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HDB to launch 18,000 new flats in 2016

Wednesday, December 30, 2015 - 11:25
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Singapore's Minister of National Development Lawrence Wong on Wednesday said that the Housing and Development Board will launch 18,000 new flats in 2016.

SINGAPORE'S Minister of National Development Lawrence Wong on Wednesday said that the Housing and Development Board will launch 18,000 new flats in 2016, 3,000 more than what was launched in 2015.

This is to accommodate higher demand for new flats following new policies that were announced in August this year, including a higher income ceiling for new flats and tweaks to housing grant schemes.

Mr Wong said the broader plan remains to ensure that Singapore has a sustainable supply of housing over the longer term. He was speaking to reporters after visiting BTO project Tampines Greenlace, meeting families who had moved into their new homes.

He also said that HDB resale prices have come down over the past few years but in recent months, they have stabilised. "They have come to a point where resale prices are stable now at about the 2011 level, and if you look at resale transactions across the year, more than half of them were transacting at close to market levels.

"So I think the resale market has softened. We have achieved the soft landing and are stable now. These are indicators which show that overall, the housing market is now at a healthy and stable level."

Asked if this stabilisation means that the time is ripe for certain cooling measures to be unwound, he maintained that it is too early to talk about unwinding the measures. "We are continuing to monitor the market. The market has stabilised in the sense that resale prices have been coming down ... over the last few years.

"On the private property side, I think the decline has been in the last quarter or last few months, smaller than in previous years, so I think there are signs of stability, which show that there is still very healthy demand for housing.

"What happens next year remains to be seen. Certainly, there are changes in the broader environment. The Fed has increased interest rates. We can expect some slowing of the economy, so it may affect demand but we are watching all these indicators very carefully, and will make adjustments when necessary."

On the Fresh Start Housing Scheme, he also said that a series of conversations on the scheme has been completed and MND is starting to tweak and design the parameters and will provide more details early next year.

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