Policy allowing developers to sell off free spaces for more profit under review: Khaw

National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan has asked the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) to review and fix the policy allowing developers to sell off free spaces to make additional profit for themselves.

He said this in a blog post, “Who Gets Short-Changed?”, on Monday, on the heels of recent launches of executive condominium (EC) projects.

Mr Khaw noted that in these projects, super-sized units were offered and snapped up by buyers who did not appear to be from the “sandwiched” households.

He said understandably, there was public indignation that there were “deviations” from the government’s intention of meeting the needs of such households through ECs.

Mr Khaw said the developers explained that such super EC units were a minority, and that they were snapped up by buyers who could actually afford private properties as they had priced them low.

One such developer, he noted, priced its super penthouse at S$470 per square foot (psf), while selling the other smaller typical EC units at S$770 psf. He was referring to CityLife@Tampines, which made the news for a penthouse unit with a record price tag of S$2.05 million.

The unit was snapped up within two hours of its launch.

Mr Khaw said communal sky terraces have been effective in promoting greenery and providing useful common amenities for residents.

But the creation and sale of super-sized private roof terraces is becoming more prevalent.

This is also happening on the ground floor, where it’s referred to as “private enclosed space” or PES, for the buyer.

Mr Khaw said under URA rules, it’s “not improper” for developers to sell off free spaces to make additional profit.

But he’s concerned that as more developers do so with larger private roof terraces and PES, communal space in the development that benefits all residents will shrink.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 7 Jan 2013

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