HDB's net deficit up 80% in last FY before govt grant

PHOTO: HDB's net deficit up 80% in last FY before govt grant

SINGAPORE - The net deficit of the Housing and Development Board (HDB) increased 80 per cent in the last financial year (FY2012/2013), to $797 million from $443 million.

This was before a $1.04 billion government grant it received in the same financial year.

In its annual report released yesterday, HDB said the higher deficit stemmed from a larger deficit for its Home Ownership segment. The category covers the development and sale of flats to eligible buyers under the various home ownership schemes for public housing.

The number of flats sold this year stood at 10,533, which was 2,016 units fewer than last year.

HDB recorded a gross loss of $231 million on sales in FY2012/2013; it also disbursed $178 million in CPF housing grants to eligible buyers of resale flats.

Meanwhile, more flats were built in the last financial year compared with the one prior, as HDB ramped up its building programme.

HDB's chief executive officer, Cheong Koon Hean, noted that a total of 72,737 dwelling units were constructed in the last financial year - up 27.75 per cent from the 56,938 units built the year before.

"This has not only served the purpose of meeting the needs of various groups of home buyers, but has also helped in rebalancing the supply and demand situation. The challenge ahead is to ensure smooth completion and delivery of the new flats, given the large volume and resources involved," said Dr Cheong.

In 2012, HDB launched 27,084 flats under the Build-To-Order (BTO) system - the largest BTO supply in a year since the system was introduced in 2002.

Just as new units have been built, older estates have also seen rejuvenation, said HDB chairman James Koh Cher Siang.

He highlighted several ongoing programmes to upgrade existing facilities or to provide new ones altogether - including Punggol's enhancement as a waterfront town.

Said Mr Koh: "As the HDB building programme is being ramped up and despite the immense pressure this exerts on the building industry, we must ensure timely delivery of our flats without compromises on the quality."

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