A range of housing types will be built in upcoming estates in prime locations such as the Greater Southern Waterfront (GSW) to ensure that all public housing estates will have a good mix of Singaporeans, said National Development Minister Desmond Lee.
These include smaller housing types such as two-room flats for seniors and rental housing for low-income families, depending on the planning parameters and the needs of different housing types, but are “deliberately injected”, he said in an interview with Lianhe Zaobao.
Mr Lee acknowledged the “lottery effect” of these well-located Housing Board flats, which may result in a “likely windfall” for home owners who sell these government-subsidised build-to-order (BTO) flats on the resale market.
There is the issue of “inclusiveness and diversity” when these flats are allowed to be resold after the five-year minimum occupation period, he said.
“If it’s going to be sold and transacted at high resale prices, then there is a risk that only well-off Singaporeans can buy (flats in) those estates. And then of course, the character of the estates will change and it may be priced beyond the reach of ordinary Singaporeans,” he said.
“We do not want to have estates that are gentrified and that only the wealthy can afford to live (in). We want to have a good mix.”
To achieve that, besides introducing diverse housing, he noted that the pricing of flats must be kept affordable at the first sale by HDB and also in resales.
“We may need a series of other measures to ensure that if resale is permitted for these flats, that they remain affordable for generations to come,” said Mr Lee, without specifying the measures.
“People will, of course, pay what they believe the market can bear in order to get these very good flats and very good locations. So some of these measures would have to cover all these fronts,” he added.
He cited GSW as one example of a prime site but noted that the timeline is “quite far down the line”.
“But there may be other sites with very prime attributes that might be rolled out in the months and years ahead,” he said.
Mr Lee said HDB will seek public suggestions and feedback through engagement sessions over the next few months.
“We will want to make sure that these public discussions are held, people’s views are obtained and then we can come up with a model that we could potentially apply in the near term,” he said.
Originally published in The Straits Times.