HDB incurs over S$4 billion deficit, highest since inception of public housing

The Dragon Playground, one of two remaining playgrounds built for public housing estates by the Housing Development and Board (HDB) in the 1970s, is seen in the satellite town of Toa Payoh in central Singapore, June 16, 2019. Picture taken June 16, 2019. REUTERS/Loriene Perera
The Dragon Playground, one of two remaining playgrounds built for public housing estates by the Housing Development and Board (HDB) in the 1970s, is seen in the satellite town of Toa Payoh in central Singapore, June 16, 2019. Picture taken June 16, 2019. (PHOTO: REUTERS/Loriene Perera)

SINGAPORE – The Housing and Development Board (HDB) has incurred a record net deficit of S$4.367 billion in Financial Year (FY) 2021.

This is the highest ever deficit recorded since the inception of public housing in Singapore.

In a press release covering its FY2021/FY2022 annual report, it said that this amount – calculated before government grant – is 86 per cent higher than the S$2.346 billion deficit incurred in FY2020.

Of the S$4.367 billion deficit, S$3.85 billion was incurred for the Home Ownership segment in FY2021, HDB said. This is almost double the S$1.953 billion deficit recorded in FY2020.

The Home Ownership segment covers the development and sale of flats to eligible buyers under the various home ownership schemes for public housing, and disbursement of housing grants to eligible households of new and resale flats.

Minister for National Development Desmond Lee said, "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."

The S$3.85 billion deficit, HDB noted, stems mainly from the expected loss for flats that are currently under development, gross loss on the sale of flats and disbursement of CPF housing grants.

Other contributing factors to the deficit include that from rental of HDB flats under the various rental housing schemes; higher expenditure for residential ancillary functions, including car park improvement; and the rejuvenation of towns and flats, including 53,792 units under the Home Improvement Programme (HIP).

More flats to be launched

To meet the strong housing demand, HDB has been ramping up the supply of BTO flats and will launch up to 23,000 flats per year in 2022 and 2023, it said.

"This is a significant increase of 35 per cent from the 17,000 flats launched in 2021. This means that not only will more buyers be able to secure their BTO flats, and in a wider range of locations, they will also be able to select from a larger pool of flats that meet their budgets," HDB said. "We are also prepared to launch up to 100,000 flats in total from 2021 to 2025, if needed."

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