The Ministry of National Development (MND) has come forward to seek public opinion via an online survey to build a new public housing model in prime locations like the city centre and the Greater Southern Waterfront.
This public engagement exercise was posted on Reach’s website, which is the Government’s feedback unit.
According to the MND, home ownership is one of the main pillar of Singapore’s social compact, in which about 4 in 5 Singaporeans live in HDB flats. Out of this, around 90 per cent of them own the units.
In fact, HDB flats are where Singaporeans raise their families and enjoy their retirement years, said the Ministry.
“At the core of Singapore’s public house programme are the values of inclusivity, affordability and accessibility. We want our HDB towns to be homes to residents from all walks of life; places where we all feel welcome,” said National Development Minister Desmond Lee in a video posted to encourage Singaporeans to participate in the survey.
He continued, “To make sure that our public housing remains affordable, Singaporeans receive substantial grants where they can by a BTO or resale flat. While there’s a constant need for us to balance competing demands and trade-offs across a wide variety of land needs, providing house for Singaporeans remains an important priority for us.
“Moving forward, we will also build public housing in very prime locations, like the city centre and the Greater Southern Waterfront.”
Mr Lee, who is also the Minister-in-charge of Social Services Integration, said that these prime areas would most likely be used for exclusive, high-end developments that only the wealthy individuals can afford.
However, in order to keep new flats in these prime areas affordable for the general public, he noted that additional subsidies will be provided – on top of the substantial subsidies that have already been given for BTO flats today.
Mr Lee went on to say that these additional subsidies will consequently result in larger windfall gains, should these flats later be sold at market value.
“There is also the concern that these estates in prime locations will become gentrified over time as wealthier residents move in through the resale market. They may transact at extremely high prices in the resale market, and only the better-off can afford to buy them,” said the Minister
He continued, “We are determined to prevent the situation where only the wealthy benefit from living in prime locations. We want to keep Singapore inclusive and egalitarian. This would mean fighting against powerful social and economic forces, so that we can ensure our HDB towns remain inclusive, affordable and accessible.”
As such, Mr Lee asserted that Singapore needs a new public housing model for prime locations, adding that the Government will consider additional subsidies, potential windfall of lottery effect, as well as ensuring public housing in these locations remain open and accessible even over time.
This is why the Government has been consulting the public on this issue and has received many feedbacks and suggestions, he noted, adding that a variety of measures are needed to come up with a new public housing model for prime locations.
“We want to hear your views on the new housing model for prime locations. We look forward to working with you to jointly create the new housing model that will share our Singapore for the future,” Mr Lee concluded.