Ever since the Government announced that new HDB flats will come at a lower price, HDB flat owners have been expressing fears of losing their nest egg should prices of flats drop. But as new flats are limited to only certain groups and limited in terms of type and location, will there necessarily be a drastic drop in resale flat prices and are we worrying too early? Though the number of resale flat transactions have decreased, prices continue to remain high. And there will always be those who wish to choose a flat of their liking in a location they prefer, as opposed to trying perhaps numerous times in the HDB ballot queue.
Mr Khaw reassured Singaporeans that while prices of HDB flat will only drop “a few per cent over the next few years”, but in the same breath said that the prices of HDB flats cannot keep rising forever. “If housing prices keep rising,it won’t be good. When I came into the MND (Ministry of National Development) two years ago, that was my target”. And much has been done since then, with the ramp up of BTO flat supply, changes in income ceiling, limits on HDB flat sizes, increase in number of allocated flats for both first and second-timers, and even allowing singles to buy new HDB flats.
During the recent Our Singapore Conversation (OSC) dialogue, the idea of selling back new flats only to the Housing Board was faced with much opposition. Homeowners naturally worry that their homes will lose their value and cut them off from the profit they can earn by selling it in the open market. Mr Khaw admits that resale flat prices are difficult to manage as they are largely subjected to the market demand. SLP International executive director Nicholas Mak speculates that one way of gently letting resale HDB flat prices drop is to decrease the prices of new HDB flats in the same estate.
Recent debate also surround the Executive Condominium (EC) scheme\. While some have said that those who can afford an EC should not receive subsidies from the Government, the scheme was specifically initiated to help those who may not qualify for other HDB subsidy schemes. Thus should ECs still be considered a value-added profit-making asset for their owners?