It's the kind of statement that gives you a stronger jolt than the morning dose of caffeine. National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan says that resale prices can only stabilise in 3 to 5 years, and that happens only when the supply of new Build-To-Order flats are completed. Why so long? Rome wasn't built in a day, but the Marina Bay Sands casino sure went up in a hurry.
Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew said that Government funded entities have little incentive to keep costs down. The corollary of that has to be Government funded executives have little incentive to reduce completion times. After all, another year in the job is another million in the bank - you were expecting maybe Gerard Ee will recommend more than an 18% cut in their pay?
Khaw advised told those who have a flat, and aim to upgrade, to please hold on, while he gets his act together. "Why come in when prices are so high? You will regret it, " he said (the repent word seems to be falling out of favour within his political circle). Curiously, it was mentioned in a TV program last night on the same subject that 20% of resale flat buyers are private property owners downgrading to humbler dwellings with a block number in their postal address. But banks have not increased lending rates, neither have they revised mortgage payments to make up for private property values heading south. Likely, these may have either lost their shirts at MBS, or made a wrong call at flipping properties. Whatever the true picture is, the resale public housing flat is still a speculative good. So why not introduce a moratorium on HDB flats as tradeable commodities? It will have to be a gutsy move, but the guys in charge have always boasted they do not veer from tough decisions instead of pandering to the popular ones.
Khaw has admitted that rising resale prices are also attributable to an imbalance in supply and demand - stark evidence of years of bad governance in national housing development - and launched two housing projects to address the myopia of his predecessor, "The more I push out, I am sure there is some influence." So what's holding up the minister to go the whole hog?