At the time, Ang Mo Kio had a five-bedroom BTO set up for the couple with a stipend of $510,000. When their fourth child arrived, James and his wife were faced with the choice of either upgrading their BTO or buying the adjoining two-bedroom apartment next door under the conversion program after a neighbor moved out. The purchase price for the apartment was about $90,000, while James paid $3,000 for the two-bedroom HDB apartment, the same price as a five-bedroom BTO in the same area. 

James recalls that the couple abandoned their BTO allotment in favor of tearing down the walls of two neighboring three-bedroom units to create a jumbo apartment with ample space. For those looking for a cozier, more compact home, a 3-bedroom apartment of 60-65 square meters is the ideal choice.

The most common type of apartment is the 4-room apartment (about 90 square meters), which offers a comfortable living space for young couples and families with children. A 3-bedroom apartment is one or more of these 3-bedroom apartments, where young parents with 1 to 2 children can find plenty of space to rest and play. These apartments usually have 2 bedrooms, including the master bedroom with its own bathroom. 

The 4 bedroom version of this 5 bedroom apartment has 3 bedrooms with private baths, a master bedroom, shared bath, kitchen, living and dining areas and a service yard with oversized storage. This apartment is well suited for medium to large families as it has more space compared to the 4 bedroom apartment. The 5-bedroom apartment has an area of 110 square meters, and large families will appreciate this as they can easily move around and have space for various activities in the house. 

In February 2018, Housing and Development Board (HDB) announced that the occupancy limit for HDB four-bedroom flats (where rents are reduced from the current maximum of nine per person to six per person) will be lowered from 1 May 2018. The HDB occupancy limit for small 3-bedroom flats will remain unchanged at 6 per person (4 per person). 

Eligible first-time buyers of single-family homes who are 35 years or older can choose to buy a new 2-room flat, a resale flat or a CPF flat subsidy for singles with five rooms on the open market. The monthly income limit for these buyers may be raised from $6,000 to $7,000. This is great news if you are not married and your next milestone is to buy a home. 

The HDB has increased the monthly income limit from $12,000 to $14,000 for first-time families who get a new HDB flat for resale. The enhanced CPF flats premium applies to all HDB BTOs and HDB resale flats with no restrictions on flat size in the estate. Existing flat owners can apply for the HDB Conversion Program, which includes two adjoining 3-bedroom flats that can be bought on the resale market.

On 4 March 2020, the Minister of National Development told Parliament that the HDB had lowered the minimum age for single parents who want to buy a BTO flat to 21, so they can now get three-room flats of this type. This article has been updated with the current rules as of 22 March 2021 so that single parents can see at a glance which HDB flats they are eligible for. The HDB conversion scheme to merge two adjoining three-room flats or smaller flats bought on the resale market (AD) is rare as the two title deeds are merged and the flats are not split into separate sales. 

Divorced or widowed Singaporeans who have a 21-year-old child under their legal custody, care or control, who form the “family nucleus” of their children, can purchase an HDB flat under the public scheme. The Proximity Housing Grant (PNG), which was introduced in August 2015 with the aim of promoting close family ties, mutual care and support, can provide newcomers and single families with up to $20,000 ($10,000) if they buy a resale flat within 4km of their parents and children. For single families buying a flat to live with their parents or children, the amount can go from $30,000 to $15,000. 

In the past four years, 4,500 families have shared the same flat with their parents or children in a single apartment block. About $550 million has been provided to 29,600 households through the Proximity Housing Grant (PNG) Proximity Housing Grant program, which was launched in August 2015 to promote close family ties, mutual care and support. 

To apply for a 3Gen apartment, your parents must be the registered occupants of the apartment, and the purpose of the invention is so that you can live with them. Unlike executive apartments, which are a dying breed in the BTO, HDB and 3Gen apartments are new flats invented by our government to encourage us to take care of our parents. An HDB apartment is not for the rich because the occupant of the house is not the property in which it is called. 

With this arrangement, the young couple or parents can save on transportation costs as the grandparents live under the same roof. If only one parent lives in the home, the children can also take care of the grandparents while they are at work. 

Living with parents in a larger apartment not only allows young couples in their 30s to spend more time with their parents but also helps them find more support as they deal with the pressures of raising children and building their careers. The move to build more 3Gen homes complements the Extended Proximity Housing Grant (PNG), which provides families with S$20,000 to encourage them to buy resale homes and live near their parents. There is clear evidence that larger homes are “changing couples’ decisions about having children, or at least that they have no excuse not to care for their aging parents.

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