Keep to spirit behind EC scheme

Keep to spirit behind EC scheme
Above photo is National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan.

SINGAPORE - First came shoebox apartments.

Now, there are monster executive condominiums (ECs) of a size that could fit in three or four families comfortably.

In between, there had been DBSS (Design, Build and Sell Scheme) state housing flats priced at levels not far below those of suburban private condos.

Property developers who build for the mass market are constantly on the lookout for niche demand that will improve returns on land and build cost.

Provided meeting these minority requirements falls within the guidelines of price affordability and responsible land use, developers are best left undisturbed to innovate as they are sensitive to market signals.

The Government should step in only when general price stability is threatened and asset inflation could undermine the wider economy.

None of the examples cited meets affordability and space tests - and the comeback from National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan has been unequivocal.

He is justified in reminding developers they have to be equable in their planning as land zoned for EC projects is cheaper than that for private projects.

The case of impossibly large ECs, almost of Sentosa Cove proportions, defies that understanding.

They are an affront to the sensibilities of heartland folk who desire adequate accommodation at a price they can afford.

A Tampines project, CityLife, has a 4,349 sq ft penthouse with fancy add-ons that could sell for over $2 million.

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