Khaw mulls larger combined BTO launches

National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan says he is considering moving away from the current practice of monthly launches of Build-To-Order HDB flats and explore ways to have larger combined launches.

In the latest entry on his blog, Mr Khaw said he has been advised to do larger launches.

Mr Khaw thinks this is sound advice.

He said larger launches offer buyers a wider range of choices and reduce the odds of repeated disappointment.

Mr Khaw said he is working with the HDB to see how the June and July launches can be combined for a larger launch.

He also pledged to price them wisely, adding that they will certainly not be near the prices suggested in the recent Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) flats.

He was referring to a private developer’s DBSS launch in Tampines, with the upper end of the 5-room units priced at S$880,000.

Noting that it has caused a stir in the social media, he said the negative reaction was not surprising.

Mr Khaw also explained the difference between DBSS developments and mainstream public housing projects built by the HDB.

He explained that DBSS is a class of housing type between HDB flats and executive condominiums/private condos.

DBSS forms a tiny portion of the total housing options for Singaporeans.

Mr Khaw pointed out that while HDB flats are designed and priced by HDB, DBSS flats are designed and priced by private developers.

He said if the private developer prices it too high and there are no takers, there will be no sales.

Mr Khaw said netizens would like his ministry to come in and tell the private developer to cut its price.

He explained that when private developers tender for the land, price control is not a condition of the tender.

He added that if contracts that have been awarded can be varied arbitrarily, Singapore’s reputation as a business hub will be damaged, with severe repercussions.

But he said netizens are not powerless.

He said if buyers find a price too high, they can walk away.

On his part, he is ramping up more BTO launches and pricing them appropriately.

He said the HDB is launching 25,000 units this year. Of these, 12,000 units have already been launched. Another 13,000 units will be launched later this year, averaging 1,800 units per month.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 18 Jun 2011