HDB annual deficit down to $1.639 billion due to lower supply of new flats

Blocks of HDB flats in Hougang.
Blocks of HDB flats in Hougang.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The Housing and Development Board (HDB) incurred a deficit of $1.639 billion in the financial year of 2015/2016, according to its annual report released on Thursday (Oct 13).

The deficit from home ownership alone - which comprises gross loss onthe sale of flats, CPF housing grants disbursed and the expected loss for flats currently under development - amounted to $1.179 billion.

Compared to the previous financial year, home ownership deficit was down 32.7 per cent from $1.753 billion.

The HDB attributed this drop in deficit to the tapering off of flat supply.

"With the overall public housing market showing continued signs of stabilising, HDB has gradually tapered off the supply of new flats since 2014," said the HDB in a statement.

"As a result, fewer contracts were awarded for the development of flats in FY2015/2016, hence accounting for the lower deficit from 'home ownership'."

In the same financial year ending March 31, 2016, the HDB launched three sales exercises for Build-To-Order flats. These exercises offered over 15,000 flats across 19 projects.

This was fewer than the 19,800 flats launched in the previous financial year.

Some 2,206 rental flats were also built in the 2015/2016 financial year, bringing the total stock of rental flats to 55,131 units.

On the estate upgrading front, 18,960 units in 22 housing projects underwent the Home Improvement Programme (HIP), which addresses maintenance problems in ageing flats. This brings the total number of completed HIP projects to 67 since the scheme's inception in 2007.

Some 22,360 households across 12 housing projects also went through the Neighbourhood Renewal Programme (NRP), which carries out precinct and block-level improvement works. A total of 33 projects have undergone NRP since its introduction in 2007.

More households benefitted from grants following policy changes in the past financial year.

A total of 6,173 households received one or more CPF Housing Grant, up from 4,959 in the previous year.

Of these, 2,392 households received the new Proximity Housing Grant, which was introduced in August 2015 to help families live closer together.

Meanwhile, the estimated percentage of Singapore's resident population living in HDB flats remained unchanged at 82 per cent.