Some first time buyers may not get new HDB flat

I refer to what Minister of State, Grace Fu said in parliament as reported by Straits Times (28 Aug 2007). As far as I can remember, one of our government’s grandest achievements, one which they constantly harp back on, was to have given each and every Singaporean a home to call their own. Therefore when I read Ms Fu saying that the Government cannot provide a new HDB flat for every young couple buying their first home, I can only imagine how far this government has deviated from its predecessors in serving the people’s needs.

Ms Fu has urged new couples wishing to stay in mature estates to buy from the resale market, but has she considered the exhorbitant costs of resale flats, especially in the current market frenzy?

When Ms Fu says that the HDB has a stock of 800,000 flats, I hope she understands that these are not 800,000 empty flats but flats occupied by families. So the actual supply of resale flats is actually much less than 800,000 and consequently, resale price is very high. Furthermore, when Ms Fu says that the “HDB … has a stock of 800,000 flats”, she is saying that the flats belong to HDB. In that case, what exactly do the people own then? Are all these years of preaching home ownership a sham then?

No one is asking for the HDB to over-provide for young couples. The fact that there are 10,000 applications for 300 flats in mature estates shows that the problem is obviously not one of over-provision but acute under-provision.

Ms Fu claims to be sparing a thought for old couples intending to upgrade to private property. Amidst the current talk of how old folks can feed themselves in old age, she is telling us that she is concerned of their wish to upgrade to private property? Does she know many such old couples? Someone close to her perhaps?

She also claims to be sparring a thought for old couples intending to monetise their flats. If the HDB is really so concerned, then such monetising schemes would have been launched 10 years ago and not a couple of weeks ago wouldn’t they?

Her concern of depreciating home values would be valid if home prices are indeed on the decline. But home prices have increased by more than 5 times that of salary increase over the last 40 years! Amidst the current property market frenzy, surely any one with any reasonable amount of logic and reason would worry about price escalation rather than price depreciation?

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