SINGAPORE - Suggestions for more equitable access for singles to housing types across mature and non-mature estates and prime locations will be studied, as well as other ideas that emerged in the Forward Singapore exercise, National Development Minister Desmond Lee said.

Speaking on Sunday to about 90 participants in the ongoing exercise to engage Singaporeans on their housing needs and aspirations, he noted that while home ownership was a strong theme in discussions with various groups of singles and second-time buyers, “their circumstances varied greatly, and the needs are very diverse”.

“We know that if we leave everything to market forces, and only provide a rental social safety net, we will become like other cosmopolitan, successful cities, but also inherit the same housing woes they have... where home ownership is dismal and rental stresses mean that landlords determine the fate of tenants.”

To address affordability concerns, some ideas being considered include a variation of “rent-to-own” models – where tenants have the option to buy the property they are renting after some time – and the possibility of buying flats sold with shorter leases. This is to cater to some singles who may wish to rent initially because of financial reasons, or for flexibility.