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Looking For Temporary Housing Solution? Find Out How Do BTO Delays Affect You

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc despite vaccinations being rolled out, Singapore is facing a labor shortage in industries such as construction and manufacturing. These industries rely heavily on foreign workers and with the travel restrictions, many workers are not able to return to Singapore.

This has led to a delay in the completion of BTO flats that were scheduled for handing over last year and this year. As such, demand for interim rental Housing Board flats almost doubled in 2020 as families that were supposed to move into their new homes now need to seek temporary housing.

Currently, about 85% of the ongoing BTO projects are estimated to be delayed by between 6 to 9 months, affecting about 43,000 households. The manpower crunch has been made worse by the ban on travellers from countries such as India and Bangladesh.

Source: Giphy

Apply For Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme (PPHS)

According to the HDB, there were 2,350 applications under the Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme (PPHS) in 2020, compared with 1,370 in 2019.

The PPHS is meant to provide temporary housing for families as they await the completion of their new flats. However, there were only 160 such flats available last year. Currently, the number of PPHS flats stands at about 680, with 550 of them occupied.

However, during Parliament on 26 May 2020, the Minister of National Development, Mr Desmond Lee, shared that HDB plans to add about 200 more HDB units to increase the total number of PPHS flats available to 880 units by end of 2021.

To be eligible for the PPHS, you must have already booked an uncompleted flat under our HDB sales exercises, and belong to any of the following groups:

  • Married couples or applicants under the Fiancé/Fiancée Scheme* (both first-timers or a first-timer and a second-timer). You will need to submit your marriage certificate within 3 months of taking possession of your PPHS flat

  • Divorced or widowed parent with children

You must also meet the following criteria:

  • Singapore Citizen (SC) with another SC or Singapore Permanent Resident (PR)

  • You and the occupiers of the PPHS flat must not own an existing HDB flat. If any of you currently co-own an HDB flat with your parents and/ or siblings (who are not listed in your sales application), you can apply for PPHS and then surrender ownership of that flat within 6 months of taking possession of the PPHS flat

  • You and the other applicants for the PPHS flat must be listed in the sales application. You can only be listed in 1 PPHS application within the same month

  • If you are sharing the PPHS flat with another eligible household, the maximum number of occupants must not exceed the cap. We allow inclusion of additional occupiers from marriages or new births

According to the HDB website, the cost of renting PPHS flats ranges from $400 for a two-room flat in Marsiling and Woodlands to $1,500 for a four-room flat in Tiong Bahru.

You can find the full list of available locations, flat types and rentals here.

Once you have decided on the location and property type, the rental you pay is a fixed monthly rate for the entire duration of your tenancy. The tenancy duration is capped at 3 years and should end within 4 months of the estimated completion date of your new flat.

However, if your new flat is still not ready when the tenancy expires, you can apply to the HDB on renewing the tenancy on a yearly basis. However, your application will depend on the PPHS site’s availability of use.

Recent Resale Flats / Private Property Trend

Many couples are thinking of buying resale flats but with HDB resale prices going up by 8.1% following four consecutive quarters of increases in the past year, many are finding it difficult to manage financially.

Over in the private property segment, prices are also on the upward trend, making condominiums and landed houses even more inaccessible.

Rental Market In Singapore

Those affected by the BTO delays are also contemplating renting private condominiums but are finding it increasingly expensive. Rentals for private condominiums have gone up for 3 consecutive months and now almost 3% higher as compared to 2020.

Many are also considering renting HDB flats, but are also finding it a challenge as HDB rents are up by almost 4% as compared to 2020, having risen for nine consecutive months.

Due to the delay in BTO delivery dates, many couples are putting their wedding plans on hold until they are able to collect the keys to their new home. Married couples waiting for their BTO flats are also delaying parenthood until they are able to move into their new flat.

While some are putting their wedding and parenthood plans on hold, others are going ahead despite the delay in the completion of their BTOs. Some could be living with their parents or in-laws for the time being and some could be renting a room from a family member. This situation is definitely better than renting any room and living with strangers.

Take Another Look At Dual-Key Property

For the lucky ones with financial backing, you can consider a dual-key condominium unit. A dual-key unit is a property that has two separate living spaces under the same address. In a dual-key condo, the larger unit is known as the main unit while the smaller unit is known as a sub-unit.

Depending on the condo design and layout, you may or may not have to share common amenities like the kitchen and dining areas. In some developments, each unit has its own common area, kitchen and toilet so it is like a condo on its own and you do not need to cross over to the other unit to share the common amenities.

So, What's Next?

In April this year, National Development Minister, Desmond Lee said in Parliament that those who are unable to find alternative housing arrangements with family members, relatives or on the open market in the interim may contact the HDB for assistance. Around 240 households were helped with Interim Rental Housing flats, which are public rental flats offered to those with financial difficulties.

In these challenging times, no one is having it easy. We can just hope and pray that this pandemic is over soon and we can all get back to our normal lives. For those affected by the delays and are continueing to rent, it would mean having to incur additional costs than originally palnned.

Source: Giphy

So, if you are still waiting for your BTO to be completed and you need to find temporary living arrangements, check out where you can find the latest available places for rental.


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