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Janice Heng
Saturday, Nov 1, 2014

Singapore

More flats for parenthood as couples await housing

The Straits Times | Janice Heng | Saturday, Nov 1, 2014

High rise HDB flats in the Commonwealth area - Queenstown estates.

MORE temporary flats will be set aside for couples waiting for their new Housing Board flats under a rental programme which, as National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan put it, has been "delivering results, and babies".

Under the rental programme, called the Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme (PPHS), more than 100 babies were born to those living in 1,000 or so flats - a hit rate of 10 per cent.

This result was not bad, said Mr Khaw.

The popularity of the scheme - and its success in raising fertility - has prompted the Government to allocate another 800 temporary flats for couples from next year.

And to ease costs, couples can co-rent these flats.

"Helping young couples set up their first home so that they can start their family early is our top priority," Mr Khaw said in a blog post yesterday.

The scheme began in January last year with 1,150 flats in Ang Mo Kio, Bedok, Boon Lay and Dover. Rentals range from $800 for a three-room flat in Boon Lay to $1,900 for a Dover five-roomer.

The flats can be rented by first-timer married couples with children under 16, who are waiting for Build-To-Order (BTO) flats. In April, the scheme was extended to those without children, and in September, to married couples who are first-timers and second-timers, as well as divorced or widowed parents with children.

"This is a good scheme which has been well received," said Mr Khaw yesterday.

So far, 110 babies have been born to those in PPHS flats. He said this was "not bad at all".

About 800 more flats, some in Bukit Merah and Queenstown, will be retrofitted and rolled out to couples from early next year.

From today, both new applicants and existing tenants can apply to co-rent and co-pay for PPHS flats. A maximum of two families can share a flat.

"This will be useful for those who feel that they do not need a whole flat," said Mr Khaw.

Co-tenants will settle co-renting details privately, such as how much each tenant will pay and how the bedrooms will be divided.

Mr Gerald Teo's family lived in a PPHS flat for about a year, before getting the keys to their BTO flat in May. He and his wife used to live with her parents, but the flat "got a bit too cramped" when their son was born, said Mr Teo, 28, who works in finance.

The PPHS flat "gave us a bit more freedom", he added. janiceh@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Nov 1, 2014.
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