HDB Flats --- Are they becoming less affordable?

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HDB Flats --- Are they becoming less affordable?

Postby tianzhu » Fri Feb 13, 2009 7:46 am

No-frills housing please, say some MPs ( http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/ ... 89/1/.html )
By Ansley Ng, TODAY | Posted: 09 February 2009 0818 hrs

SINGAPORE: No playgrounds or covered walkways in new HDB estates. Nor any barbecue pits. New flats should have very basic floor tiles, meanwhile.
It is hardly the usual call from Members of Parliament (MPs), who tend to push for upgrading in their constituencies. But two among their ranks are making the call for “no-frills” housing.
According to Dr Lim Wee Kiak and Ms Lee Bee Wah, this should be an option for home buyers and one way to provide more affordable housing.
Dr Lim’s residents in Sembawang, for example, have told him HDB flat prices are high and younger residents who want to move out of their parents’ homes after marriage find it hard to do so.
“Many of them have just started work and may not have so much cash,” he told TODAY. “You’re giving them a chance to build something simple, and over the years when their salaries increase, they may want to improve their homes.”
When he first raised this in Parliament on Friday, Dr Lim gave the example of flat prices in the 1970s: S$15,000 and S$20,000 for a three-room and four-room flat respectively. A graduate with a starting salary of S$1,000 could pay off his apartment with 15 to 25 months of his pay, he said.
But today, though their starting salaries are three to five times higher, the prices of new flats have shot up “10 to 30 times”, he added.
“A high cost of housing has many repercussions as it results in higher costs of living, reduction of resources for other pursuits such as education and investment,” he said.
His solution, he envisions, would lower construction costs and allow flats to be sold for “well below S$100,000”.
But covered link-ways, playgrounds and other upgrading works can be done later when the estate is more mature, he added.
Echoing his views, Ms Lee (Ang Mo Kio) said HDB “should avoid building flats with too many value-added features”, which should be left to private developers.
When contacted, other MPs had mixed feelings, however, about whether there is a place for no-frills flats in Singapore’s public housing spectrum.
Mr Teo Ser Luck (Pasir Ris-Punggol) said the biggest gripe, instead, among couples he has spoken to is the long waiting time for a new flat.
The no-frills idea may also not appeal to younger buyers, who aspire more and are more demanding. “They’re more well informed and have specific demands for the quality of life they want,” said Mr Teo.
Mr Zaqy Mohamad (Hong Kah) was concerned that owners who do not like having the bare minimum might “start hacking and doing it up all over again”.
“I don’t think people are saying ‘give me no-frills’, but they’re asking for cheaper alternatives,” he said, and suggested that three-room flats - with quality - would be good for younger couples.
“I think we should create more supply in that segment,” he said. “They can always look at upgrading options later.”
In his Parliamentary reply on Friday, National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan said HDB will launch about 3,000 flats for sale in the first half of this year, of which 1,400 will be studio apartments, two- and three-room flats. There will be 4,000 of such flats launched over the next two years.
“We’ll increase the supply of smaller and lower-priced flats further if necessary to meet the demand from the lower income group,” he said.
Dr Lim had other suggestions as well: Price homes based on cost rather than matching them to market conditions, and shorten the lease from the current 99 years.
Some home hunters welcomed his call for no-frills flats.
Technician Chen Yi, 29, got married in November and is staying in a Woodlands executive flat with his wife, parents and two siblings.
Mr Chen has been looking for a matrimonial home but has been unsuccessful because prices of resale flats have been out of reach, and he does not want to wait several years for a new flat.
“I don’t mind if my home has just one bedroom and a hall,” he said. “Even if it’s cramped like those apartments in Hong Kong, I don’t care. I just want a place where I can have privacy.” - TODAY/yb

No playgrounds or covered walkways in new HDB estates. Nor any
barbecue pits. New flats should have very basic floor tiles, meanwhile.
These are some suggestions to provide more affordable public housings.

Will these measures make any meaningful reduction to the prices of HDB flats? Have housing prices outstripped increases in income so significantly that HDB flats are less affordable now?

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Postby caroline3sg » Fri Feb 13, 2009 10:14 am

The issue is not with/without frills. I remembered reading one ST forum many many months ago saying that when HDB was first set up in the 60's (can't remember what is his name), the goal/mission is to let people have affordable housing.

An example of 3 room corner flat at balestier costed $11K back then. Divide it over combined monthly salary of then $2000, it is 5.5 times. I am quoting above average status. Back then a lot of people on rented flat. Today a 4 rm flat at sengkang $300K divide over $5000, it is 60 times.

Over a span of 50 yrs (1960 to 2009), cost of materials can't go up so much, right? But why shoot up 5.5 to 60 times? It is true that flat prices go up much faster & higher rate than salary. When we bought our flat more than 10 yrs ago, we got it after 2 yrs of ballot. And every quarter, the price went up 10%. Our salary is never increased by 40% per yr. That time, max loan period was 25 yrs. Now 30 yrs. Why longer period? Because people can't keep pace with the price increase. And the longer you take to pay, the more interest payable. Again increase.

Primary cause? MBT makes HDB become profit organisation. Remember yrs ago when HDB retrenched staff and get their severance package? Many letters appeared in ST Forum. Then they shifted office to from BM to downtown TP. Where the money come from? The people.

Not only HDB, but also transport & utilities. All are money suckers.

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Postby BlurBee » Tue Dec 15, 2009 3:46 pm

From The Straits Times, dated 14 Dec 2009

Flat prices still affordable
SINGAPOREANS can expect the prices of HDB flats to keep on rising as long as the economy continues to grow, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew said on Sunday.

However, he assured young couples that the Government will help them to own their first flats.

The Housing Board will also keep building affordable homes 'so that each generation of Singaporeans will continue to have a stake in the nation', he added.

Mr Lee gave the assurance when he visited the newly-completed crown jewel of Singapore's public housing, which he said is symbolic of the spectacular transformation of the country.

The Pinnacle@Duxton, rising 50 storeys high, stands on a plot that was occupied by the first rental blocks in Tanjong Pagar constituency, of which Mr Lee has been the MP for 54 years.

On Sunday, he recalled how he used the two Duxton Plain blocks then under construction in his 1963 election campaign, when the leftists were determined to win his seat.


No increment in salary, yet higher & higher flat price. :stupid:

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Postby kiasimom » Wed Dec 16, 2009 2:53 am

In time to come, HDB flats in Singapore will definitely become more and more unaffordable.
Look at the pricing of flats now. They are already very high, can we imagine 10 years down the road?

Not only is the flat more expensive, they are smaller too. Just compare the psf.

I am very worried about my two children if they can afford to buy a flat when they grow up :-(

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Postby jedamum » Wed Dec 16, 2009 3:03 am

kiasimom wrote:In time to come, HDB flats in Singapore will definitely become more and more unaffordable.
Look at the pricing of flats now. They are already very high, can we imagine 10 years down the road?

Not only is the flat more expensive, they are smaller too. Just compare the psf.

I am very worried about my two children if they can afford to buy a flat when they grow up :-(

my MIL was just praising the government for the affordable housing.
she said that back then they don't have housing grant or what not. the earning ability is also not there.
for the average income earner, HDB flat will remain affordable. don't look at those Dawson location lor. don't buy resale lor. what we can do is let our kids bunk in with us until they succeeded in their HDB's new flat ballot and/or save enough cash to pay for the crazy cov in resale market. :P
PS: smaller flat cos smaller family ma...

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Postby kiasimom » Wed Dec 16, 2009 3:32 am

Then my DIL has better be a good DIL or else I will ask DS to save enough before he is allowed to get married.
DH and I don't like to live with others except for DS and DD.
Staying with FDW is no choice.
Talking about bigger space, who will mind more space.

I for one will not want to live in new flats which is small and pricey.

I still prefer older flats as they are bigger :-)

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Postby jedamum » Wed Dec 16, 2009 1:29 pm

kiasimom wrote:Then my DIL has better be a good DIL or else I will ask DS to save enough before he is allowed to get married.
DH and I don't like to live with others except for DS and DD.
Staying with FDW is no choice.
Talking about bigger space, who will mind more space.

I for one will not want to live in new flats which is small and pricey.

I still prefer older flats as they are bigger :-)

How do you define a good DIL?? For me, so long the DIL don't bully/instigate my dss and respects me, I am happy already. :)

For us, we don't mind small space so long it is our space. :love:

Husband don't want older flats cos he said it is the whole package...ie environment + flat.

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Postby kiasimom » Wed Dec 16, 2009 1:35 pm

Good DIL = Respect me, love my son, don't bully my son, don't instigate my son to turn against me. Basic elements.

Oops. If it is just DH and me after retirement, I won't mind a smaller space too but for now we need space.

Old flats can be good too if you choose the area well.

Where I am currently staying, environment is good, neighbours are either mostly businessmen or professionals.

for now, I am happy here ;-)

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Postby daisyt » Wed Dec 16, 2009 1:54 pm

Long long ago, HDB flats just come with basic floorings, one playground shared by many many blocks.

Not long ago, HDB flats became build to order, with all the nice floorings, toilets fully equipped with shower screen, nice window grills.

Now, going back to square one. :?

I am very puzzled why they keep saying HDB flats are affordable. 10 years ago, my five room flats in Woodlands cost $285K. Now, 10 years later, its $380K. So can I predict, in another 10 years, it would be about more than $500K ? For working couple, ALL the monthly CPF would be wipe out for the mortage loan. By the time they reach 65, they would sell off their flat or downgrade to a super small one, take the money for retirement.

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Postby mrswongtuition » Wed Dec 16, 2009 1:55 pm

daisyt wrote:Long long ago, HDB flats just come with basic floorings, one playground shared by many many blocks.

Not long ago, HDB flats became build to order, with all the nice floorings, toilets fully equipped with shower screen, nice window grills.


It's not nice at all. Trust me.
The tiles crack easily, the wooden flooring is worse than putting raw wood, the windows give all sorts of problems & we've only moved in April this year!

Thankfully, I bought mine at 200k, now it's valued at 400k. Will definitely increase once shopping centre at MRT & waterway is ready!

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