about 4,000 singles buy HDB resale flats each year. And some of them project that about 20 per cent of the buyers could opt to buy new BTO flats in the future. But it should not have any major impact on the resale market just yet.

Market watchers say allowing singles to buy new BTO flats is a step in the right direction, paving the way for more inclusive housing policies.

And they estimate that the new 2-room flats for singles could be priced at an affordable range of S$100,000 to S$150,000.

Mr Chia Siew Chuin, Director, Research & Advisory, Colliers International, said: “We think what the government can do at the very basic, and I do think it is quite basic, is to consider opening up in terms of locations, to include a few more locations including the mature estates as well as allowing them a choice of other type of room units.”

Mr Donald Han, Special Advisor, HSR, said: “Perhaps the need for larger units for singles, should not just confined to a 35 or 45 square metres. Probably in the greying years some of the singles may need help, they may need helpers to be there to look after them, so the increase to allow a 3-bedroom could be more palatable.”

Ms Alice Tan, Senior Manager, Consultancy & Research, Knight Frank, said: “The authorities can consider some innovative ways of offering housing options for these singles such as a dual-key concept such as having a 2-room HDB flat with a studio apartment for their elderly parents. Perhaps such dual key concepts could appeal to singles who want to live near to their parents.”

Analysts expect the government to offer more new flats for singles if demand at July’s BTO exercise is strong.

– CNA/de