Real News‎ > ‎2013‎ > ‎February 2013‎ > ‎

07 February 2013

7th February, Thursday




Next-gen HDB flats will be better designed: Khaw

Source: Business Times

The future of Singapore will look like Punggol, National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan said Wednesday, but just how might this pan out?

Mr Khaw told Parliament that the next generation of public housing would be even more comfortable and better designed, holding up Housing and Development Board precincts at Punggol South as an example.

Newer neighbourhoods, such as Punggol, were planned as smaller estates, HDB said in response to queries. Each Punggol precinct is made up of between 1,000 and 3,000 homes.

There is also more intensive land use, it said, pointing to the gross plot ratio (GPR) of about 3-3.5 in Punggol. This compares with earlier public housing developments in the 1970s and 1980s in older towns such as Ang Mo Kio, Bedok and Clementi, where GPR ranged from 1.8 to 2.8.

To maintain liveability, planners had to exercise creativity.

For example, some carparks were integrated with housing blocks, covering the first few floors. To maintain a sense of space, HDB's planners executed ideas such as communal gardens on the rooftops of integrated carparks.

Each precinct at Punggol also shares a "common green" of about 0.4-0.7 of a hectare in size within walking distance from each block, compared with the 1-1.5 ha neighbourhood parks shared by 4,000 to 6,000 households in older estates serving a wider catchment.


Links to the story:



Bill gives more teeth to Controller of Housing

Source: Business Times

The Controller of Housing will be empowered to require developers to disclose any benefits they provide to home buyers - including reimbursements of stamp duty, discounts and vouchers - and to publish the information, under an amendment Bill introduced for first reading in Parliament Wednesday.

The move will boost transparency on home prices, say industry players.

This is one of the changes contained in the Housing Developers (Control and Licensing) (Amendment) Bill - which will be tabled for its second reading at a future Parliament seating.

The changes will empower the Controller of Housing to require developers to submit to it information on sales transactions in their projects such as the purchase price and agreements (for instance by a developer to reimburse a buyer for stamp duty paid on his purchase). The Bill will also allow the controller to publish the information or use it for compilations, analysis, research studies or surveys.

Analysts reckon that when the new rules take effect, URA's price indices could take a downward adjustment. A property consultant suggests URA could ask developers to adjust price data for units they have sold since the start of 2012.

Market watchers agreed that the impending change will promote greater transparency in the property market. With the end of this form of "price protection", the true property values will be made public and valuations would come down, said one property agent who declined to be named.

In addition to enabling URA to collect and publish more comprehensive and timely information on transacted prices of private homes, amendments to the Bill will also regulate the set-up of showflats, to ensure greater accuracy in developers' representation of housing units offered for sale. Moreover, the criteria for granting licences to housing developers will be tightened.


Links to the story:



Enough homes so young S'poreans 'need not worry'

Source: The Straits Times

Some 200,000 homes will be ready by 2016, said National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan Wednesday in Parliament, as he sought to assure Singaporeans that progress is being made in "relieving the strains we feel today".

Of these, 111,159 are HDB flats, 9,800 are executive condominiums and 76,600 are private property units.

And even as those projects are going on, the Government is continuing to launch more flats and sell land to developers.

Once the current backlog of demand is cleared, said Mr Khaw, the Housing Board will start to build up a "meaningful stock of unsold HDB flats to meet the needs of couples who may need housing urgently".

He revealed that for the longer term, the Ministry of National Development (MND) has reserved sufficient land to develop another half a million housing units.

If fully realised, this would increase housing stock at a proportion that is double the projected population growth, he noted. This is a kiasu approach to give planners plenty of buffer, he said.

Mr Khaw also reassured young Singaporeans that flat prices are within their reach, especially since he has delinked the prices of Build-To-Order (BTO) flats from the resale market.

Since Mr Khaw took over the housing portfolio in 2011, he has unpegged the prices of BTO flats from resale flats in the vicinity.

So, BTO prices are stabilised by "increasing the government subsidy when resale prices rise, instead of following resale prices up", he explained. This will continue until the resale market stabilises, he said.


Links to the story:



International Markets


Outlook remains hazy as UK home prices fall in Jan

Source: Business Times

UK house prices slipped in January, according to a report, which said the outlook for the property market remains unclear.

Home values fell 0.2 per cent from the previous month to an average £162,932 (S$316,800). From a year earlier, values rose 1.1 per cent.


Link to the story: