This is a ‘cut’ I delivered in Parliament on 7 March 2013 during the Committee of Supply debate for the Ministry of National Development.
In January 2013, the HDB introduced the Parenthood Priority Scheme (PPS) to give priority allocation for new flats to “first-timer” married couples with children. Under this scheme, 30% of BTO (Built-to-Order) flats and 50% of SBF (Sale of Balance Flats) flats will be set aside for this group.
I agree that Singaporean couples with children should get priority in flat allocation, because they not only have to house themselves, but also their children.
However, the proportion of flats set aside for all first-timers remains unchanged at 85% for BTO flats in non-mature estates . This means that other first timers, including married couples who do not have children yet, will effectively have a lower proportion of the flats set aside for them.
If the goal of the PPS is to raise birth rates, then it might be necessary to also include married couples without children, because many of these couples may be waiting to get their own home before having kids.
The Minister has said that once the HDB clears the backlog of first-timer married couples with children, the HDB can extend the PPS to married couples without children. Will this mean that all first-timer married couples—with or without children—will be allocated 30% of BTO flats and 50% of SBF flats, or will married couples without children have a separate allocation? I think more clarity on this will help prospective home buyers better plan their flat applications.
To get a sense of the size of the backlog, for the BTO launch in January 2013 during which PPS was first offered, what proportion of PPS applicants had unsuccessful applications for previous BTO launches?
Can the Minister provide an estimate of when this backlog married couples with children is expected to be cleared, and when married couples without children can start to benefit from PPS?
Lastly, will PPS be a permanent scheme or will it only be in place until the current backlog of flat applicants is cleared?