Singles Ineligible For Prime Location Resale Flats, Model Is New & Untested: Desmond Lee

Govt Cares About Singles’ Housing Needs, They Can Buy Existing Resale Flats: Desmond Lee

When news of the Build-To-Order (BTO) flats in Rochor was released, many Singaporeans might have already started eyeing them.

After all, an abode in Singapore’s central region is desirable due to its convenience and bragging rights.

The upcoming Rochor BTO

However, Singaporeans who’re single may lament that they’re not eligible to buy a unit there – even as a resale.

Minister for National Development Desmond Lee has now explained that it’s because the housing model is new and untested.

Rochor BTO released under PLH model

Units in the Rochor estate will be launched in November, but it’s no ordinary BTO.

It’ll be the 1st project that’s part of the HDB’s new Prime Location Public Housing (PLH) model.


As such, the eligibility conditions for buying such flats in the resale market will also be different.

One of the major differences is that PLH resale flats will not be open to singles above 35 years old – instead, buyers must have an “eligible family nucleus”.


Singles above 35 are currently allowed to buy all other resale flats without restrictions.

Rule may frustrate some singles

This rule might prove to be a source of frustration for some singles.

After all, they might wonder why they have to be barred from buying resale flats in prime locations just because they’re single.

This would also apply to those from the LGBTQ+ community, who can’t get married in Singapore and whose overseas marriages aren’t recognised here either.

Pink Dot’s Facebook page pointed that out in a post shortly after the PLH was announced, adding that by “eligible family nucleus”, the authorities mean married heterosexual couples.


They’ve also claimed that the percentage of singles in Singapore is rising, and keeping them out of the PLH will lead to lack of assimilation between different types of families.Source

Minister addresses singles’ concerns

Minister Lee addressed the concerns of singles during a speech at the Singapore Economic Policy Forum on Friday (29 Oct).

He acknowledged that some have asked why singles aren’t allowed to buy PLH flats.


After all, he reasoned, BTO criteria currently allows singles to buy new 2-room flats in non-mature estates.

Govt cares about singles’ housing needs

Minister Lee thus assured singles that the Government cares about their housing needs, saying,

We understand their concerns.

He also recognised that there are “a variety of reasons” why Singaporeans remain single, including:

  1. obligation to family and parents
  2. a matter of choice
  3. a matter of life course

Despite being single, however, “many still want or need their own living space”, he added.


Not a step backward

But the exclusion of singles under the PLH isn’t a step backward in singles’ housing policy, the minister said.

Instead, the Government has been expanding housing options and grants for singles over the years.

And that’s because, he added,

We recognise your needs, your aspirations, and your sacrifices.

Larger households given priority for PLH

As for the PLH model, singles aren’t eligible because the model is brand new and untested in the market, Minister Lee said.

That means not many PLH flats will be initially launched, and so larger households will be given priority.

This is because they may need more space as there’s more people in their families.


Meanwhile, there are many existing resale flats in prime central areas that singles can buy, the minister added.

He’s of the view that we should first assess the PLH model’s impact after it’s launched and gain experience operating it.

Adjustments and improvements can then be made along the way in response to Singapore’s evolving demographics and changing aspirations.

A tough balancing act

While families’ pressing need for housing must undoubtedly be catered to, singles also contribute much to society.

After all, they also bear more of the burden of taking care of aged parents and may spend longer hours at work than their peers with families.

It’s a tough balancing act indeed to ensure no one feels shortchanged.

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Featured image adapted from Desmond Lee on Facebook and HDB.

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