The Straits Times
Published on Nov 13, 2012

Don't blame PRs for steep HDB resale price hikes


IN HIS commentary ("Avoid feast and famine in housing"; Nov 4), managing editor Han Fook Kwang raised the point that "making the HDB market - both for new and resale flats - exclusively for citizens is the best safeguard for the future to ensure that public housing prices will always remain within reach of the majority of Singaporeans".

Currently, besides racial quotas, the Housing Board also has a permanent resident (PR) quota for resale flat buyers.

It is reasonable to allow PRs to buy HDB resale flats as many are middle-income white-collar executives who are serious about making Singapore their long-term home. Many are also not that cash-rich.

Cash-rich PRs have the option to purchase private properties.

One of the reasons why property prices have increased steeply since 2007 is the low interest rate environment, which is difficult for the Government to control.

I do not think PRs buying HDB flats really contribute that much to the price increase.

The real upward pressure comes from rising private property prices, and as this increase spills over to the HDB market, the more well-off middle-income Singaporeans have to spend more to buy premium HDB flats rather than upgrade to private properties.

Khoo Boon Lee (Ms)