Monday, March 22, 2010

12,000 old flats to be upgraded annually

AROUND 12,000 – that is the upper ceiling of the quota for homes to be upgraded annually under the government’s Home Improvement Programme (HIP) from this year onwards.

The annual target was announced by National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan yesterday during a community event in Yishun.

According to Mr Mah, HIP will cover some 14 precincts or around 10,000 to 12,000 homes every year. This nationwide upgrading initiative, first announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the 2007 National Day Rally, covers flats that were built in 1986 or earlier.

Close to 300,000 households in Singapore qualify for the programme, which covers compulsory improvements including repairs for ceiling leaks, as well as spalling or flaking concrete.

Homeowners can also opt for optional upgrades such as new toilets and metal gates.

The compulsory items are fully subsidised by the government while the other works are offered on a co-payment basis.

In 2009, the government sped up the pace of upgrading by committing $1 billion to HIP over a three-year period. Back then, authorities said they were hoping to take advantage of lower construction costs during the recession to refurbish some 33,000 units of older public housing.

More than 13,000 homes were spruced up from 2007 to 2008 and around 8,000 flats were upgraded under HIP last year.

Source: Business Times, 22 Mar 2010

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