Singapore Will Spend S$1 Billion to Renovate Housing

Michelle Jamrisko and Katrina Nicholas

(Bloomberg) -- Explore what’s moving the global economy in the new season of the Stephanomics podcast. Subscribe via Pocket Cast or iTunes.

Singapore will spend more than S$1 billion ($728 million) to upgrade public and private housing estates over the next few years.

The projects will cushion industry partners in the current economic climate, Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong said Friday.

One component of the plan will be the expansion of the Home Improvement Programme, to help renovate some 55,000 flats already 30 years old or more as a start by fixing the concrete and upgrading doors and bathrooms, he said. The funds will also be used to renew community facilities like playgrounds, as well as improving private estate facilities with wider footpaths and new ramps.

Property announcements have been coming thick and fast in Singapore. In September, measures were introduced to make public housing more affordable, while in August, authorities revised the charges home builders must pay to enhance the use of certain property sites or build bigger projects on them.

That followed the tabling of an urban draft plan in March that included a range of proposals including increasing the number of residential developments and hotels by encouraging firms to convert office space, adding more green spaces like parks and park connectors, as well as creating more “one-stop hubs” to make it easier for families to shop, dine and live in one area.

Read more: Singapore to Foster CBD Living, Go Underground to Free Space

Although the city-state has a glut of apartments and even more in the pipeline, residential prices are on the rise again after cooling measures were introduced in July 2018. Those included raising stamp duties for second homes and foreign buyers, as well as tightening loan-to-value limits for advances granted by financial institutions.

The luxury end of the market is especially strong, with Urban Redevelopment Authority data showing the cost of high-end apartments rose 2.9% in prime and central regions in the three months ended Sept. 30, versus a 2.3% increase the previous quarter. Overall, residential prices increased 0.9%.

To contact the reporters on this story: Michelle Jamrisko in Singapore at mjamrisko@bloomberg.net;Katrina Nicholas in Singapore at knicholas2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Joyce Koh at jkoh38@bloomberg.net, James Poole, Andrew Janes

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.