HDB projects 10,000-12,000 new flats needed annually over next 5 years

The Housing & Development Board (HDB) has projected it will need to offer between 10,000 and 12,000 new flats per annum over the next five years to meet the housing demand in Singapore.

Speaking in Parliament on Monday, National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan re-assured that there will be enough affordable flats for first time buyers.

This year, at least 13,500 flats will be offered in total – enough to fill at least half of Bukit Panjang or Pasir Ris, said Mr Mah.

In fact, the ministry was able to ramp up supply quickly at mid-year when demand rebounded.

The minister noted that despite the high demand for housing, expectations of first-time buyers have changed over the years, with many demanding for flats in prime estates or on higher floors.

“I cannot build flats only in the mature estates, only in the city area. I cannot build flats that are only on high floors.”

“We were living in a three-room flat in Kim Keat Avenue – eight of us (shared) three bedrooms, one toilet and bathroom,” Mr Mah said of his past experience. “It was basic but it was like a palace to use because I had just come from a one-room in Chinatown.

Mr Mah explained that the five-year projection serves as a guide for the Build-To-Order system – which is more flexible and can then respond to changes in demand.

With more foreigners coming to live and work in Singapore, Members of Parliament (MPs) also asked whether this new group was adding further to the demand pressure for flats.

“PRs are not eligible for buying new flats, even in the resale market, quite a lot of them actually rent. They are under-represented as far as purchases are concerned,” explained the minister.

Mr Mah also gave an idea of how flats are priced, saying that they are not based on cost plus profit, but the flat’s market price minus the subsidy.

Hence, the cost of a flat could vary from S$230,000 for a room flat in Punggol to a S$530,000 for a five-room flat in Tiong Bahru.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 23 Nov 2009

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