Monday, November 12, 2007

HDB will be ramping up its building programme to offer over 4,000 new flats in the months ahead.

Property prices have been climbing in the past months, but the government does not plan to take further action to cool the property market for now.

The assurance came from National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan who was responding to MPs’ concerns in Parliament on Monday.

Q3 figures showed an 8.3 percent increase in prices of private residential properties, while prices of HDB resale flats rose by a 10-year high of 6.6 percent.

Last month, the government announced that it would do away with the deferred payment scheme for property purchases.

Seen as a move to reduce speculative activity and to stabilise the market, Mr Mah said the measure was sufficient for now.

He said: “If there is a need to act, we would. But at this point in time, there is no need and no intention for us to take any further action.

“The position that the government takes is that we will provide information on the supply-and-demand situation. We will put out supply as much as we can, taking into account medium- and long-term positions, and our bias is really not to over-regulate or to interfere in the market.”

Mr Mah also said the withdrawal of the deferred payment scheme has not affected genuine buyers.

Another concern raised was whether there is a shortage of private residential units in Singapore.

MP Ho Geok Choo of West Coast GRC asked Mr Mah to cite the means with which the National Development Ministry would consider increasing the supply of property.

Mr Mah replied: “At the end of Q3 2007, there was a supply stock in the pipeline of 65,000 units. This, in fact, is higher than the supply at the end of Q2 – 56,000 units.

“If Singaporeans are aware of these figures – and these are numbers that we put out regularly – there is no reason for Singaporeans to panic and feel that there is a real shortage in the medium term.”

The same applies to public housing - as HDB will be ramping up its building programme to offer over 4,000 new flats in the months ahead.

Mr Mah added that more sites will also be put up under the Government Land Sales Programme in the first half of next year, if necessary.

But this will be done carefully so as not to create an oversupply situation in the longer term.

Source : ChannelNewsAsia - 12 Nov 2007

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