The Housing Board said last month that 85 per cent of the ongoing Build-To-Order (BTO) projects were around six to nine months behind schedule (85% of BTO projects face delays of 6 to 9 months, April 8). This was before the latest entry restrictions on South Asian workers took effect, so it is likely that the projects will be further delayed.
These delays affect the family, education and financial planning of many Singaporeans. More help can be provided to these affected households.
First, lower-income newly-weds could be given targeted payouts to subsidise rent. With the BTO delays, the newly-weds’ plans to start a family may be disrupted. This is especially applicable to those whose parents’ homes have space constraints.
Rent may pose a financial challenge to some newly-weds. Even though the Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme offers relatively cheaper rents, the rental options are limited and may still be unaffordable for some in these trying times.
Second, families who are undergoing the Primary 1 registration process can currently register their children based on their future property address if the delivery possession date of the property is within two years of a child’s entry into Primary 1.
This two-year leeway should be updated to account for the BTO delays faced by affected families.
Third, the minimum occupation period of BTO flats should be reduced based on the time the project is delayed.
This ensures that the future flat supply and, therefore, prices in the resale and rental markets are not affected by this unforeseen supply shock.
Bryan Lim Wei Yang