Home truths

The Business Times, Monday, 25th Mar 2013

What are your thoughts on the proposals to make public housing more affordable? How might current policies be tweaked to satisfy the dreams of first-time owners while not hurting current owners?

I AM glad that the HDB is mooting several measures to bring down the prices of property so that flat prices can remain affordable for the next generation.

One such proposal is to create a new category of flats that can only be sold back to the HDB. This may not be a good idea, as it would widen the wealth gap between lower income earners who can afford only this new category of flats, and those who can afford to buy the higher-priced new flats that can be sold on the resale market. The former group would lose out on the “Singapore dream” of owning a flat as an appreciating asset, and may find their social mobility stunted.

The other proposal of shortening the leases to less than 99 years might be a more viable compromise. This should certainly help moderate prices as it places a cap on how high prices can rise, yet it allows for first-time homeowners to benefit from some capital appreciation.

Ronald Lee
Managing Director
PrimeStaff Management Services Pte Ltd

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