HDB posts $2 billion deficit as fewer flats sold, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

HDB posts $2 billion deficit as fewer flats sold

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The Housing Board's deficit climbed to nearly $2 billion in the financial year ended March 31 - compared with about $1.7 billion the year before - largely from a loss on the sale of flats, disbursement of Central Provident Fund (CPF) housing grants and an expected loss for flats under development.

In its annual report published yesterday, the HDB said it had a deficit of about $2.4 billion from its housing programmes, offset by a $462 million surplus from other activities.

In the 2018/2019 financial year, $532 million in CPF housing grants was given to eligible buyers of resale flats and executive condominiums, an increase from $466 million in the previous financial year.

On the upgrading front, the agency saw a deficit of $557 million, compared with $639 million in the previous financial year.

The HDB reported a 38 per cent fall in the number of flats sold. Sales of 16,608 units were completed in the last financial year, compared with 26,857 units the year before.

About 15,300 Build-To-Order (BTO) flats across mature and non-mature towns were launched in the last financial year.

The HDB also noted measures were rolled out to help young couples buy their first home earlier. These include announcing BTO projects six months ahead of their launch, instead of three months previously, and halving the balloting time for flats to three weeks. As of March 31, 81 per cent of Singapore's population live in HDB flats. About nine in 10 own their flats.

HDB chairman Bobby Chin noted that the public residential market has remained stable, with a moderate increase in resale volume and a healthy take-up rate for new flats.

The HDB receives a grant from the Ministry of Finance every year to balance its accounts. This year, the grant is $2.03 billion.

Mr Chin said even as the HDB marks its 60th anniversary next year, it is mindful that the road ahead will be challenging.

"An ageing population, and rapidly changing urban and social landscapes mean that we cannot afford to rest on our laurels. I am confident that HDB will continue to innovate and harness technology to deliver well-designed and quality homes for Singaporeans," he said.

Parts of this article have been amended for clarity