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Survey: 1 in 4 S'poreans wants to live with parents after marriage
by Linette Heng

One in four Singaporeans wants to live with either set of parents after he or she gets married.

This is according to an ongoing survey on the Ministry of National Development's (MND's) microsite.

And the reason?

To look after their parents and have their parents look after their children, said Mr Kish Singh, 32, a civil servant.

He said: "And by living under one roof, you save on groceries and utilities. Plus, I get home-cooked meals regularly since my wife and I will be working."

MND is using the survey results to understand how it can do more to help extended families who want to live together.

But not everybody is keen on the idea of living with their parents.

Auditor Agnes Ng and her boyfriend have already applied for a Build-To-Order (BTO) flat near their family homes. Both families live in Jurong now.

Ms Ng, 25, said: "We can go to our parent's home for dinner since we don't have time to cook. When we have kids, we can leave them at his parents' place."

But they are not thinking of living under one roof with their parents just yet.

She said: "I want it to be just the both of us, for now. Besides, I don't think I can get along with his parents."

What are Singaporean couples' thoughts on living with their parents? And what do parents think about living with their married children?

That is what MND hopes to understand with the survey, which was launched on May 25. It will end next month.

More than 1,900 Singaporeans have taken part so far and the respondents involve courting couples, married couples and senior citizens. At the end of the survey, respondents are required to provide details such as their NRIC and household income.

Housing issues involving the three groups will be discussed over the next three weeks in a new series of Housing Conversations focusing on "Closer Families; Stronger Ties".

It appears there is a growing interest in flats that allow for young married couples to live with their parents.

Last September, the Government launched three-generation flats to help multi-generation families wishing to live together. It proved to be popular, with buyers snapping up the first 84-unit project in Yishun.

According to the recently concluded HDB Sample Household Survey, about half of married couples said they wish to live with their parents or close to them.

So why live close by or even together?

For pragmatic reasons such as childcare and, sometimes, to get into preferred neighbourhoods as their parents may be living in a mature estate, said sociologist Pauline Straughan of the National University of Singapore.


The Government now gives priority to Singaporeans applying for a BTO flat in the same estate as their parents.

Eligible first-timers also get a higher-tier CPF grant of $40,000 if they buy a resale flat so they can live near their parents, or to live together in the same flat.

The grant also applies to parents who are first-time HDB buyers and are looking to buy to live near their married children.

First-timers who buy a flat that is not in the same neighbourhood as their parents get a grant of $30,000.

National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan, in his blog on May 25, said that more can be done to help people live close to their families, but he said there may be complications.

He wrote: "Today, HDB gives greater priority to Singaporeans who apply for a BTO flat in the same HDB estate as their parents. Can we go one step further to give them absolute priority?"

"How do we avoid the 'alumni' effect, so that those whose parents do not live in their preferred estate still have an opportunity?"

Family ties

The Government is contemplating tweaking public housing policies to allow more young couples to live with or near their parents. An online survey by the National Development Ministry found reasons why some couples prefer living with their parents while some seniors prefer being on their own.


Top reasons for wanting to live with their parents after marriage

- To look after their parents 63 per cent

- They are close to their parents 17 per cent

- Parents can look after their children in future 9 per cent

Top reasons for not wanting to live with their parents after marriage

- To have independence and privacy 41 per cent

- To own our own home and asset 24 per cent

- To avoid conflict between spouse and parents 16 per cent

Even if they want to live on their own, they want to live near their parents

- Want to live close by 72 per cent

- Want to live in the same neighbourhood 36 per cent

- Want to live in the same town 18 per cent

- Want to live next door 9 per cent

- Want to live in the same block 9 per cent


How far do they live from their parents?

- Live in a different region 40 per cent

- Live in the same region 29 per cent

- Live in the same neighbourhood 15 per cent

How often do they visit their parents?

- At least once a week 66 per cent

- Daily 16 per cent


Top reasons for wanting to live apart from their married children

- To have independence and privacy 44 per cent

- Not enough space 20 per cent

- To avoid conflict with child's spouse 17 per cent

Top reasons for wanting to live with their married children

- To look after their grandchildren 56 per cent

- They are close to their child 19 per cent

How far do they live or want to live from their children?

- Same neighbourhood or closer 63 per cent

This article was first published on June 5, 2014.
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