A more ‘balanced’ market

New rules for BTO applications have helped genuine public housing buyers: Mah

THE private market may have quietened, but the housing board resale market remains “quite active”, said Minister for National Development Mah Bow Tan.

:”Transactions are still strong – not as strong as six months ago, but still relatively strong,” Mr Mah said, on the sidelines of a community event yesterday.:

:”It’s a real demand, a real market for people to buy a flat to live in, unlike the private market where some people buy to live, some to invest, some for speculation. So long as there are new families being formed and new immigrants coming in, the HDB market will remain a very active one.”

Supply and demand, he added, was now more balanced. “Because of the uncertainty … people are a bit more cautious,” he said. “I think people realise that there’s adequate supply coming on stream, they don’t have to panic, we’re pushing out more Build-To-Order (BTO) flats. Those who can afford to wait, they’ll wait.”

As for the new rules for flat applicants, the minister was glad that they have had their intended effect.

Fewer applicants have come forward for the two recent projects in Punggol and Sengkang.

Launched last month by the Housing and Development Board (HDB), Compassvale Pearl in Sengkang and Punggol Sapphire attracted 4,050 applications for 1,485 flats – half the number of applications than before the new rules kicked in.

Under the new ruling, a first-time buyer who twice rejects an offer to buy a flat at a Built-To-Order or balloting sales exercise will lose his first-timer priorities for a year.

“The intent is really to encourage people registering for flats to take their applications seriously and, in that sense, the changes had some positive impact. That will ensure that those who really need a flat will be able to get a flat,” said Mr Mah yesterday on the sidelines of a community event. 

Source : Today – 16 Jun 2008

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