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Bertha HarianBertha Harian

News Reports

Housing options

We have two suggestions now on how to solve the public housing problem. Or rather, how to make sure the prices aren’t going through the roof so much so that those who really need them can afford them.
1. Han Fook Kwang suggested that the resale market be closed to PRs, who already form 20 per cent of HDB resale transactions. That’s a big enough proportion to affect the prices of flats, he argued. I suppose if this gate is closed, PRs will be moving into private property, and pushing up the prices over in that segment. I suppose that’s okay, since private property isn’t a major segment. Except you know what will happen…people will start grumbling that they are stuck in HDB flats and not given a chance to “upgrade’’ into private property. Everything’s topsy turvy these days. With the supposed squeezed middle class able to afford $1million resale executive condominiums – or are they being bought by PRs?
2. The Singapore Democratic Party suggested having “non-open market’’ HDB flats that start from $70,000 and capped at $240,000. I wish there was more information on this. I don’t read in the ST report about how many or what proportion of flats this should take up and who would qualify for them. Also, whether this is a better proposal than building more rental flats.
I think it’s great that people are coming up with suggestions and I hope policymakers will respond to them – in a measured way. I am kind of glad that this is not election time when the ruling party might feel it has to give a “robust’’ response because it can’t be seen to be upstaged by others. While I am on this issue, I also think that’s why opposition politicians should get involved in the Singapore Conversation. There is no seat to lose, no votes to gain – at least not for a while. This is for the long-term – so can’t we all just get along in the meantime?

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An ex-journalist who can't get enough of the news after being in the business for 26 years

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