Property developers island wide must have been busy messaging each other when the prime minister announced that 800 ha of land will be freed at Paya Lebar. Real estate agents salivated with glee, at news of height restrictions removed by the relocation of the airbase, meaning existing 8 storey structures in perfectly livable and affordable conditions can be demolished to make way for building heights of up to 36 floors. Residents in the affected zone will probably discover new neighbours, speculative vultures who take up a unit or more in anticipation of the plump prospects of another Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS). The stakes are high, the land area could easily accommodate 60,000 to 80,000 public and private homes. This is asset enhancement at work, same land area extorting higher prices.
Some will definitely benefit from the bonanza, but most will discover the money they receive will only afford newer units of smaller living space, packed closer together than older developments. How did the HDB CEO put it? Units are smaller because Singapore families are getting smaller. The higher density fits nicely into the White Paper target, oops, planning parameter, of 6.9 million population. It wasn't referred to in the National Day Rally speech, probably because the old geezer said in his latest book, "One Man's View", it was Teo Chee Hean who's responsible for the reviled number. If there's another last minute election apology in 2016, it might go like this: "We are sorry for the oversight. Our ministers were using a template policy, and we have since tried to correct it."