More smaller flats in pipeline for singles and seniors: Khaw

The Housing and Development Board (HDB) will be building more two-room flats to allow more singles to realise their dreams of owning their homes.

Authorities will also continue to push out a steady stream of studio apartments to help the seniors right-size, if they wish, said National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan.

For families, the authorities will begin to reduce the supply of three-room, four-room and five-room flats.

Mr Khaw made the comments on Monday in his blog post on tweaking the supply of Build-To-Order (BTO) public housing.

Mr Khaw said: “Together with the series of cooling measures, the housing market has now largely stabilised, with cash-over-valuation (COVs) in the resale market reaching new lows. This is good for buyers, both for first-timer and second-timer homebuyers.”

“We are analysing the demand for BTO flats. It is not uniform, varying from two-room to five-room flats. The difference is most stark between family applicants and applicants who are singles,” he added.

As a new housing scheme, the application rates for singles were especially high. It was 58 for the first BTO launch, but has since dropped to 27 in the November BTO launch.

The ramped up programme has cleared much of the backlog from family applicants.

This was especially so for first-time applicants — their application rate went down steadily from 2.4 in January to 1.3 in November.

Second-timer application rate also fell significantly, from 14.9 in January to 2.7 in November.

The application rate for studio apartments steadied at an average of 2.1 in 2013, and the final take-up was less than 70 per cent for the first six months.

Mr Khaw said the data will help shape the tapering of public housing for 2014, and the exact details will be finalised and announced soon.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 16 Dec 2013

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