Current Affairs

Supply of private homes to double in next 1 to 2 years: Lawrence Wong

(Source: www.channelnewsasia.com)

SINGAPORE: The number of private homes for sale will more than double in the next one to two years, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said on Tuesday (Nov 14).

A large portion of this new injection of supply will come from the redevelopment of projects that have been sold en bloc, he said to 680 members of the Real Estate Developers’ Association (REDAS), at a dinner marking the association’s 58th anniversary.

“At the same time, we are continuing with supply from government land sales, so if you take the two together, the number of private residential units available for sale will more than double over the next one to two years,” he said, adding that the vacancy rate continues to be high at about 8 per cent.

Currently there are more than 30,000 vacant private housing units, with another 30,000 units to be completed in the next one to two years.

“There is more than more than enough supply to meet demand,” he assured Singaporeans. “Do your homework carefully before making your home purchases.”

He also cautioned developers who he said have become more “aggressive” in their bids for land.

TIGHTER QUALITY REGULATIONS FOR DEVELOPERS

Mr Wong cited how higher land prices combined with the additional buyer’s stamp duty might exert pressure on developers’ profits, and in turn impact construction quality.

“From time to time, we do get feedback about developers who do not meet the quality standards we expect of them,” Mr Wong said.

In view of this, the Government will consider further measures to hold developers with a “poor track record” to higher standards of accountability. This comes after the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) launched a new search tool on its website in September, allowing homebuyers to compare the quality scores of developers.

“For example, we may impose a licence condition for them to obtain Quality Mark certification for their projects,” said Mr Wong. “We may even disallow these developers from launching units for sale until we can be certain that they are committed to meeting these standards.”

Mr Wong said that while these tighter regulations are being worked out, the Government will remain mindful not to take a “blunt, one-size-fits-all approach”.

He also said that a distinction needed to be made between the “black sheep” in the industry and the vast majority of responsible developers.

COMPETITION LAUNCHED TO IMPROVE SHOPPERS’ EXPERIENCE IN MALLS

A new initiative was also launched at the event, seeking public solutions that can enhance the health and wellness of mall visitors.

Jointly organised by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and REDAS, the competition aims to “raise the quality of the built environment”, according to a joint press release.

Selected proposals will be tested and rolled out as prototypes at six malls owned by REDAS members, including Millenia Walk, Orchard Central and Raffles City. The public can submit their project proposals online till Feb 7 next year.

One expert Channel NewsAsia spoke to said that the move is aimed at roping in shoppers to improve customer experience in malls.

“The tendency is to try to make (malls) more colourful, bright and all kinds of ways of attracting attention,” said Professor Lam Khee Poh, dean of the School of Design and Environment at the National University of Singapore.

However, “that kind of competitive increase in intensity is not necessarily good”, Prof Lam noted, as it can inadvertently create stress for shoppers.

“I think we need to step back and ask the user – if we have this potentially different setup or design layout, would that be better? I think that testing out in the real world, the real setting, will be really valuable.”

More Info: www.channelnewsasia.com

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