Reveal the actual cost of public housing

I recently participated in a session of Our Singapore Conversation on housing, where questions on cost of the construction of public housing, as well as its pricing, were raised.

Participants, like myself, wanted to know about land cost, pre-construction expenses, the cost of construction and building materials, professional fees, contractors’ margins, as well as how the Housing and Development Board (HDB) derives its formula for “subsidies” for each housing type and the profit margins.

My concern is whether such subsidies will become a burden that the next generation has to bear. As it is, our public debts exceed our gross domestic product. This, to me, is a red flag.

Also, to date, there is no cost auditing reporting process in place when it comes to public housing and the annual financial reports do not say much.

As a public housing provider, the HDB has a fiduciary duty to report such information to citizens. It is in a monopolistic position; and transparency would help Singaporeans — whether buying or selling houses — make prudent decisions.

Regulators must be mindful that how much Singaporeans spend on public housing has a systemic impact on how much they have left for their children, professional development, starting a business and retirement.

FROM RAYMOND NG

Source : Today – 26 May 2013

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