HDB resale flats cheaper than BTO flats?


How serious and widespread is the HDB ‘ethnic quota flats” ‘no buyers’ problem?

After writing “HDB ethnic quota: Show the data, not ‘talk thru your nose’?” (Oct 2) – someone  (who prefers to remain anonymous) alerted me to some very interesting HDB data.

According to the HDB’s web site –

“Consistent Approach in Pricing New Flats

In pricing new BTO flats, regardless of the differences, we take care to ensure that the flats are affordable so that you would be able to find a home that suit your budget and needs:

  • Priced below comparable resale flats: BTO flats are priced significantly lower than comparable resale flats so that Singaporeans can enjoy a subsidy.”
  • In this connection, according to the ‘HDB private treaty’ listings in real estate portals – the price of older ‘ethnic quota reached’ 3-room flats in Toa Payoh (mature estate) have a ‘guide price’ of as low as $245,000 – and apparently, there are still no takers.

In the May 2018 BTO launch in Toa Payoh – 3-room flats were priced from $245,000 to $292,000.

  • How is it possible that BTO flats may be more expensive than resale flats when the HDB continues to say that “BTO flats are priced significantly lower than comparable resale flats so that Singaporeans can enjoy a subsidy”?
  • And there seems to be quite a lot of such ‘low price’ resale flats.

So, who are we kidding when we keep saying that the ethnic quota and older HDB flats’ rapidly declining values are not a serious problem?

The Government should provide the statistics as to what is the price difference between those flats (different flat types – 2, 3, 4 and 5-room) in blocks that have reached the ethnic quota, in comparison with Chinese owners’ flats’ transactions, as well as older versus younger  normal (non-ethnic quota) flats.

After all, isn’t this arguably, in the public interest, and in line with the online falsehoods’ committee’s recommendation that the Government should give the reasons for decisions not to disclose information to the public, and to gain the trust of the public?

Leong Sze Hian


About the Author

Leong Sze Hian has served as the president of 4 professional bodies, honorary consul of 2 countries, an alumnus of Harvard University, authored 4 books, quoted over 1500 times in the media , has been a radio talkshow host, a newspaper daily columnist, Wharton Fellow, SEACeM Fellow, columnist for theonlinecitizen and Malaysiakini, executive producer of Ilo Ilo (40 international awards), Hotel Mumbai (associate producer), invited to speak more than 200 times in about 40 countries, CIFA advisory board member, founding advisor to the Financial Planning Associations of 2 countries. He has 3 Masters, 2 Bachelors degrees and 13 professional  qualifications.