Forum: Focus on resale market to address public housing issues

It is good to know that the Government is considering measures to ensure the affordability of Build-To-Order (BTO) flats in prime areas for Singaporeans, and also to preserve the inclusive character of public housing in such estates (Buyers of BTO flats in prime areas may get more subsidies, Dec 12).

These measures would certainly address the issue of social stratification that has crept in over the years due to the premium such flats command, particularly in the resale market.

At the same time, National Development Minister Desmond Lee aptly pointed out the issue of fairness, which may arise when the additional subsidies add to higher capital gains for buyers of such flats, and the need to balance it with the objectives of affordability and inclusivity.

To address this, it is pertinent that focus be placed on targeted measures in the Housing Board resale market.

Measures can include mandatory resale to HDB, some form of price control, high capital gain tax and sharing of profits with HDB.

The lottery effect should not be allowed to perpetuate in the public housing arena, where subsidies are funded by the country's resources.

More importantly, we should not forget or deviate from the original spirit and mandate of HDB to provide affordable housing to Singaporeans who need it.

Karen Yip Lai Kham

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