Mainstream HDB rental could ‘weaken our communities’, reshape social norms: Sim Ann

SINGAPORE: Extending public housing leases to the mainstream will change social norms and could weaken communities, mentioned Senior Minister of State for National Development Sim Ann on Tuesday (Nov 2).

This is just not one thing the Government will embark on “without deep consideration”, she mentioned in Parliament on Tuesday.

Her feedback got here in response to an adjournment movement by MP Louis Chua (WP-Sengkang), who urged authorities to considerably enhance the inventory of rental models throughout all flat sizes and create an “expanded public rental scheme” for the broader inhabitants.

Describing dwelling possession as “a key tenet” of Singapore’s social compact, Ms Sim mentioned mainstreaming rental could be a “significant departure” from present public housing coverage and ideas. Currently, dwelling possession charges in Singapore are near 90 per cent.

“It will reshape our social norms and could weaken our communities, as a result of in contrast to dwelling possession, the place individuals sink their roots, leases are more transitory. This is just not one thing we are going to embark on frivolously with out deep consideration,” she mentioned.

The Ministry of National Development (MND) will proceed to check how Singaporeans’ preferences and aspirations evolve, and proceed to develop the general public housing programme to satisfy these altering wants, she mentioned.


In his adjournment movement, Mr Chua pushed for a better variety of housing choices. But the important thing downside is the “severe shortage” of Housing Board (HDB) rental flats, he mentioned.

There have been 1.019 million bought HDB flats in Singapore as of March this yr, however solely 63,773 rental models, he added.

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These rental flats can be found via three schemes: the Public Rental Scheme, the Interim Rental Housing scheme – for low-income households with no different housing choices – and the Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme (PPHS), which helps quickly home households ready for his or her new flats to be accomplished.

Mr Chua identified that there have been solely about 1,600 rental flats below development, which shall be accomplished progressively by round 2025.

But present common ready instances for rental models have already lengthened to 5 months, he mentioned, including that MPs have acquired requests to assist with appeals for such models.

It is the same scenario for PPHS, and though there are plans to almost double current provide with one other 800 such models, provide stays tight, he mentioned.

The MP famous that there have been 544 purposes for 60 accessible PPHS flats in October, “indicating excess latent demand that cannot be met”.


In the larger image, a subsidised and expanded public rental scheme for the broader inhabitants would higher assist numerous wants, particularly for millennials who’re confronted with restricted dwelling choices, he mentioned. It would additionally cater to a rising class of gig economic system employees, added Mr Chua.

Expanding public leases could assist do away with the stigma of HDB rental housing, he famous.

“Renting an HDB flat need not and should not be seen as a sign that you are poor and needy, and our position on rentals need to reflect that.”

Mr Chua mentioned one of many greatest misconceptions is that dwelling possession is “superior” to dwelling renting.

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“To use an analogy from the insurance coverage world, is an entire life insurance coverage coverage essentially superior to that of time period insurance coverage? … I imagine the identical might be utilized to housing, and the saying that ‘tenants pay subsidised rents but own nothing’ is barely a half reality,” he added.

Looking abroad, Mr Chua additionally identified that Switzerland and Germany have the bottom dwelling possession charges amongst OECD nations at 38 per cent and 44 per cent respectively, however they’ve one of many highest gross home product per capita and Human Development Index scores globally.

“The correlation between home ownership and the level of prosperity of a country may not be as clear cut. Home ownership is thus more of a preference than a superior option,” he mentioned.

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