By Kaya — Applying for a BTO is the rite of passage for most young couples in Singapore. However, BTO which was implemented to help residents with housing needs, no longer fulfills that. In fact, ownership could take years, and even then you may or may not be offered a flat. Has meeting these basic human need for shelter become impossible in Singapore?
“I think of those 13 times, only once did we manage to get a queue number. Even that was oversubscribed. I’m at a point where, if I’m being frank, it’s probably going to be easier to win the lottery than to get a BTO.”Redzuan on Rice Media
COVID worsened the waiting period. During this time, the supply of BTOs was delayed due to manpower shortages, all while housing demand continued to rise. Prices of resale flats also soared. Yet the prices have still not come down.
Public housing is supposed to help Singaporeans
It is supposed to help Singaporeans afford a roof over their heads. Yet, the system today doesn’t reach younger families. Unless they find their love while schooling and apply for a flat while in college (which sad to say is not the case for most Singaporeans).
For most couples, by the time they get a ballot and by the time they get a flat, they would have reached their mid-30s or even 40s. It takes 4-5 years for each BTO to be built. And that is if they are lucky. If they aren’t lucky, they will have to get private housing (where a 1 bedroom flat could cost a million dollars). Most young Singaporeans are not able to afford such prices.
The BTO scheme is due for a policy review.
Public housing shouldn’t be fully subjected to supply and demand. It should help those who need a home. There should be sufficient supply for young home owners without a long wait. The government should have enough demographic data to forecast such demand.
We cannot continue to burden our future generations. The government say that our population is shrinking and hence they have to keep bringing in foreigners. However, they are not creating an environment that enables people to start families. We cannot allow our youths to struggle over such basic needs!