By Saifulbahri Ismail | Posted: 09 March 2013 2107 hrs

SINGAPORE

Potential home owners may not be in a rush to exercise their options in the housing schemes announced in Parliament.

Although they welcomed the schemes, they said everything depends on their individual circumstances.

When Yoko Lee divorced in 2010, he was barred from buying a flat until five years later. Mr Lee and his 12-year-old daughter had little choice but to find other housing options. They stayed with relatives and now live in a rental one-room flat.

With the revised policy, the 30-year-old salesman will now be able to buy a Built-to-Order (BTO) flat faster and move on with life.

Mr Lee said: “The reason for me to get a BTO flat is for my daughter’s sake. Basically, she always wanted her own room and if she gets her own room she has a better living environment. That’s always been her dream as well.”

The changes in housing policy announced in Parliament had something for everyone. Married couples without children applying for a flat for the first time will receive more help.

The Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme has been extended to this group. They will be able to rent a flat while waiting for their homes to be completed.

One such person is Lester Kok and he said: “For young couples, one of the things that’s preventing us from having kids is actually the lack of our own place. Given the option to rent a place, apart from our parent’s home is a good option. The primary reason why we want to move out from our parents is not only for independence but more for intimacy, to really live with one another without complications of family habits. It’s important for just the two of us to live together for a period of time right after we’re married.”

However, not all may be excited about the new changes.

Property analysts said young families whose flats are near completion will not have any incentive to start renting a flat.

CEO of Propnex, Mohd Ismail said: “Because every house you start to rent unfurnished, you have to spend money, time, effort to make it a home for the next one to two years, and that’s going to cost you. After you receive the keys to your BTO flat, you still have the cost of renovations and other things. So, it would not be wise for people to take advantage just because it’s extended and spend your money in a temporary home, where all these savings should be reserved for an eventual dream home which is for the long term.”

HDB said if demand exceeds supply, priority must still be given to those with children.

More details will be released next month.

– CNA/ck