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HDB to offer 8,000 flats

It will 'calibrate supply' to meet some of the demand - but not all

As published in The Straits Times
09 July 09 (Thursday)

By Jessica Cheam


HDB plans to launch a further 2,400 flats from April to September, subject to demand. The bulk of these will be in Punggol. -- ST FILE PHOTO



THE Housing and Development Board (HDB) will offer 8,000 new flats this year, or more if the pickup is stronger, said National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan on Wednesday. He said the board is monitoring demand and will 'calibrate its supply of new flats' to meet some of that demand - but not all.

The HDB launched about 1,300 new flats in the first quarter of the year under its build-to-order (BTO) system, where units are built only when a certain level of demand is reached.

It plans to launch a further 2,400 such flats from April to September, subject to demand. The bulk of these will be in Punggol.

Last year, the HDB launched about 7,800 new flats under its BTO system.

Mr Mah, who was speaking on the sidelines of an industry event, said prices in the HDB resale market have stabilised.

Recent HDB flash estimates showed that resale prices rose 1.2 per cent in the second quarter to hit a record high after dipping 0.8 per cent in the first quarter. This surprised analysts and industry observers, who had expected prices to fall amid Singapore's worst recession.

But Mr Mah said: 'The fact is that the HDB market is a large market...with prices going up or down by 1 per cent, I would term it a stable market, not a rising market.'

He also said the HDB will continue to supply new housing units but 'we cannot be building new flats to cater to every last person who wants a new flat...because if you do that, then obviously you are over-building'.

Some of the new demand will have to be met by resale flats, which have advantages in that buyers can move in immediately and select the location of the flats, he said.

If there is increased demand, the HDB will push out more units, he added. 'In this way, we manage the demand and, at the same time, that helps to keep the HDB resale market prices stable. I think that's something all HDB flat owners will welcome.'

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