An unwed mother’s experience with housing

May 13, 2016

PropertyGuru ran a fantastic story on mothers’ experiences buying property in Singapore, including an interview with unwed mother, Xin Hui. Read on for an excerpt of her interview. To read the full article, click here.

“Left out

However, for some single mums who are strapped for cash, finding a home in Singapore can be a struggle due to the lack of government support for single parents here, especially unwed mums.

Support group AWARE Singapore is running a campaign at the end of this month to raise awareness on some of the critical issues facing single parents here. In fact, one of their posters reads: “Why should she and her children be left without a home just because her marriage ended?”

Speaking to PropertyGuru, 29-year-old Xin Hui is a single mother of one who was unable to rent a flat from the HDB, as her monthly income of $1,700 was above the HDB’s rental income cap of $1,500.

The Operations Executive contacted the HDB on numerous occasions and also contacted her MP about the issue of finding a suitable home.

“I started looking for a home when I was four to five months pregnant and living with my aunt. I first rented a unit on the open market for $2,100 per month. I was able to pay for it at first, but eventually it became too expensive and I wanted to move. I looked for a Build-to-Order (BTO) unit, but it takes three years to build and I needed a house sooner, so I went for a resale flat.”

Sorry, but you don’t qualify

She was also not eligible to buy an HDB flat as she isn’t 35 yet. “I had to buy (a flat) with my mother to form a family nucleus.” As this wasn’t her mother’s first home, she did not qualify for the grants available to first-time home buyers.

Furthermore, she wasn’t able to get a sufficient loan amount to buy a flat large enough for her family.

“I went to the HDB five times, mostly to get them to increase the loan amount because they only gave me about $220,000 to buy a flat, but I could only afford a 3-room unit with that amount.

“I asked them if they could increase the loan as HDB flat prices were sky-rocketing at the time, but they said there’s nothing they can do. I was under a lot of pressure because it’s different from being free to move and live somewhere nicer; I had no choice but to move.”

In the end, she purchased a 4NG flat without an additional loan. “I topped up the initial loan from the HDB with my CPF and savings, and borrowed money from family.

“I have been living here since December 2013 and have to stay for five years because of HDB’s rules. When I turn 35, my mother and I want to sell the house and start living separately. After that, I want to buy a BTO flat. But the environment of this flat is good and I have nice neighbours.””