Forum: Apply some prime housing measures to current flat owners

I read with interest the new prime location public housing model announced by the Housing Board (Subsidy clawback, 10-year MOP for new prime location HDB flats to keep them affordable, inclusive, Oct 27).

I applaud the authorities' bold efforts in trying to keep HDB flats affordable.

However, for the measures to be meaningful, some of them should apply to current home owners as well.

By applying the measures to only new launches, current resale flats in prime areas will become more expensive as supply decreases with the new extended minimum occupation period (MOP), exacerbating the lottery effect that the HDB is trying to avoid.

While certain measures such as the extended MOP, if applied to current home owners, can be disruptive, I believe other measures such as the clawback of subsidies and tighter rules on rental should be implemented on current home owners for there to be a meaningful effect on housing prices now.

Care should also be taken to avoid scenarios where the clawback of subsidies gets passed on to the buyer, leading to even higher resale flat prices.

The new measures may be a bitter pill for home owners to swallow, but we must first and foremost remember that HDB flats are meant for owner occupation and not as an investment vehicle.

This has been emphasised repeatedly and bold steps must be taken on both current and future home owners to ensure a more just public housing system for future generations.

Hoong Jian Ming

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