The following News Highlights covers the two topics:
i) Housing Measures
ii) Helping Singaporean- Foreign couples better plan for their future
a. Helping families live closer to each other
1. As part of the government’s commitment to help families who wish to live closer to each other, the government will be adopting suggestions that came up during the recent Housing Conversations on “Closer Families, Stronger Ties”.
2. BTO exercises in future will set aside a proportion of new flats for families who want to live with, or close by.
i. First priority will be given to those who are applying to live together.
ii. First priority will also be given to parents who own a flat in a mature estate, and are applying for a flat in a non-mature estate to live near their married child.
3. These measures will take effect at the next
BTO launch in November 2014.
b. Slowing down supply of BTOs
1. Over the last 3 years, HDB has ramped up the supply of BTO flats (77,000 units). Efforts have effectively cleared waiting queues especially for first timers.
2. Now that the housing market is stabilising, the government will need to slow down to prevent an oversupply in the public housing market.
3. After studying BTO application rates carefully to ensure demand continues to be met, the government will:
i. Further reduce the number of BTO flats launched by 25% in 2015 (16,000 units). In 2014, the number of BTO flats was already reduced by 10% (22,400 units).
ii. BTO exercises will be launched every quarter (ie 4 times a year), instead of every other month (ie 6 times a year). The launch size will be kept at 4,000 units to ensure a good spread so that buyers continue to have choices.
4. These measures will take effect in 2015.
For more information on Housing Measures:
HELPING SINGAPOREAN- FOREIGN COUPLES BETTER PLAN FOR THEIR FUTURE
1. Over the years, there have been more marriages between Singaporeans and foreigners.
i. In 2013, 3 in 10 marriages were between a Singaporean and a non-resident.
2. To help these prospective couples better plan for the future and build the foundation for a strong marriage, the government will:
i. Revise the Long Term Visit Pass process to provide greater clarity prior to marriage, on whether foreign spouses can qualify for a long term stay in Singapore;
ii. Introduce Marriage Preparation and Support programmes to help these couples better integrate into the local community; and
iii. Make it easier for foreign spouses to boost family finances and seek employment in Singapore.
3. Please see annex A for more details on new measures.