MUM SAYS Public housing schemes and grants really helped

As a young working mum, Sherelle Wee is grateful to have family and government support when setting up her home.

4Y6A1409

“My husband Shawn and I had a pretty smooth road to getting our own home and starting a family. We applied for our Build-To-Order flat before I graduated from university and within two years ― just a few months before we tied the knot ― we got the keys to our own house. We had Scarlett the following year. The transitions seemed pretty crazy for young couples like us and I won’t deny that I felt that way, too.

I can only imagine it would be so much harder for young couples who are not ready for kids to be caught in the same situation as us, or those who are ready for kids but aren’t lucky enough to have a personal space of their own to build a family.  We see and hear a lot of such rants from our peers ― the latter being a very common outcry of theirs, especially if they come from larger families and have siblings they had to share a room with.

 

The public housing schemes and grants really made a difference for us. We managed to get the Additional Housing Grant…”

 

Many factors contributed to our decision to start a family early and I think our government policies have helped heaps. I was 21 and Shawn was 23 when we applied for our BTO. First and foremost, you must be ready to move to the next level of your relationship before buying a house together. Back then, we had already been together six years. I was in the last year of my studies in university while Shawn has been working for about a year right after National Service (NS).

You must be wondering how we could afford to buy a home under these circumstances. If you look at the numbers, a 4- or 5-room flat comes with a down payment of $40,000 or more ― I think not a lot of people my age can afford this if they don’t receive any help from their parents.

The public housing schemes and grants really made a difference for us. We managed to get the Additional Housing Grant because only Shawn’s income was taken into consideration as we applied for the flat before I graduated. That helped to defray the first half of our down payment. Still, it was not enough, but we were fortunate Shawn had some savings from coaching part-time before and during his NS. The staggered down payment also made the financial burden easier for us to bear. Now that the CPF Housing Grant has been increased to $50,000 for a 4-room or smaller resale flat, and $40,000 for a 5-room or large resale flat, I think it will definitely make public housing more affordable for young couples looking to settle down early.