Parliament: No plans to buy back HDB flats from owners who cannot sell them due to ethnic quota

Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong said that the HDB provides a daily update of transacted prices online to help HDB home owners and buyers make informed decisions.
Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong said that the HDB provides a daily update of transacted prices online to help HDB home owners and buyers make informed decisions.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

SINGAPORE - There are no plans for the Government to buy back Housing Board flats from owners who cannot sell them due to the Ethnic Integration Policy (EIP), said Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong on Tuesday (Oct 2).

He was responding to Mr Lim Biow Chuan (Mountbatten), who had made the suggestion to help non-Chinese flat owners avoid "the squeeze" of the EIP effect on prices.

The policy was implemented in 1989 to ensure a balanced mix of ethnic groups living in HDB estates, in a bid to promote racial harmony and strengthen social cohesion. Under the policy, each racial group can take up a certain range of proportions in an HDB block and precinct.

Some minority home owners have complained that this makes it difficult for them to sell their flats on the resale market. In September, The Straits Times received three Forum letters on the subject from minority flat owners, who detailed how hard it was for them or their friends to resell their units.

But the EIP is not the only factor determining whether a flat can be sold, said Mr Wong.

"While home owners may have their own expectations of how much their flat can sell for, flat attributes such as location, storey height, physical condition of the flat, remaining lease and market sentiments would also be considered by prospective home buyers," he said.

He added that the HDB provides a daily update of transacted prices online to help HDB home owners and buyers make an informed decision in their price negotiation.

 
 

For those who are unable to sell their flats, HDB may grant them an extension of time and advise them to be realistic about their asking prices, he said, adding that the HDB will "continue to exercise flexibility for households with exceptional circumstances".