Enough homes so young Singaporeans 'need not worry'
SOME 200,000 homes will be ready by 2016, said National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan yesterday in Parliament, as he sought to assure Singaporeans that progress is being made in "relieving the strains we feel today".
Of these, 111,159 are HDB flats, 9,800 are executive condominiums and 76,600 are private property units.
And even as those projects are going on, the Government is continuing to launch more flats and sell land to developers.
Once the current backlog of demand is cleared, said Mr Khaw, the Housing Board will start to build up a "meaningful stock of unsold HDB flats to meet the needs of couples who may need housing urgently".
"In short, young Singaporeans, you do not have to worry," he said.
He revealed that for the longer term, the Ministry of National Development (MND) has reserved sufficient land to develop another half a million housing units.
If fully realised, this would increase housing stock at a proportion that is double the projected population growth, he noted.
This is a kiasu approach to give planners plenty of buffer, he said.
Mr Khaw also reassured young Singaporeans that flat prices are within their reach, especially since he has delinked the prices of Build-To-Order (BTO) flats from the resale market.
Since Mr Khaw took over the housing portfolio in 2011, he has unpegged the prices of BTO flats from resale flats in the vicinity.
So, BTO prices are stabilised by "increasing the government subsidy when resale prices rise, instead of following resale prices up", he explained.
This will continue until the resale market stabilises, he said.
"We are determined to tame the property market, especially the HDB resale market," he said.
Property cooling measures last month - the seventh in three years - should help to do that, he said, promising that "if necessary, we will do more".
Mr Khaw characterised his new approach to housing provision, and the Government's new strategy in infrastructural development, as being not just about building ahead of demand, but also setting aside enough space to provide options for future generations.
He described it as "planning for unknown unknowns", since no one could predict what the world would be like beyond 2020 and 2030.
"They (future generations) can decide what they want to do with the options, to create the kind of society that they want," he said.
Mr Khaw explained that new land reclamation and recycling the use of existing land was a key part of the move to create options.
He cited the Southern Waterfront City - to be created by moving port facilities at Tanjong Pagar, Pulau Brani, Keppel and Pasir Panjang to Tuas - as an example. It would serve as the western wing of the Central Business District where Marina Bay now serves as the eastern wing.
"So the CBD, eastern wing, western wing together will offer a bigger scope, much more than Marina Bay. This is an exciting option beyond 2030 and it is totally within our grasp." he said.