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HDB flats, ECs will feel brunt of new measures

Posted by on in Residential
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The public housing sector, as well as the hybrid executive condominium (EC) market, will bear a significant load from the slew of cooling measures introduced by the government yesterday.

Beyond a broad range of measures that apply across residential properties, they will be subject to further specific policies announced by the authorities yesterday, which market watchers have welcomed.

The EC market, which has been in the limelight over escalating prices and whether it has served its purpose to cater to the sandwiched class, will see several measures put in place from today.

First, the maximum strata floor space for new EC homes will be capped at 160 square metres (1,722 square feet), effectively spelling the end of super-sized penthouses and the high prices that come with them.

Also, private roof terraces and private enclosed spaces will be counted as part of the 10 per cent bonus gross floor area (GFA) for all non-landed residential developments, including ECs and private condos, and subject to payment to development charges or differential premium.

New dual-key EC units will also be restricted to multi-generational families. This will prevent abuse by investors looking to rent out the smaller unit for income.

The final new measure for the EC market is that developers for future EC sale sites from the Government Land Sales programme can only launch units for sale 15 months from the award of the sites or after foundation works are completed, whichever comes first.

As for the public housing sector, the Government is tightening the eligibility for loans to buy Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats.

From today, the Mortgage Servicing Ratios (MSRs) for housing loans will be capped at 35 per cent of a borrower's gross monthly income if it was from HDB, and 30 per cent if the loan was from a financial institution.

Further, permanent residents (PRs) will also be barred from subletting their entire HDB flat if they own it. This applies to existing owners, and those intending to get a resale flat, but not to those who had obtained HDB approval before today.

PRs must now also sell their HDB units within six months of buying a private residence. This excludes those who had received permission from HDB to own a private property before today.

A separate measure to tighten the terms for granting HDB loans and using CPF savings to buy flats with fewer than 60 years' lease left will take effect on July 1.

Credit from Business Times - 12 January 2013
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