Affordable housing near city centre needed too

The Government must not look at just developing new towns in the outskirts like Tengah, Jurong West, Woodlands, Sembawang and Pasir Ris, but must also relook the redevelopment of old housing estates like those in South Bridge Road, North Bridge Road, Beach Roador those nearer to the Central Business District.

Over the last 20 years, sites in older Housing Board estates like Tiong Bahru and Queenstown have been sold to private developers because it generated more revenue.

However, the Government must allow HDB flats to be built closer to town as well, so that all Singaporeans have a chance to buy them.

The high cost of private property is partly driven by foreigners and permanent residents who buy more than one property. The current buyer's and seller's stamp duties for foreigners and PRs should be set higher to deter them from speculating on local property.

As for collective sales in older estates, an approval from a minimum of 90 per cent of the residents must be required rather than just 80 per cent. The Government should also impose a rule that HDB flat owners who bought directly from HDB can sell their flats only after 10 years.

Wages of most Singaporeans have not increased fast enough to cope with the rising property market.

Therefore, it is imperative that the Government build affordable public housing in new towns as well as in mature housing estates nearer to the CBD.

David Goh Chee Hoe

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 24, 2018, with the headline 'Affordable housing near city centre needed too'. Print Edition | Subscribe