The Government will be reducing the housing supply next year, to prevent a glut in the market. On Monday (Oct 20), National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan said the number of Build-to-Order (BTO) flats to be launched next year will be reduced by 25 per cent.
This means a BTO programme of about 16,000 units next year, a drop from this year’s 22,400 units. The number of sites released under the Government Land Sales Programme will also be reduced.
Mr Khaw shared this at a live interview on the first episode of news and current affairs programme Hello Singapore, a one-hour show that airs on weekdays at 6.30pm on MediaCorp’s Channel 8.
The 22,400 BTO flats launched this year was a reduction of 10 per cent from last year’s numbers. During the record construction programme from 2011 to 2013, more than 25,000 BTO flats were launched per year, totalling 77,000 units, to meet pent-up demand.
Mr Khaw added that the Government’s effort has been effective in clearing the waiting queue for BTO flats and that it was time to change gears with the market stabilising.
“Because of the great shortage, we had to ramp up very rapidly, so each year (we launched) 25,000 units, (for) successively three years from 2011 to 2013,” he noted. “Obviously we cannot carry on like this, it may cause a big problem. This year, we have already started to taper down.”
In line with the decrease, the number of BTO sales launches next year will be reduced from six to four a year. Each quarterly launch will offer around 4,000 units. Currently, sales launches of BTO flats are held once every two months. From next year, they will be held once every three months.
Mr Eugene Lim, key executive officer at ERA Realty, was surprised by the significant cut. He said: “The impact on the resale market would be quite good. Currently, the resale market has taken a beating because of the ramped-up new supply.
“The reduced supply is also happening at a time when the resale prices are stabilising. We can expect more buyers to possibly come back to the resale market next year.”
HELPING THOSE WHO WANT TO LIVE NEAR EXTENDED FAMILY
The Government will also take steps to help families who want to live near one another. Currently, such applicants get extra ballot chances. From the next BTO exercise, a proportion of flat supply will be set aside for them. Priority will also be given to those applying to live under one roof, and to parents who own a flat in mature estates and apply for a flat in non-mature estates to live near their married children.
Mr Khaw said that these suggestions came up during the recent Housing Conversations. He added that property cooling measures will remain, and gave the assurance that as the country progresses, Singaporeans will not be left behind.
For example, construction works have started for a new rental block in the Bishan area, near the Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery. It is located opposite the Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park, and will be near the MRT station from the future Thomson Line.
Mr Khaw said that this is the Government’s way of helping low-income families improve their living conditions and share the fruits of Singapore’s economic success.
Source : Channel NewsAsia – 20 Oct 2014