Minister Sim Ann announces plan to double PPHS flat supply in response to increased demand

Minister Sim Ann announces plan to double PPHS flat supply in response to increased demand

SINGAPORE – On Monday (12 Jun), Senior Minister of State for National Development, Sim Ann, announced plans to double the supply of flats under the Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme (PPHS) to 4,000 units over the next two years. This decision aims to temporarily house families awaiting the completion of their new homes.

Speaking at the Institute of Policy Studies’ 35th anniversary conference, Ms Sim revealed that the Housing and Development Board (HDB) had met its target of increasing the PPHS flat supply from 800 units in 2021 to 1,800 in 2023, with plans to add a further 2,000 units by the end of this year.

Ms Sim highlighted that the scheme, which helps families bridge the gap between booking a new flat and its completion, has become increasingly vital due to recent delays caused by COVID-19 leading to longer waiting times for new flats.

Despite a significant reduction in PPHS application rates from over 20 times in 2021 to around three times in 2023, she acknowledged the sustained demand for such flats.

To meet this demand, the HDB is considering strategies to maximize the available pool of PPHS flats, including the potential for flat sharing in larger units.

Ms Sim also addressed the broader housing situation, highlighting HDB’s efforts to meet the robust public housing demand and manage high rental prices.

Approximately 40,000 homes across public and private residential markets are expected to be completed this year – the highest figure in the past five years – which should help ease pressure on the rental market.

She further noted that more than 60% of delayed Build-to-Order (BTO) projects over the last two years have been delivered as of May, and that HDB is actively increasing the BTO supply, with up to 100,000 flats to be launched from 2021 to 2025, including units with shorter waiting times.

Addressing financial concerns, Ms Sim drew attention to the financial prudence required of households in the face of likely high mortgage rates.

She emphasized that while the government does not oppose flat prices appreciating in line with general economic conditions, volatile price changes could encourage speculation and negatively impact HDB flats.

Ms Sim also stressed the importance of using HDB flats primarily as homes and discussed the flexibility homeowners have, such as using flats as home offices or monetizing them through rentals or resale.

Responding to a query from Non-Constituency Member of Parliament, Ms Hazel Poa, last year, National Development Minister Mr Desmond Lee acknowledged the factors affecting the construction time for BTO projects.

According to his data, families waiting for their HDB flats from 2017 to 2021 could wait as long as 52 months, 11 months more than those waiting from 2012 to 2016.

He noted the prolonged waiting times for new BTO flats due to COVID-19’s impact on the construction industry and geopolitical uncertainties but offered hope with the gradual recovery of construction projects and anticipated improvements in construction progress.

In her speech on Monday, Ms Sim also addressed the potential issue of stratification in highly valued HDB neighbourhoods along income lines.

She explained how measures under the Prime Location Housing (PLH) scheme, such as longer Minimum Occupation Periods and resale restrictions, aim to strengthen the owner-occupation intent of public housing and ensure neighborhood inclusivity.

Ms Sim’s statements follow the recent rise in median prices for three-room and five-room resale flats, reaching S$450,000 and S$900,000, respectively as of the first quarter of 2023.


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