Housing supply steady with 17,000 BTO flats in 2018
HDB to launch 17,000 BTO flats next year, maintaining supply for third year running
For the third year running, about 17,000 Build-to-Order (BTO) flats will be launched next year, Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong announced yesterday.
In his blog post yesterday, titled Another Fruitful Year for Public Housing, he said his ministry will continue to watch housing demands and trends.
"We will continue to calibrate our flat supply carefully, taking into account underlying demand and the stability of the HDB resale market," he added.
Mr Wong said potential buyers can expect a "good spread of projects across mature and non-mature estates" - including the new Tengah town, the first time flats will be launched there.
Industry watchers said buyers might not see Tengah's appeal now, but with its location near the upcoming Jurong Innovation District and its car-free town centre, it is expected to grow in popularity.
ERA Realty's key executive officer Eugene Lim told The Straits Times: "Demand may be a little slow at the beginning, especially when buyers also have choices from other more established housing estates.
"However, as the development of the new town progresses, we should be seeing increased demand for the flats there."
From June next year, flats will also be launched in Sembawang, Yishun and Sengkang, with a shorter wait time of 2½ years, compared with the typical three to four years.
Property experts said the figure of 17,000 reflects the Government's commitment to providing affordable and adequate housing to first-time buyers.
ZACD Group executive director Nicholas Mak told The New Paper the figure was not surprising.
Though demand for BTO flats dipped slightly this year, he said the Government is making sure to "meet the needs of the population" and assure them they can get a unit of their choice.
Mr Wong also pointed to several government initiatives to help first-timer families acquire homes.
In February this year, the Central Provident Fund Housing Grant was increased from $30,000 to $40,000 or $50,000 to allow first-timer couples to better afford a flat on the open market.
About 6,900 first-timer households have benefited from this enhanced grant, he said.
Rental subsidies for the Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme, where vacated HDB flats are rented to couples waiting for their new flats, were raised as well. This has benefited about 840 households.
In August, the Housing Board launched its first Re-offer of Balance Flats (ROF) exercise for those with urgent housing needs. Around 800 households have booked a flat in the exercise, which is ongoing, Mr Wong said.
ROF, which features unsold flats from previous Sale of Balance Flats exercises, will be held twice yearly.
Said Mr Wong: "All this means that young couples will have even more affordable and accessible housing options to start their marriage and parenthood journey early."