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Proportion of HDB flats in housing stock dips

10 May, 2017

Over the past 10 years, even though more Housing Board flats have been built, they now make up a smaller proportion of Singapore's total housing stock.

Last year, the 1,011,000 HDB flats made up 73 per cent of total housing stock. This is down from 78 per cent- or 880,000 units - in 2006, Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong told Parliament yesterday.

And it is also down from 85 per cent in 1996, a check by The Straits Times showed.

Meanwhile, the number of private condo units and landed homes increased from 243,000 to 372,000 over the same period, with its proportion of the overall dwelling units growing from 22 per cent to 27 per cent.

Responding to a question from Mr Gan Thiam Poh (Ang Mo Kio GRC), Mr Wong said this proportion is expected to remain stable over the next few years, with 72 per cent out of all dwelling units projected to be HDB flats in 2020.

This ratio only refers to the housing stock, not the proportion of people living in HDB flats, which is still around 80 per cent, he added.

Senior Minister of State for National Development Dr Koh Poh Koon said some 56,000 out of all HDB flats are public rental flats, which cater to a yearly average of 2,600 households who move in.

In the past 10 years, about 1,600 households returned their rental flats and now have their own homes, said Dr Koh.

Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong.

Mr Wong also revealed that less than 2 per cent of Build-To-Order (BTO) home buyers who had been invited to collect their keys had asked for a deferment in the whole of 2016 and the first quarter of this year.

While a majority were able to sell their existing flat, 45 buyers eventually cancelled their new flat bookings and paid the forfeiture, he said.

Mr Wong said: "The main reasons... include changes to the buyers' overall financial circumstances or they no longer wished to proceed with the new flat purchase for their own personal reasons."

He also reminded buyers to be prudent and take into account possible changes in the market if they plan to finance their new home with the existing flat's sales proceeds.

Mr Zaqy Mohamad (Chua Chu Kang GRC) asked if HDB could exercise more leniency, as he has come across several cases of buyers unable to let go of their current flat due to the slow resale market.

Mr Wong said HDB already "exercises flexibility and grants time extensions" to buyers to sell their flats and complete their transactions.

"For the minority who chose not to (complete the purchase), if there are financial hardships, we can look at the particular case at hand and waive the forfeiture that they have to pay," said Mr Wong.

Adapted from: The Straits Times, 9 May 2017