Cooling measures paid off: Khaw

National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan has expressed relief that the property curbs introduced by the government have managed to cool the once overheated housing market – which was a big issue during the 2011 general election, reported The Straits Times.

“What I shared at my first meeting with my MND (Ministry of National Development) colleagues was, let us try hard to achieve a soft landing of the housing market within four years,” he said at an event last Friday to introduce the People’s Action Party’s election line-up for Sembawang GRC.

“Two years ago when prices began to peak and then began to come down, believe me, I was one of the most relieved.”

Mr Khaw had taken on the difficult portfolio following the last election. Over the past few years, the government has introduced various measures to cool the property market, which includes the ABSD levy and loan curbs.

The supply of new HDB flats was also ramped up in recent years.

However, Mr Khaw said the government will continue to watch the situation and external conditions since a soft landing “may suddenly become a hard landing”.

A different housing election issue may also crop up.

When asked if the defects at some Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) flats, such as at Centrale 8 in Tampines and Trivellis in Clementi, may become an issue in the coming election, Mr Khaw replied that the defects issue is a perennial one.

While recent complaints may give the impression of deteriorating housing quality, that is not actually the case, he said.

In fact, the housing board’s average score under the Construction Quality Assessment System had been improving. Last year, it hovered near 90, outperforming some private homes constructed by property developers.

He highlighted that the government will continue to help homeowners even if they live in flats built by private developers.

“What is important is that builders and contractors are responsible, and fix areas that are unsatisfactory… You don’t have to worry – as long as your demand is reasonable, we will help you.”

 

Romesh Navaratnarajah, Singapore Editor at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact him about this or other stories email romesh@propertyguru.com.sg

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