New rules to protect home buyers

Prospective buyers of private homes can look forward to a more transparent property market when changes to the Housing Developers (Control and Licensing Act) kicks in from 25 May 2015, revealed the Ministry of National Development (MND).

The new rules for residential developers will ensure more comprehensive information on prospective property purchases while showflats must accurately depict the housing units offered for sale.

Here is the full statement from MND:

In April 2013, Parliament approved amendments to the Housing Developers (Control and Licensing) Act to improve and update legislative safeguards for buyers of uncompleted private residential properties. The amendments will enhance market transparency by providing the public with more comprehensive and timelier information on the private residential property market.

Since then, MND has worked on the subsidiary legislation, the Housing Developers Rules, to effect these policy changes. The effort includes the implementation of a new set of rules on show units, the Housing Developers (Show Unit) Rules.

The legislative amendments, which were finalised through a series of consultations with members of the public and industry stakeholders, are now ready to take effect. The amendments will enable prospective home buyers to make better-informed purchasing decisions.

Weekly collection and publication of transaction data

From 25 May 2015, housing developers must submit detailed transaction information to the Controller of Housing every week. This information will include sales volumes and transacted prices of individual units in their building projects, and the value of any benefits extended to buyers.

Developers will be required to submit this information to the Controller within five days of the end of each preceding week. This information will be published on the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) website weekly from 5 June 2015.

More comprehensive information in transaction documents

The Option to Purchase and Sale & Purchase Agreement, which are standard forms prescribed under the Housing Developers Rules, will also be amended  to enhance the safeguards for purchasers of private residential properties. For example, developers must indicate the value of any benefits (such as cash rebates, absorption of legal fees or stamp fees, rental guarantees and furniture vouchers) offered to buyers.

The amendments to both forms will take effect on 20 July 2015. This is to provide developers sufficient time to comply with the amendments.

Ensuring the accuracy of show units

MND is introducing the Housing Developers (Show Unit) Rules to ensure that all show units provided by developers are accurate depictions of housing units offered for sale.

For example, one rule requires the floor area of the show unit to be the same as that of the actual housing unit. Another rule requires all external and structural walls to be built in the actual unit to be depicted in the show unit.

These Rules will take effect on 20 July 2015 to provide developers sufficient time to comply with the new requirements. For more information, go to: http://bit.ly/1Hr1g73

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