Public flats will continue to appreciate in value as long as the Singapore economy continues to grow. And with limited space, the future of public housing looks set to go up – with more skyscraper flats to be built.
Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew said this as he launched The Pinnacle@Duxton, which at 50 storeys, is the tallest HDB development in Singapore.
The first rental HDB blocks in Tanjong Pagar were built in 1963 on the site where The Pinnacle@Duxton stands. Today, it is the site of the tallest HDB in the country and the scene has changed significantly.
Minister Mentor Lee attributes the change to an early policy decision to build a home-owning society, which is what motivates Singaporeans to upgrade this asset for a better life, something which could not have happened with just rental flats.
Going forward, Mr Lee expects more such flats to be built.
He said: “The Pinnacle@Duxton is therefore a good example that if the nation continues to do well, we can build more flats of this standard. But we should not make a quick profit from a resale of HDB flats. The rules on minimum occupation and requirement for family units nucleus are to discourage speculative purchases.”
Mr Lee gave out keys to seven of the first families to move in and visited one family, whose father had rented a flat in the area previously.
Speaking to reporters later, he said the government could have built a condominium in its place but preferred to build public flats in this central area and share the growth of the city with the people who had rented flats in the area before.
Responding to questions later on about young couples who are concerned about flat affordability, Mr Lee said this is linked to the country’s growth – if the country is doing well, property prices go up.
But if the economy goes down, unemployment goes up but incomes and property values decline.
One thing that will be going up is the height of future public housing.
Mr Lee said: “Well, it’s a very special problem we face because we can’t expand the city naturally, we have to expand the city vertically. Yes, we can have more (land) reclamations but that’s only about 10, 15 per cent and we’ve reached the limit. Therefore, I see more and more of the old blocks being demolished and new blocks like The Pinnacle@Duxton being built.”
Units at The Pinnacle@Duxton cost an average of $486,000 for a 4-room flat and $590,000 for a 5-room flat, when the last of the units were released in October.
The 50th-storey skybridge will also be open to non-residents for a $5 fee.
Source : Channel NewsAsia – 13 Dec 2009