HDB deficit spikes sharply to almost S$2 billion

The Housing and Development Board (HDB) saw its deficit in the last financial year more than double to S$1.973 billion as it stepped up the building of homes.

According to HDB’s annual report, its overall net deficit for the last financial year – from April 2013 to March 2014 – was S$1.973 billion before Government grants, up from S$797 million the previous year. Its home ownership segment reported a deficit of S$1.927 billion, up from S$719 million.

HDB attributed the deficit to efforts to deliver on its building programme, which aims to help more Singaporeans own homes as well as provide homes for lower-income families.

A total of 13,310 homes were sold in the last financial year, 2,777 units more than the previous year, according to the annual report.

HDB also said it made a series of enhancements to its programmes in the last year. This includes raising the income ceiling for the Special CPF Housing Grant, as well as extending the scheme to first-time buyers of four-room flats in non-mature estates from July 2013.

Since the scheme was introduced in 2011, about 10,500 households have benefited from the grant. As of October this year, HDB said it has disbursed about S$158 million. Of the households which have benefited, more than 8,700 took up the grant after the enhancement. The majority of these households were eligible or had received a bigger grant as a result of the changes, HDB said.

HDB’s upgrading segment reported its deficit had narrowed to S$568 million dollars from S$619 million the previous year, due to the Lift Upgrading Programme coming to an end. The S$5 billion programme has been implemented in 98 per cent of HDB blocks that were built without direct lift access.

According to the report, lift upgrading works have been completed in 72 precincts under the programme. As of October this year, works for the remaining 66 precincts under the programme are on track, HDB said.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 17 Dec 2014

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