New pri­vate hous­ing units to dou­ble: Min­is­ter

The New Paper - - BUSINESS - LYNETTE KHOO

The num­ber of pri­vate res­i­den­tial units avail­able for sale is ex­pected to dou­ble or more in the next one to two years, Min­is­ter for Na­tional De­vel­op­ment Lawrence Wong said on yes­ter­day at a din­ner gath­er­ing of de­vel­op­ers.

A large por­tion of the sup­ply will come from the re­de­vel­op­ment of projects sold en bloc, on top of that com­ing from the on­go­ing Gov­ern­ment Land Sales pro­gramme.

DO YOUR HOME­WORK

With more than enough sup­ply to meet hous­ing de­mand, Mr Wong urged buy­ers to do their home­work be­fore mak­ing a pur­chase.

To drive home his point, he noted that the va­cancy rate for pri­vate res­i­den­tial units has been above 8 per cent for al­most two years.

The last time va­can­cies were at such el­e­vated lev­els was more than 10 years ago, in 2005.

“What this means is that, in terms of ac­tual phys­i­cal units, there are cur­rently more than 30,000 va­cant pri­vate hous­ing units — all still look­ing for oc­cu­pants,” he said.

“This is more than the to­tal num­ber of dwelling units in the whole of Bis­han today.”

Mr Wong was speak­ing at the 58th an­niver­sary din­ner of the Real Es­tate De­vel­op­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion of Sin­ga­pore, where he again sounded a word of cau­tion to de­vel­op­ers on the risk of over-ag­gres­sive land bids.

He also re­minded them of the need to de­liver prop­er­ties of good work­man­ship and hinted at pos­si­ble ac­tions against those who com­pro­mise on qual­ity.

Mr Wong said that with land prices be­ing high and a re­quire­ment for de­vel­op­ers to com­plete the sale of a project within five years of the site be­ing awarded or in­cur ad­di­tional stamp du­ties, profit mar­gins could come un­der pres­sure, and de­vel­op­ers might be tempted to com­pro­mise on con­struc­tion qual­ity.

While the vast ma­jor­ity of de­vel­op­ers are too re­spon­si­ble to do this, the Gov­ern­ment has re­ceived feed­back from time to time on some who do not meet ex­pected qual­ity stan­dards.

He added that he had asked the Ur­ban Re­de­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity and Build­ing & Con­struc­tion Au­thor­ity to step up their checks.

Re­gard­ing de­vel­op­ers’ bid­ding be­hav­iour, Mr Wong had said last week in Par­lia­ment that higher land bids may not trans­late to higher sell­ing prices when a project is launched as these are ul­ti­mately sub­ject to mar­ket de­mand and sup­ply forces.

lynkhoo@sph.com.sg

TNP PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

Mr Lawrence Wong at the Real Es­tate De­vel­op­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion of Sin­ga­pore’s an­niver­sary din­ner last night.

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