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Desmond Lee: BTO Flats Cannot Be Sold Cheaper

BTO flats, whether in mature or non-mature estates, cannot be priced lower according to National Development Minister Desmond Lee.

Lee was speaking in parliament during the motion on public housing.

Regarding BTO flats in mature estates, Lee said that pricing new flats even lower would only increase the windfall gain that successful buyers enjoy, thus prompting even more people to join the queue and increasing demand for such flats.

“Why? Because Singaporeans can see that the subsidy in a BTO flat is real and that it means that after the minimum occupation period, they can sell the flat if they need to move and make capital gains… especially for flats in mature estates because they are highly sought after.”

Lee said that that this surge in demand would result in greater anxiety among flat buyers and affect first-time buyers who are looking for a flat to build their families.

He added that it is also unfair to the families that failed to secure a flat in a mature estate.

As for the issue of removing land cost so that BTO prices on the whole can be priced cheaper, raised by PSP NCMP Leong Mun Wai, Lee said that the HDB must pay fair market value for state land so that the value of the reserves is preserved.

“If HDB does not pay for fair market value for state land, it means we are reducing the value of the reserves and allocating more of it to today’s housing. By doing so, we are reducing the resources available to meet the other needs of today’s generation as well as the need for future generations.”

The amount which goes into the reserves is invested, said Lee, and part of the returns are used to fund the government’s annual budget.

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