Government trying to find new balance on flat prices

The Government is trying to find a new balance between keeping new flats affordable yet fulfilling Singaporeans' desires for their home values to rise, said Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Grace Fu on Sunday.

For decades, new flat prices were pegged to resale ones, so that home owners' asset values would grow, she said.

"If we were selling Build-To- Order flats at a much lower price than resale flats, you would find people turning away from resale and then flat prices would be less able to rise," she explained to Jalan Kayu residents at a dialogue.

But this peg, which was removed in 2011, also made the price of new flats spiral out of young Singaporeans' reach as prices in the resale market spiked 80 per cent in the last six years.

The opposing concerns within a family exemplified the Government's challenge, Ms Fu pointed out. "Sometimes we hear parents say, flats should be cheaper so my son or daughter can buy. But don't depress (prices) so much because I want my house (value) to stay high."

She was responding to a resident who wondered if resale flat prices would depreciate, after National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan's comment last week that the HDB should be a price-setter in public housing.

Residents also aired municipal concerns, such as noise and environmental pollution in Serangoon North due to the Keppel Digihub and a construction site under another company.

While Keppel Digihub will install shutters to address the issue of soot, Ang Mo Kio GRC MP Intan Azura Mokhtar said grassroots leaders are finding it harder to get the construction firm to stop piling works after 10pm as it is behind schedule.