inTHE Housing Board will launch new flats every month over the next six months in response to growing fears that demand is outstripping supply.
National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan, speaking on the sidelines of a housing event on Wednesday, said that 'HDB will build flats to meet demand as long as there's genuine demand'. It is looking to offer 7,000 new flats in the first half of this year and is planning 12,000 for the whole of 2010.
For higher income earners who aspire to own private property, Mr Mah said the HDB was catering to this group by selling land for development into executive condominiums - a hybrid flat with condo facilities but HDB rules.
He assured first-time buyers that there was no need to rush into buying, given that there are 'more than sufficient flats'. 'If there is even stronger demand, of course HDB will build even more flats,' he said.
Mr Mah claimed the high subscription rates at recent launches - at popular projects such as Dawson, where 11 applications were received for every flat - was not a measure of genuine demand.
'We know that many of them are multiple applicants...they apply every month to make sure they have a better chance...that means the number of subscribers may appear large, but it doesn't mean that that is the total demand,' he said.
'The final test is when we finally offer the flats to these buyers, (we'll) see what the take-up rate will be.'
The minister emphasised that if there was real demand, the HDB would respond with its build-to-order (BTO) scheme.
'As the name suggests...you order, we build. That's the situation.'
Mr Mah pointed out that waiting for a flat to be built was not new. In the past, home buyers have had to wait for as long as seven years for a flat, he said.
Under the BTO scheme, HDB is 'promising, in a way...that you will get your flat in three to four years, once you have booked it.'
Source, Straits Times 29 January 2010