Need for 700,000 more homes by 2030

Enough land has been set aside for 700,000 more homes here by 2030 – more than half the 1.2 million households currently – to cater to a growing population.

This is part of a plan to provide good and affordable housing for Singaporeans detailed in the Population White Paper yesterday, as the population may reach 6.9 million by then.
“To support that kind of trajectory, we estimate that we will need another 700,000 new homes,” said Minister for National Development
Khaw Boon Wan at a press conference.
The idea is to create a sufficient buffer, he said.
The White Paper acknowledged that Singapore had fallen behind in its planning and investment for infrastructure development, and accordingly discussed other improvements, such as a better and more extensive transport system.
Mr Khaw called for patience and understanding as solving the issue will take time.
“We are determined to address the current problem and definitely the overcrowding will ease,” he said, noting that housing matters can be improved at a slightly faster pace than transport.
“If you decide to build a line, it might take you 10 to 12 years,” he said. “Housing, you decide to start building and (in) four to five years, you can realise those houses.”
Of the 700,000 homes that can be built, about 200,000 are already under construction.
Of the remaining half a million houses, many will be in new towns, such as Tengah, Tampines North and Bidadari.
There will also be new homes built in mature estates where land is available. “We do want our children, when they get married, to stay nearby,” Mr Khaw said.
More details will be revealed in a Land Use plan report by the MND later this week.
Having a buffer stock also keeps prices in check, market watchers said.
However, Mr Khaw warned that building this buffer comes at a cost.
“Underdo and you have today’s problem. Overdo and it’s too costly for taxpayers. Like all things, we have to find that sweet spot and achieve that balance going forward,” he said.
Mr Khaw noted how MND was heavily criticised not too long ago for over-building homes, which led to a lot of empty flats.
The government also responded to concerns that Singapore could become as congested as cities such as Hong Kong at the conference.
Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said Hong Kong’s population density is about 22,700 per square kilometre (sq km), while Singapore’s is about 11,000 per sq km. Even with a 6.9 million population, Singapore’s population density will be around 13,700 per sq km.
Source: Business Times –30 January 2013