The housing market will continue to stabilise in the coming year with ‘significant’ supply of new homes: Desmond Lee

Lee was speaking at the United Overseas Bank’s (UOB) Secured Loans’ Chinese New Year gala dinner on Feb 20.

Felicia Tan

The housing market is expected to continue to stabilise in the coming year with a “significant” supply of new homes coming on stream, says Minister for National Development Desmond Lee. Lee is also the Minister-in-Charge of Social Services Integration.

Lee was speaking at United Overseas Bank U11 -0.7% ’s (UOB) secured loans’ Chinese New Year gala dinner on Feb 20.

“There are encouraging signs that our efforts to stabilise the market are bearing fruit,” he adds, noting that resale prices for Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats rose by 4.8% in 2023, which is less than half of the increase in the year before and below pre-Covid-19 levels.

Build-to-order (BTO) flat application rates of first-time home buyers have also gone down and the growth of prices of private homes has moderated, he notes. In 2023, price growth in the private residential market stood at 6.8%, down from 2022’s 8.6%.

In addition, buyers are “increasingly prudent” in their housing purchases and will not overstretch themselves as domestic mortgage rates are expected to remain elevated for some time.

“I would like to thank our real estate stakeholders for your close partnership and constructive feedback regarding the property market. Lenders play a pivotal role – your financial support enables many Singaporeans to achieve their housing aspirations,” he says.

Lee was also keen to note that the government regularly engages and gathers feedback from all its stakeholders and the public to ensure a more stable and sustainable property market. The recent revisions made to the additional buyer’s stamp duty (ABSD) regime announced at the Budget 2024 on Feb 16, is an illustration of this, he adds.

“We will continue engaging Singaporeans on strengthening our social compact and catering to our evolving housing aspirations. We will also work closely with individuals, businesses, and the community, to support those in need,” says Lee.

After Lee’s speech, an inaugural charitable live auction of an artwork that was commissioned from three-time UOB painting of the year winner Lester Lee was held. The painting by Lester raised $100,262 for the Children’s Aid Society. Of the total sum, $78,000 came from PropNex’s CEO Ismail Gafoor via a live bidding process while UOB’s secured loans team contributed $10,000. Another silent auction conducted within the bank raised above $12,000.

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