SINGAPORE — At least 20,000 new Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats will be built next year, said National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan on his blog on Monday.
Mr Khaw said the government has made steady progress in ramping up supply and stabilising the housing market, and it wants to keep up the momentum and help more Singaporeans own their own flats.
"I expect this sustained supply to firmly stabilise the housing market. This will give Singaporeans many options as they make their flat purchases prudently and wisely," he said.
Mr Khaw said the application rates for July’s Build—To—Order (BTO) exercise showed that the ramp—up in supply of flats since last year — to hit a total of 50,000 by the end of this year — has helped flat—buyers and has made an impact on application rates.
"First—timer application rates remain below 2.0. This means that almost all first—timers will get the chance to select a flat when they apply for one, especially in non—mature estates," said Mr Khaw. "Second—timer application rates, which used to exceed 25, have come down significantly. This means there is more certainty for second—timers to get a new flat."
The second—timer application rates for the July BTO exercise, according to data released by the HDB on Monday, stands at 11.4.
Large flats proved to be the most popular amongst potential home buyers. As of 5pm Monday, each four—room flat in Clementi received about four applications from first—time applicants.
The five—room flats in Punggol also received about four applications per unit offered from first—time applicants.
Although the Special Housing Grant has been extended to three—room flats in non—mature estates, the take—up rate for these projects has remained fairly low.
The three projects in Choa Chu Kang and Punggol attracted about one application per unit offered from first—time applicants.
More than 11,600 applications from both first— and second—timers have been received so far. Applications close at midnight.
The signs are so encouraging that one property watcher believes the quota of new flats allocated to second—time applicants should be increased.
Currently, 5 per cent of new flats in mature estates and 15 per cent in non—mature estates are set aside for them.
Chief Executive Officer of PropNex, Mohd Ismail, explains why the increase is timely. He said: "The second—timers have been knocking on the doors for a period of time, and there has been a lot of hope that these percentages of the success rate for them will be increased.
"Looking at the last two launches, we have seen definitely a stabilised figure for the first—timers. So with this status, I think it’s very timely to review (the quota of new flats for) the second—timers so that their chances of getting a flat would be much enhanced."
Despite plans to build 20,000 new flats next year, analysts note that the number is 20 per cent lower than this year’s 25,000 new flats — a signal that the breakneck speed of construction can be reduced.
Property watchers said it’s the right time to cut down on the supply of new flats, calling it a prudent and cautious measure to prevent a glut in the market.
This comes as the pent—up demand from first—timers appears to have largely been met.
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