Resale flat prices a hot topic at forum

Resale flat prices a hot topic at forum

LOWER the prices of resale flats or at the very least maintain them - that was the wish of most participants at an Our Singapore Conversation session on affordable housing this week.

Only a handful of the 50 attending Wednesday night's session were in favour of letting resale prices rise gradually to keep pace with inflation.

Scrapping the cash-over-valuation (COV) premium was one of the most popular ideas on how to bring prices down. The COV is a cash amount above a resale Housing Board flat's valuation. It is negotiated by sellers and buyers and paid by the latter.

Civil servant Fiona Tan, 42, said: "I don't understand why COVs are necessary, since a flat's value would have been determined by the valuer.

"These premiums stress buyers out, especially for singles who have just one income stream. I just want a roof over my head and hope that one day it becomes an affordable dream for us, like it was for my parents' generation."

But others were quick to defend the COV's role.

"It's market forces. There must be something to differentiate between units," said Mr Sonny Wee, 37. The service manager said it was the valuation of a flat, rather than the COV in itself, which drove up resale prices.

Some also pointed out that even if COVs were banned, they would still be likely to go on "under the table".

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