The Ministry of National Development will impose a cap on the percentage of foreigners in Housing Board estates, Minister Khaw Boon Wan wrote in a blog post on Friday.
While Member of Parliament Foo Mee Har (West Coast) has suggested a 10 per cent cap on the number of flats that can be sublet to foreigners in each block, Mr Khaw said that "an appropriate cap" will soon be decided upon. He wrote: "I am mindful of the need to balance the impact on those who rely on subletting for additional income, especially the elderly."
Currently, only Singapore citizens and Permanent Residents can buy HDB flats. But foreigners can rent rooms or entire flats - there is no cap on the number of flats that can be sublet to foreign tenants as yet.
According to HDB statistics, less than 4 per cent of HDB flats are sublet to foreigners, excluding Malaysians. However, Mr Khaw said the proportion may go up to 9 per cent in some areas, or even 18 per cent in some blocks. "I agreed with MP Foo Mee Har that we need to maintain the Singaporean character of our heartlands. In principle, MND has agreed to impose such a cap. The question is at what level," Mr Khaw wrote.