By Leong Sze Hian

I refer to the articles “13,600 flats on track to be ready by end of year” (Straits Times, Jun 4) and  ”Resale-flat prices may move soon, says minister” (My Paper, May 6)

Only enough flats for 1st-timers?

With about 27,000 marriages a year, plus 25,000 new citizens and 30,000 PRs (Population White Paper), will the 25,000 new BTO flats be enough to meet demand? If we add to these, HDB and private property down-graders, as well as singles, this 25,000 a year BTO may not be enough.

As it is now, practically every BTO launch is fully subscribed by first-timers, with typically more than 10 to 20 times over-subscription by second-timers battling for the 15 per cent allotted to them per BTO launch.

Singing the same song?

Since 2009, from the reign of the previous MND Minister, we have been hearing the same rhetoric that HDB resale prices will cool down. But they have not, and continue to hit record highs. At the end of the day, no amount of rhetoric can bring prices down, given the reality of the supply and demand situation for HDB flats.

Maximum capacity is 25,000 flats?

So, what may be the solution – build more flats? But, 25,000 flats a year is the maximum capacity of the construction industry, according to the HDB. Well, in this connection, the HDB actually built more than 25,000 flats a year, from 1974 to 1979 – 26,169, 28,027, 30,024, 30,406, 30,176 and 27,189 flats a year, respectively.

Conclusion: Damn lousy planning in the last decade or so – accompanied by endless protestations of “prices will cool” (now it’s “will move”) like a pantomime.

HDB Concessionary Loan rate not fixed?

I am rather puzzled by the remarks ““So, if you are over-committed, let’s say you can only afford a three-room flat, (but) you decide to buy five-room flat. Yes, based on today’s interest rates you can afford a five-room flat.

But, when interest rates go up as it will, you will no longer be able to afford a five-room flat and what will happen, your bank will start calling you up to please top up or sell your flat and that’s when trouble starts,” Mr Khaw added” (“Khaw reminds buyers to exercise prudence“, TR Emeritus, May 6) – Isn’t the HDB Concessionary Loan rate pegged to 2.6 per cent – the CPF Ordinary Account rate of 2.5 plus 0.1 per cent, and banks are now offering “10-year guarantee” loans which cap the rate below HDB’s loan rate?

 

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