Sunday, November 20, 2011

Bookings for new HDB flats up 32% in past year

Straits Times: Sat, Nov 19
HOME buyers in the red-hot public housing market have been snapping up Housing Board flats in the past year on the back of Singapore's swift economic recovery from the financial crisis.

The resale market, however, was hit by the Government's cooling measures to calm the market; this was reflected in the fall in resale flat transactions.

The HDB annual report for the year ended March, released on Thursday, showed that buyers booked 17,419 flats - up 32.2 per cent from 13,177 flats booked in the previous financial year.

Applications by buyers of resale flats, however, fell 23.5 per cent to 30,061 from 39,320 previously.

To respond to the strong demand for homes, HDB launched 12 build-to-order sales exercises offering 17,294 flats in the year - a 54 per cent jump from the 11,212 units launched in the previous financial year.

Higher costs for purchases of land and construction of public housing led to a rise in capital expenditure to $5.2 billion, from $1.8 billion previously.

Overall net deficit, however, fell to $143 million, compared with $907 million incurred last year. This was due to the surplus revenue generated from the HDB's commercial and industrial activities.

In a note in the report, HDB chief executive Cheong Koon Hean said the Housing Board has the potential to do more.

Acknowledging the one year since she took over at the helm, she said: 'I hope to build on the depth of knowledge that has accumulated over five decades... and make further inroads.'

Beyond the existing architecture, design and innovations, HDB is also 'looking at injecting greater social and economic value where residents will be actively engaged in shaping the future of their town', she added.

Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd.

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