Tag Archives: HDB

Private properties rose to 27% of total housing stock

THE number and proportion of private properties in Singapore grew in the decade between 2006 and last year. The total number of private condominium units and landed homes went up from 243,000 to 372,000 in that time, taking their share of the overall dwelling units from the 22 per cent in 2006 to 27 per cent last year.

Meanwhile, the number of Housing Development Board (HDB) flats grew from 880,000 units to 1,011,000 during the period. But despite this increase, the proportion of HDB flats out of the total housing stock went down from 78 per cent to 73 per cent.

National Development Minister Lawrence Wong unveiled these figures in Parliament. The ratio is “expected to remain stable” over the next few years, with 72 per cent of all dwelling units projected to be HDB flats in 2020.

However, he added, this proportion refers only to the housing stock in Singapore – not the total proportion of people living in flats, which remains at about 80 per cent.

SRX: residential rentals down 0.4% in August

Rents of private condominiums and apartments dipped by 0.4 per cent in August, after falling 0.3 per cent in July, data released by SRX Property showed yesterday. The decline was led by rentals in the city centre, which decreased 0.7 per cent, and those in the suburbs, which decreased by 1.3 per cent, data showed. However, rents for homes in the city fringe rose 0.8 per cent.

Year on year, rents in August 2015 were down 5.7 per cent, as compared to August 2014. They were also down 12.9 per cent from their peak in January 2013. Rental volume for August also weakened, with the number of non-landed private homes being rented out falling 1.6 per cent, to an estimated 4,097 units, from 4,163 units a month earlier. But year on year, rental volume this August was 13.8 per cent higher than the 3,601 units leased in the same month last year, the estimates showed.

On the public housing front, Housing Development Board (HDB) flat rents fell 0.6 per cent in August, after a 0.1 per cent increase in July. The decline was led by three- and four-room flats, which posted falls of 1.1 per cent and 0.9 per cent, respectively. Five-room and executive flats saw rents rise 0.1 per cent and 0.7 per cent instead.

Year on year, rents in August 2015 were down 3.6 per cent. They were also down 6.6 per cent from their peak in August 2013. HDB rental volume fell 6.1 per cent in August to about 1,646 flats leased, down from 1,752 units leased in July 2015. Year on year, August’s rental volume was almost flat, compared to the 1,668 units rented a year ago.


HDB resale price drop as large supply of new flats causing price softening: Analysts

HDB resale prices continue to fall, albeit at a slower rate than in previous quarters, but analysts say the decline has not bottomed out.

Flash estimates issued by the HDB yesterday showed that the Resale Price Index (RPI) in the first three months of the year is at the lowest in one-and-a-half years, down 1 per cent compared with that in October to December 2014. In contrast, the quarter-to-quarter drops last year ranged between 1.4 per cent and 1.7 per cent.

But prices are expected to continue dropping, analysts said, given that property cooling measures, such as the Mortgage Servicing Ratio (MSR), are still damping demand.

On top of that, they noted that new flats are still being pumped into the market, giving buyers more choices. Yesterday, the HDB said 4,040 Build-to-Order flats in Clementi, Punggol North, Sembawang and Tampines will be up for sale next month, along with about 5,000 others in a concurrent Sale of Balance Flats exercise.

Mr Thomas Tan, executive director of RE/MAX Singapore, said the large supply of new flats is drawing first-time home buyers away from the resale market, causing the price softening. “The trend is expected to continue in similar fashion for the rest of the year, with (an) estimated 5 to 7 per cent overall decline,” he said.

PropNex chief executive officer Mohamed Ismail said he expects the coming quarters to have an overall percentage drop of 4 to 5 per cent due to the continued supply of BTO flats. He also noted that the first quarter of the year is “traditionally slower” due to festive seasons such as Chinese New Year.

The managing director of real estate firm Chestertons, Mr Donald Han, added that the market is still on a “slow slippery slope” and he does not expect a “drastic drop” in prices. “Financing-wise, there has been an impact on the demand side of the equation, (causing) downward (pressure) on HDB resale prices,” he said, referring to loan curbs such as the MSR, which caps mortgage repayments at 30 per cent of a buyer’s monthly gross income.

Agreeing, HSR International Realtors’ Head of Marketing & Training Donald Yeo also expects a “gradual and marginal” decline. “Home-sellers are more realistic about price and, for some, the completion of their new purchase may make them more inclined to accept genuine offers and let go of their flat for a lower profit,” he added.

Mr Chris Koh, director of Chris International, said that policy changes to make Singapore Permanent Residents wait three years before they can buy a HDB resale flat also impacted the market.

In December last year, Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan said a single-digit fall in the RPI this year would be manageable and a “very good development”.

“A soft single digit is something the human mind, and employers, employees, the environment and the economy can adjust to,” he had said then.

Due tomorrow: Over 7,500 HDB flats launched in latest sale

THOSE eyeing new flats in mature estates will have a wealth of options after the Housing Board launched its latest round of flat sales yesterday.

Over 7,500 units under the Build-To-Order (BTO) and Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) schemes went on sale, with 3,028 located in the sought-after mature estates.

Of the 4,277 BTO units put on sale across six projects in Tampines, Sengkang, Sembawang and Yishun, 1,947 are located in two projects in the upcoming Tampines North district.

Flat buyers are likely to make a beeline for these units given that they are located in a mature estate, experts said. “All the linkages and facilities there are already established,” said ERA Realty key executive officer Eugene Lim. “The value of flats there is also likely to hold in the resale market.”

One of the projects, Tampines GreenRidges, will offer 3Gen flats for multi-generation families – a first for a mature town. Prices of these flats start at $407,000 without grants, and $397,000 with grants.

Also on sale are 3,291 SBF units, which span both mature estates like Bukit Merah and non-mature estates such as Punggol. SBF units are either balance flats from earlier BTO launches, surplus Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme replacement flats, or repurchased flats.

Changes to the Married Child Priority Scheme are kicking in with these launches. Announced last week, the enhanced scheme will set aside up to a third of new flats for married children and their parents who apply to live with or near one another.

Priority will be given to two groups under the scheme: Parents and married children who apply to live under one roof, and parents who own flats in mature estates and apply for BTO flats near their married children in non-mature estates.

But this is unlikely to drive up demand significantly for 3Gen flats and flats in non-mature estates, said experts.

“A lot of elderly parents live in mature estates and would not want to uproot themselves,” said R’ST Research director Ong Kah Seng, adding that the take-up for 3Gen flats might be lukewarm as many young couples prefer privacy.

“There is also the perception that 3Gen flats might be too small.”

As of 5pm yesterday, the overall application rate for the Tampines BTO flats was 0.4, with 825 applicants going for 1,947 units.

Personal financial consultant Eddie Su and his fiancee Cheryl Ng, both 25, are looking to buy a five-room SBF unit in Tampines.

“We are getting married next year so we want our own place sooner,” said Mr Su, referring to the shorter waiting period for SBF units compared with BTO flats.

The latest launch brings the number of new flats put up for sale this year to 29,129, down from 33,568 last year.

Applications have to be submitted by midnight on Dec 1.

– See more at: http://news.asiaone.com/news/singapore/over-7500-hdb-flats-launched-latest-sale#sthash.3XpCez5R.dpuf

HDB to enhance Married Child Priority Scheme: The Housing and Development Board will be enhancing the scheme by setting aside a proportion of flat supply for parents and married children wanting to stay close by

The Housing and Development Board (HDB) on Friday (Nov 21) announced it will be setting aside a proportion of new flat supply for parents and married children who wish to live near each other.

In enhancing the Married Child Priority Scheme (MCPS), up to 30 per cent of the flat supply will be set aside for MCPS first-timer families and up to 15 per cent for second-timer families. This will apply from November’s Build-to-Order (BTO) and Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) exercises.

Previously, families who wish to live with or near each other received extra ballot chances for their new flat application under MCPS, the press release noted.

“With effect from November’s BTO and SBF exercises, the MCPS will be converted from a chance-based to a quota-based priority scheme to offer such applicants significantly higher chances of success,” HDB stated.

It added that under the enhanced MCPS, first priority will be extended to two groups of applicants:

  • Parents and married children who apply for a flat to live together under one roof
  • Parents who own a flat in a mature estate, and who apply for a BTO flat in a non-mature estate to move near to their married child

This means that these applicants will be shortlisted ahead of others within the quota. Any remaining quota after all such applicants have been shortlisted will then be given to other applicants under the scheme.

Property watchers said the move signals a shift in HDB’s focus – from satisfying the needs of applicants – such as those applying under the Fiance/Fiancee Scheme – to other objectives.

Eugene Lim, key executive officer at ERA Realty, said: “Going from past statistics, majority of these needs may have been satisfied and their success rate is actually quite high.

“So perhaps the HDB is now adjusting its policy to address the needs of the group of people who really want to stay together with their parents as a bigger household and help them be more successful in getting a flat.”

Flat buyers Channel NewsAsia spoke to said it is a fair move but pointed out that a larger issue is the waiting time for BTO flats. One of them, systems analyst Gabriel Toh, said: “I think it does not help much. I am already 33, if I will to wait three to four years for a BTO, I will only get the flat when I am touching 40.

“Another thing is the locations will be very off – usually at Sengkang, Punggol. So the location matters to us, which is why we bought a resale flat at Toa Payoh.”

Another challenge is getting parents who are living in a mature estate to join their children in a non-mature estate.

Thomas Tan, director at RE/MAX, noted: “Parents may not want to uproot themselves – whereby they find that they are very comfortable in that area, the amenities are there, all their friends are there, but you want them to uproot from their network to join their kids because of the priority scheme. It may not necessarily be an incentive for them to move.”

In November, HDB will offer about 4,277 BTO flats in Sembawang, Sengkang, Tampines and Yishun. An additional 3,000 flats will be offered in a concurrent SBF exercise.


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More flats available for parenthood for Singaporean couples await HDB flats

MORE temporary flats will be set aside for couples waiting for their new Housing Board flats under a rental programme which, as National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan put it, has been “delivering results, and babies”.

Under the rental programme, called the Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme (PPHS), more than 100 babies were born to those living in 1,000 or so flats – a hit rate of 10 per cent.

This result was not bad, said Mr Khaw.

The popularity of the scheme – and its success in raising fertility – has prompted the Government to allocate another 800 temporary flats for couples from next year.

And to ease costs, couples can co-rent these flats.

“Helping young couples set up their first home so that they can start their family early is our top priority,” Mr Khaw said in a blog post yesterday.

The scheme began in January last year with 1,150 flats in Ang Mo Kio, Bedok, Boon Lay and Dover. Rentals range from $800 for a three-room flat in Boon Lay to $1,900 for a Dover five-roomer.

The flats can be rented by first-timer married couples with children under 16, who are waiting for Build-To-Order (BTO) flats. In April, the scheme was extended to those without children, and in September, to married couples who are first-timers and second-timers, as well as divorced or widowed parents with children.

“This is a good scheme which has been well received,” said Mr Khaw yesterday.

So far, 110 babies have been born to those in PPHS flats. He said this was “not bad at all”.

About 800 more flats, some in Bukit Merah and Queenstown, will be retrofitted and rolled out to couples from early next year.

From today, both new applicants and existing tenants can apply to co-rent and co-pay for PPHS flats. A maximum of two families can share a flat.

“This will be useful for those who feel that they do not need a whole flat,” said Mr Khaw.

Co-tenants will settle co-renting details privately, such as how much each tenant will pay and how the bedrooms will be divided.

Mr Gerald Teo’s family lived in a PPHS flat for about a year, before getting the keys to their BTO flat in May. He and his wife used to live with her parents, but the flat “got a bit too cramped” when their son was born, said Mr Teo, 28, who works in finance.

The PPHS flat “gave us a bit more freedom”, he added

– See more at: http://news.asiaone.com/news/singapore/more-flats-parenthood-couples-await-housing#sthash.2jry0khX.dpuf

HDB resale volime looking to major correction in 2014

Resale prices will slip by as much as 7%.

A bleak resale market awaits families looking to sell their HDB flats. HDB resale volume is expected to hit a ten-year low this year, with volume hovering around 16,500-17,000 units.

According to PropNex, HDB resale prices will continue heading south and are expected to soften 6-7% for the full year 2014.

Prices will remain impacted by a looming flood of new homes and the continued impact of property measures such as lower mortgage servicing ratio, shorter loan tenure and a minimum three-year waiting period for PRs wanting to buy HDB resale flats.

The outlook for 2015 also looks bleak with a possible 5 to 6 per cent full year drop. This is mainly due to the increased number of 2nd timers collecting their keys to their new BTO flats, and they will have to sell their existing flats within 6 months. This figure is expected to be about 6,000 annually for the next 2 years.

“Home buyers are more restrained if their MSR is over 30 per cent or TDSR is near 60 per cent. Loan curbs and softer prices will ultimately mean that HDB upgraders will find it more prohibitive to upgrade to a private property,” noted PropNex CEO Mohamed Ismail.

– See more at: http://sbr.com.sg/residential-property/news/hdb-resale-volume-will-crash-10-year-low-year-report#sthash.QMQsBRHh.dpuf

Lease Buyback Scheme for HDB extended to 4room flats


The Housing and Development Board will extend the Lease Buyback Scheme to 4-room flats. This will enable more Singaporeans to monetize their assets and derive a steady stream of income for their retirement needs.

“Last year, I was your real estate agent. This year, the real estate market is no good, I have upgraded myself, I have become a financial planner,” quipped Prime Minister Lee as he spoke on retirement adequacy for Singaporeans in his National Day Rally on Sunday (Aug 17).

Mr Lee says Singapore has good schemes to provide assurance in retirement – namely through the Central Provident Fund (CPF) and home ownership. CPF members set aside the Minimum Sum when they turn 55 years old, and it will offer a regular stream of income for them after they turn 65. The payout will go on for as long as they live. The Minimum Sum for those who turn 55 this year is S$155,000. Mr Lee explained that the amount is “far from excessive”.

CPF members can count their homes in the Minimum Sum, meaning they need to set aside just half of it in cash, which works out to S$77,500. Mr Lee conducted a poll of the audience at the Rally using an example of a fictitious couple Mr and Mrs Tan.

“I ask Mr Tan – how much do you think you will need in retirement every month?” Mr Lee said. “What do you think? S$3,000 per month? That’s about two-thirds what he is getting now. S$2,000 per month – less than half what he is getting now? Or S$1,000 per month?”

The majority picked S$2,000 a month. Mr Lee said this means the Tans will need S$250,000 for their retirement needs – which is more than the Minimum Sum. And if Mr and Mrs Tan pledged their home, the amount of S$77,500 kept in their CPF account would only give them S$600 a month. They would then need to find other sources of income to plug the shortfall.

Mr Lee said there are options to achieve this, including continuing to work, getting support from their children, tapping on savings or getting money of out their house.

For example, he could rent out a room for S$700 a month, or move in with his children and rent out the entire flat for S$2,500 a month.

“The third thing you could do is to ‘right-size’: sell this flat and buy a smaller flat. Let’s say you buy a studio apartment, you move into the studio apartment and then in the process, you can enjoy a silver housing bonus from the Government which is S$20,000. We can do the sums, you get quite a lot of money – S$210,000, plus S$800 per month,” explained Mr Lee.

Another option is the Lease Buyback Scheme, which will be extended to 4-room flats. In Mr Tan’s case – if he sells the remaining lease of 35 years to HDB – he will receive a lump sum of S$27,500 in cash, plus S$900 per month.

HDB resale prices drop to 30-month low

Prices of Housing Board flats fell for the sixth consecutive month in July and to their lowest level since February 2012, the latest data from the Singapore Real Estate Exchange showed.

Though slightly more flats were sold, experts attributed this to the return of buyers and sellers after the traditionally quiet June holiday season.

The resale price index fell 0.9 per cent from June, bringing HDB resale flat prices down 4 per cent since the start of the year.

Weakening prices hit most of the market, with three-, four- and five-room flat prices dipping 1.0 per cent, 1.8 per cent and 0.4 per cent respectively. Only executive flats were spared, with prices up by about 0.1 per cent.

In all, the index is 6.7 per cent lower than July last year. Analysts said the slide was expected, due to the continued effects of cooling measures such as home loan curbs and a steady supply of new Build-To-Order flats.

“Demand and prices are expected to stabilise or slightly pick up in around the second half of 2014, due to buyers finding resale flat prices increasingly reasonable,” said R’ST Research director Ong Kah Seng.

Already, last month’s resale volumes rose slightly, but experts remained cautious about a turnaround. Last month, 1,341 flats were sold, up from 1,315 in June. But this was still 10.2 per cent lower than the 1,494 units that changed hands in July last year.

The recovery may be thanks to buyers and sellers returning to the market after the school holidays and World Cup in June, said SLP International Property Consultants head of research Nicholas Mak. He said the rise in volume is not likely to continue this month, as the Hungry Ghost period is seen as an inauspicious time for buying a house.

But in the longer term, buyers may be lured back into the market by low prices, said experts.

Mr Ong expects prices to fall by no more than 7 per cent for the full year. Other estimates range from 4 per cent to 8 per cent.

Property agents said some buyers have returned but not in large numbers. Said Dennis Wee Realty agent Judy Tay: “Some are those who have wanted to buy for a long time, but are coming in now that prices are low.”

But with prices low and buyers still scarce, some prospective sellers might choose to rent out their units instead, said experts.

An estimated 1,601 HDB flats were rented last month, up from June’s 1,574 units but flat compared with a year before. Rents were down, with the rental index falling 1.5 per cent to a three-year low. The median monthly rent was $2,300.

With foreign labour curbs hitting demand, and supply rising as upgraders move into newly completed units, rents will likely stay low, OrangeTee head of research Christine Li said.
– See more at: http://business.asiaone.com/news/hdb-resale-prices-drop-30-month-low#sthash.NlozpswX.dpuf