Senior Minister Sim Ann Questions Government Subsidies for HDB flats

Singapore. Senior Minister of State for National Development Sim Ann said on 11 December that “drastically” lowering the prices of Build-to-Order flats, to the extent of disregarding land costs, may end up “hurting all Singaporeans, instead of helping them”.

She was responding to a post by NCMP Leong Mun Wai (PSP) on his Facebook page and website which questioned the Government’s subsidies for HDB flats.

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According to Leong, land costs should not be included in the pricing of HDB flats, and the government should only take into account the construction costs and prices between locations.

“I conclude that what Mr. Leong is really asking for is the Government to price BTOs much lower, whatever the justifications may be,” said Sim.

The Singapore gov’t has been increasing grants and subsidies recently. These were necessary to keep the prices of BTO flats stable and affordable amid the 28% resale price surge from 2019 to 2022.

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Increasing the subsidies may mean reducing spending on other important sectors like security, education, and healthcare.

“We may well also have to raise taxes to pay for the higher housing subsidies,” she said.

“By this, he means that we should draw more from our Reserves, though he has avoided saying this explicitly. We have explained a number of times that state land forms part of the nation’s Reserves.”

“If HDB does not pay back into the Reserves the fair market value of the land, we would in effect be running down the value of our Reserves, to the detriment of current and future generations.”

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