HDB should set sale price caps for all homes: expert

by Angeline Leow 18 Nov 2014

HDB should set sale price caps for all homes: expert

HDB should evolve from its present role as a housing developer and focus on being a master land developer and regulator of residential prices, urged Ho Kwon Ping, an S R Nathan Fellow for the Study of Singapore, as reported in the media.

This means controlling the sale price ranges for land parcels, which private developers bid on, he said during a lecture yesterday under the IPS-Nathan series organised by the National University of Singapore’s Institute of Policy Studies.

“The competition by private developers on detailed design, quality, features and so forth, will ensure market forces dictate, but within residential price ranges set by HDB. Not price ranges for land, but price ranges for the final product,” he explained.

If the Housing Board were to do that, all of its housing projects will become private, noted Ho, who is also Banyan Tree Holdings’ Executive Chairman.

“There will be a single master land developer selling parcels to private developers. There will be no more private versus public divide. Then HDB estates will be real towns, with housing of different price ranges, so as to erode the social distinctions that we still have and should not have in the next 50 years.”

Apart from the allocation of scarce land in Singapore, Ho said another important issue to focus on in the future is maintaining the city-state’s competitiveness as its geographic location becomes less strategic.

One way to achieve this is to establish flourishing eco-systems of business activity that are so complexly inter-related that it cannot be copied by rival countries, he said.

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