Tag Archives: MND

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.

MND considering rewarding older couples who move to non-mature estates


Incentivising older couples to move out of mature estates to live with or near their married children in non-mature estates could be one way to help families stay closer to one another, said National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan.

He cited this as a possibility to free up units in mature estates, so that more newlyweds can buy homes near their parents — allowing closer living between married couples and their parents was one of the Government’s goals set out in the President’s Address.

“If some parents for various reasons are quite prepared to leave their comfortable surroundings in a mature estate to non-mature estates with their children, I think we should try to facilitate and, perhaps, even reward them,” he said.

Mr Khaw was speaking at the fourth and final focus group session his ministry held on Tuesday, to find out the preferences of young and old couples for living close together, as well as possible policy changes to meet the demand.

Although participants of the focus group discussions had reacted coolly to the possibility of building more Three-Generation (3Gen) flats to allow families to live together, Mr Khaw noted that there is still a minority who wish to do so and added that such flats will continue to be rolled out — albeit at smaller numbers.

“Our policy decision to continue to build larger flats, what we call 3Gen flats, for those who want to stay together, I think is a right move. But I think the numbers required will not be huge,” Mr Khaw said. He also added that the Government will site these flats in mature estates, where possible.

Separately, a survey commissioned by the Ministry of National Development (MND) involving more than 2,000 Singaporeans showed that 55 per cent of singles plan to live with their parents after marriage, while 65 per cent of young, unmarried couples who intend to move out after marriage want to live in the same town as their parents or nearer.

The Housing and Development Board Sample Household Survey for last year also showed that while more are living together with or close to their parents in the past decade — the proportion has risen from 31 to 37 per cent — some were still unable to do so. Only 53 per cent of married couples surveyed currently live with, or in the same town as their parents.

Commenting on the survey results in a blog post yesterday, Mr Khaw said it was “heartwarming” to see the survey confirming that “the state of family bonding in Singapore is healthy and strong”. “They affirm that Singaporean families value mutual care and support and want to live near to one another,” he added.

Acknowledging that his ministry could do more to help families live closer together, Mr Khaw said: “MND will study the survey findings in greater detail, and together with the feedback we have received from our housing conversations, to see how best we can help fulfil Singaporeans’ aspirations to live near their extended families for better mutual care and support.”

Disappointed property investors over MND statement

PROPERTY investors hoping for a lift in the ailing real estate market were likely to have been disappointed since MND’s statement last week . 

The Ministry of National Development (MND) said last Monday it was not time to wind back the property cooling measures as private home prices have remained largely unchanged despite falling for two consecutive quarters.

Lifting the curbs prematurely could cause a sharp increase in demand and housing prices, MND said.

The moves that reined in property prices included extra stamp duties to curb speculative buying and the total debt servicing ratio (TDSR) framework, which was introduced on June 29 last year.

City Developments chief Kwek Leng Beng had said it seemed timely to “take another look” at the measures as foreigners were diverting their investments from Singapore to countries like Australia, Britain and the United States – a move that could undermine Singapore’s reputation as a global city.

Though these are opposing views, both camps have a point.

Fresh estimates from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) last Tuesday showed that prices of non-landed units sank 1.1 per cent in the second quarter, which meant that the residential price index had eased by just 3.3 per cent over the past three quarters. This hardly seemed significant compared with the 60 per cent spike since the recent market upswing in 2009.

Analysts reckoned it would take a fall of 10 per cent or more before the MND would start to roll back some of the measures.

On the other hand, Mr Kwek is not wrong as the URA index may not reflect the severity of the downturn in certain segments of the market.

The recent launch of Wing Tai’s The Crest in Prince Charles Crescent illustrates this point: Only 30 units were reportedly sold at $1,750 per sq ft (psf) to $1,800 psf two weeks ago, even after Wing Tai offered reimbursements of up to 7 per cent for the additional buyer’s stamp duty (ABSD).

A closer look at the URA’s regional sub-index also showed that prices have performed unevenly in the three residential segments.

Prices of homes in the city centre have taken a beating over the past year. They dipped 1.5 per cent in the second quarter to levels recorded in the same period three years ago, when the sub-index stood at 207.9.

In fact, prices of city centre homes have almost fallen to levels recorded in the previous peak during the second quarter of 2008 – when the sub-index was at 198.3 – right before the global financial crisis caused prices to plummet over the next year.

City fringe units also fell in price by a gentler 0.6 per cent in the second quarter to reach close to 186.6 in the same period three years ago.

These regions, which have been the playground of foreign investors, have underperformed because of the ABSD, which imposes a 15 per cent levy, said Mr Mohamed Ismail, chief executive of property agency PropNex.

It is telling from the sub-indexes that home prices in the city centre and city fringe are now close to prices transacted before 2011, said Mr Ismail.

“If policies are not tweaked, it may cause further asset depreciation in those regions to levels back in 2008 and 2010”.

The cooling measures, however, have had less success reining in suburban home prices.

Since 2011, growth in prices of mass-market homes have been outpacing units in the other regions, noted Mr Ong Teck Hui, national director of research and consultancy at Jones Lang LaSalle.

Knight Frank data showed that suburban home prices have risen by 15.1 per cent since the second quarter of 2011. In contrast, city centre prices slipped 2.5 per cent, while city fringe condo units fell 1.2 per cent in the same period.

The suburbs, unlike the other regions, are affected by cooling measures to a smaller extent as they have been propped up by demand from owner-occupiers, not foreign investors, said Mr Ong.

Intensified competition for land also drove bid prices up in the past three years, especially after foreign players joined the development scene here, noted Ms Alice Tan, research head at Knight Frank. This propelled prices of mass-market homes on the back of the low interest rates that came in in 2008.

Mr Ismail added: “If the core objective of the Government is sustainable capital appreciation and affordability for Singaporeans, then it makes sense that policies should be calibrated for the fall in prices to be in the suburbs.”

Simply put, the mid-tier and luxury segments have had to suffer for the sins of the mass market and will continue to do so.

There is little doubt that the Government still wants Singapore to remain an attractive cosmopolitan city. But its larger priority is to ensure mass-market homes are affordable to Singaporeans.

Developers of luxury projects with many unsold units weighing on their balance sheet have little choice but to wait it out until mass-market prices correct more significantly so a roll-back of cooling measures can be initiated.

Government says it is still too early to roll back property cooling measures

According to the Ministry of National Development (MND) yesterday, it is still too early to roll back property cooling measures. It said that despite home sales have decreased, prices have remained relatively stable.

The moves to rein in property prices included extra stamp duties to curb speculative buying and the total debt servicing ratio framework which was introduced a year ago.

MND noted that private home prices had surged 60 per cent during the most recent market upswing that began in mid-2009.

The MND’s comments came as prominent developer Kwek Leng Beng warned of a potential impact on Singapore’s reputation as a global city, and called for a review of the policy measures.

The National University of Singapore’s Residential Price Index out yesterday showed that prices of resale homes climbed 0.8 per cent in May from April, after falling for nine months. The Urban Redevelopment Authority’s flash estimates for private home prices will be out today.