Govt to continue easing up on housing supply next year

BOTH public housing supply and land sales for private property will continue to slow next year, National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan said yesterday.

However, married couples and their parents will get more help to live close together when buying new Housing Board flats.

As for calls to re-examine property cooling measures, he reiterated that this was not the time.

Mr Khaw addressed these topics in a blog post and on Mandarin television news programme Hello Singapore last night.

There will be 25 per cent fewer Build-To-Order (BTO) flats next year. After BTO supply was ramped up between 2011 and last year, the pace slowed by 10 per cent this year to 22,400 units.

The HDB has decided to slow things down further after studying recent BTO application rates.

In recent years, there have been six launches a year of an average of 4,000 units. From next year, there will be four a year, with a total of about 16,000 new units.

"This should be sufficient to meet demand, without causing a glut in the public housing market," said Mr Khaw.

On the cut, R'ST Research director Ong Kah Seng said: "I don't think it is too drastic."

But chief executive of real estate firm Century21 Ku Swee Yong thinks slowing down to 18,000 units first may be better.

As for private property, Mr Khaw noted that the Government has been reducing land sales for executive condominiums and private condominiums. "This year, we made a small adjustment of reduction. Next year, we will go a bit further," said Mr Khaw, adding that exact figures have yet to be finalised.

He also announced that couples and their parents will get more help to live near each other.

From next month's BTO onwards, "a certain proportion" of the flat supply will be set aside just for them. In addition, priority will be given to couples applying to live with their parents.

Priority will also be given to parents who own a flat in a mature estate, but apply for a flat in a non-mature estate to live near their married child.

Asked to evaluate his three years as housing minister, Mr Khaw said they have been "quite satisfying", adding: "We are now seeing results."

He added it was "particularly satisfying" to help newlyweds get flats quickly, but added: "Now that I've delivered my side of the bargain, I hope they'll deliver their side - which is move in quickly and have children."

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