SINGAPORE, Oct 19 – Singapore has the resources to build “more than 100,000” public residential flats in the next five years to meet demand and stabilise prices, the country’s top housing official said Wednesday.,
The remarks by National Development minister Khaw Boon Wan came amid complaints from citizens about runaway housing prices, a major issue in parliamentary and presidential elections this year that saw the ruling party lose significant popular support.
Speaking in parliament, Khaw said his ministry was building 50,000 public housing units — called housing development board (HDB) flats — by 2015 to alleviate “an imbalance in housing supply and demand”.
But he added that his ministry could potentially supply over 100,000 units in the next five years if demand remained high.
“If demand remains strong, we have the resources and the capacity to build more than 100,000 HDB flats during this term of (the current) government,” he said in parliament.
The current government, headed by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, was elected for a six-year term that ends in 2016.
He said measures introduced to cool down the property market have stabilised public housing prices in the past few months.
He also assured that middle income newlywed couples and low-income households will be given priority to own homes.
“I am confident that we can address the temporary problem of supply-demand imbalance, with clear improvements for the newlyweds and the vulnerable families within two years,” he said.
In the May polls, the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) lost an unprecedented six seats out of the 87 at stake and its share of the vote fell to an all-time low of 60 percent from nearly 67 percent in the previous election in 2006.
In presidential elections that followed in August, the PAP’s de facto candidate won by a slim margin over his three opponents who were all critical of government policies.