In the name of public home ownership: HDB’s record S$4.37 billion deficit

Yeah, that’s legit a big red ➖.

In fact, that S$4.37 billion deficit for FY2021 is HDB’s biggest-ever since the inception of public housing in Singapore.

A look at the numbers which were released on Oct 31 in HDB’s Annual Report, in fact, shows that most of the money’s ($3.85 billion) gone towards Home Ownership, which is double the S$1.95 billion deficit recorded in FY2020.

There’s a net increase of S$2.262 billion providing for the foreseeable loss for flats currently under development. Simply put, this amount includes things like housing grants and grants.

Also, a higher gross loss of S$659 million from sales completed and home buyers getting their keys, as compared to S$356 million in FY 2020. This points to the higher number of sales completed in FY 2021 (13,506 units) than in FY 2020 (8,124 units).

And S$849 million of CPF housing grants disbursed to eligible buyers of resale flats and Executive Condominiums.

All the gargantuan figures all point to one thing: HDB’s mission of delivering affordable public housing to Singaporeans.

It’s all the point of HDB, honestly.

The Home Ownership Scheme, which has helped almost nine out of every ten Singaporeans own their own home, is fundamental to HDB’s mission: affordable, quality housing and a great living environment where communities thrive.

A key national priority

“We are committed to keeping public housing affordable and accessible, to meet the housing aspirations of Singaporeans, and to help Singaporeans own their home,” said Minister for National Development Desmond Lee at the release of the Report.

Yup. A national public housing that people can trust, and which a World Bank study hails as the best in the world, is a key national priority. It’s the basic foundation for us to raise our families, bring up our children and build strong communities.

“That is why we continue to build and sell new HDB flats at prices below the market, increasing our market subsidies over this period to keep BTO prices relatively stable, and also provide housing grants to eligible buyers of both new and resale flats,” added the Minister.

For example, 13,506 flats were sold in FY 2021. This is 66 per cent more than in FY 2020’s 8,124 flats. 

And that FY 2021 $659 million gross loss?

It’s an 85 per cent increase from FY 2020’s S$356 million.

In other words, the Government’s doing more to help homeowners’ pockets directly here.

“HDB’s substantial deficit under its Home Ownership Programme shows in real terms, our commitment to ensuring that public housing remains affordable, accessible, and inclusive,” noted Minister Lee.

Looking forward, the supply of flats is getting ramped up to 23,000 yearly in 2022 and 2023 (a 35 per cent increase from last year), as well as preparing to launch up to 100,000 new flats from 2021 to 2025, if needed.

Plus, the Government’s reviewing housing policies to help first-time buyers get their flats.

So, ➖ yes.

But in the larger context,  HDB’s a big green ➕.

Cover photo credit: Muhd Asyraaf on Unsplash and Rach Teo on Unsplash