Sunday 22 February 2015

Better balance between sellers and buyers in residential market: Khaw

Planned increase in number of homes over 4 years has helped prices adjust
By Nur Asyiqin Mohamad Salleh, The Straits Times, 21 Feb 2015

FOUR years of hard work ramping up the construction of new homes has paid off, according to National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan.

In a blog post yesterday, he said that the planned increase in number of homes had led to a better balance being struck between buyers and sellers.

Last year, 51,598 new homes were added, outpacing the projection of 47,505 made last May.

This has helped property prices adjust with supply better meeting demand.

"Our residential market has achieved a better balance between sellers and buyers," he said. Last year marked the first full year in which home prices fell, he noted.

"This was a great relief for home buyers," he said. But as the decline was moderate, "it was also a relief for home sellers and home owners".

He added that a collapse of the housing market would benefit no one.

Construction is expected to slow in the coming years, going by the updated figures Mr Khaw provided yesterday.

Last year, the supply of new homes for 2014 to 2017 was projected to be 200,034 units. But with the adjustment of the Housing Board's supply of Build-To-Order (BTO) flats, the new figure now stands at 195,788.

There will be 26,000 HDB flats completed this year, 8 per cent fewer than last year's 28,300. The number of new flats is expected to be kept at 25,000 each year from next year to 2018.

This year, there will be 21,359 new private homes - a 7 per cent rise from last year.

But in the coming years, there is expected to be a slide to just 9,836 in 2018. That year, the number of new units, including public flats, will be the lowest in recent times - just 38,316.

Singapore currently has about 1.28 million homes - 960,000 of which are HDB flats. By early 2018, the total is expected to swell 11 per cent to 1.43 million.

Mr Khaw said home buyers will continue to have plenty of choice.

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