Heat in private property sector unlikely to spill over to HDBs: Mah

By Wong Siew Ying, Channel NewsAsia | Posted: 16 June 2007 2116 hrs

SINGAPORE: The heat in the private property sector is unlikely to spill over to the HDB market.

And this is despite the latest cases where home buyers paid between S$675,000 and S$720,000 for their five-room flats.

Speaking to reporters at North East CDC's Dance Festival in Tampines, National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan said the two cases are the exceptions rather than the norm.

So Singaporeans should not be worried about being priced out of the housing market.

He also assured that there are enough flats (over 800,000) to cater to everyone's needs.

"The broader market is really quite steady, there is an increase, but this increase is in line with the strength of the economy, in line with job growth, and I think it's a healthy thing.

"We want to see a healthy growth in the HDB market but like all things you don't want it to swing to the other extreme where you have prices racing too far ahead and getting out of range of ordinary Singaporeans.

"By and large, I am quite comfortable with the pricing in the broader market," said Mr Mah.

As for the en bloc fever that has gripped the property market, Mr Mah said such projects will ensure that older parts of Singapore will have a chance to be rejuvenated.

Current rules call for over 80 per cent of the residents to be agreeable to the collective sales, before any transaction can take place.

Mr Mah says this is adequate but at the same time, he assures that the minority will be taken care off.

He added that the Ministry of Law and the Singapore Land Authority are reviewing the en bloc sales process.

As for the recent move to release 41 sites under the latest land sales programme, the Minister said this is in line with market needs.

Mr Mah also said the government will continue to work at providing more information to buyers and sellers, as well as monitor the demand and supply situation.

On land sales, Mr Mah comments, "In the last year or so, the pick up rate has been very strong for newly completed buildings and it appears to remain strong, so in response to that, the government has decided to push out more supply in this particular GLS (Government Land Sales) programme.

"The picture is there is sufficient supply in the market over the next two, three, four years and there is no need for people to panic and don't feel that you have missed the boat because there are quite a lot of boats coming along." - CNA/yy