Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan said in Parliament today that efforts to cool the housing market are showing results. He took stock of the progress of housing policies; much has been achieved to stabilise the market and meet various housing needs. As the housing market turns the corner, Minister Khaw said that negotiating the turn will require care. Moving ahead, the Ministry of National Development (MND) will put in place various initiatives to improve longer-term market stability, provide stronger housing support, and make every town a better one.
2The Government has introduced a series of cooling measures to ensure that housing price moves in line with our economic fundamentals. Data in recent months suggests that the housing market is turning the corner, but is not yet at the optimal state. MND will continue to monitor the housing market closely. Meanwhile, MND will keep the current cooling measures in place.
3To further improve the HDB resale market, HDB will change some processes in the way Singaporeans buy and sell resale flats:
|a)||HDB will publish daily prices of resale transactions as soon as they are registered (instead of fortnightly after the resale transactions are approved). This will allow flat buyers and sellers to negotiate based on recent transaction prices and reduce the focus on Cash-Over-Valuation (COV) in negotiation. This will improve the long-term stability of the resale market.|
|b)||To encourage buyers and sellers to focus on the sum total of flat price, HDB will only accept valuation requests from resale flat buyers (or their appointed salesperson), after the buyers have been granted an Option to Purchase (OTP) by flat sellers. This change will take effect from 5pm, 10 March 2014.|
|c)||The revised resale procedure is detailed in Annex A (PDF 155KB). To help buyers and sellers in this transition, HDB will continue to honour OTPs and valuation reports which were granted before the implementation date and have not expired. Under the new rules, buyers who are granted OTP will also have 21 calendar days, instead of 14 calendar days to exercise the OTP, to adjust to the new procedure.|4
In his speech, Minister Khaw also spoke on Singaporeans investing in overseas properties. He cautioned that there are added risks and complexities due to the differences in legal and regulatory frameworks. To help Singaporeans interested in buying foreign properties make more informed decisions, the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) will be launching an online guide to provide some general tips on buying foreign properties. In addition, CEA will step up efforts to regulate estate agents marketing foreign properties in Singapore. Members of the public are encouraged to report to CEA any marketing activities by unlicensed foreign estate agents. More details can be found in Annex B
5MND will look into ways to provide stronger support for three groups: the elderly, the low-income and vulnerable, and extended families.
a) Enhancing Monetisation Options for the Elderly
Retirement adequacy, and how equity release can help enhance it, is an important issue for an ageing population. MND is reviewing enhancements to existing options, including whether to extend the Enhanced Lease Buyback Scheme (LBS) to larger flat types. Beyond existing monetisation options, MND is also studying reverse mortgage, with a view to formulate a practical scheme. More details on existing monetisation options can be found in Annex C
b) Supporting the Low-Income and Vulnerable
MND is studying ways to better support public rental tenants in progressing to homeownership, and to better provide for the housing needs of the vulnerable groups, including divorcees with children. More details on existing schemes to meet the housing needs of the low-income and vulnerable groups are at Annex D
Beyond housing, MND will revise the EPS (Electronic Parking System) parking rates for motorcycles and introduce an Enhanced Season Parking Ticket which will allow motorcyclists to park at all HDB and URA car parks at a flat monthly fee. This will defray the cost for motorcyclists, especially for those who use multiple car parks in a day such as despatch or delivery riders. More details can be found in Annex E
c) Helping Extended Families Live Closer
6Last year, the Ministry engaged Singaporeans through Our Singapore Conversation to discuss pertinent housing issues. MND will be organising another series of Housing Conversations to engage Singaporeans on its various housing policy reviews to ensure that they support the relationships and values that matter to Singaporeans.
7MND and HDB will develop new housing areas and upgrade existing estates to make every HDB town a better town. HDB will launch the first BTO project in Tampines North later this year, delivering 1,500 homes, including 50 3Gen flats. HDB also intends to launch the first BTO project in Bidadari sometime next year.
8MND and HDB will continue to raise the quality of existing towns to keep up with changing needs, through the following ways:
|a)||MND is in the process of selecting three towns under Remaking Our Heartland (ROH) Batch 3, and will announce them in a few months’ time. |
|b)||MND will roll out more projects under the Home Improvement Programme (HIP) and the Neighbourhood Renewal Programme (NRP). MND will also complete the Lift Upgrading Programme (LUP) for HDB blocks, and ramp up lift installation in Multi-Storey Car Parks (MSCPs). |
|c)||To make HDB flats more elderly-friendly, MND is reviewing the Enhancements for Active Seniors, or EASE, scheme, to lower the age criterion for direct application and expand the coverage of the items. |
|d)||MND will also promote greater resident participation in shaping their living environments through initiatives like the “Cool Ideas for Better HDB Living”.|
More details can be found in Annex G
Issued on 10 March 2014 by the Ministry of National Development and Housing & Development Board