By Jessica Cheam
The industry body representing Singapore's property valuers has called for the removal of all official data on cash premiums paid for Housing and Development Board (HDB) resale flats, also known as COV or cash-over-valuation.
The Singapore Institute of Surveyors and Valuers (SISV) said in a statement on Wednesday that it supported National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan's decision to cease the release of COV data, urging home buyers to 'use market valuations as the basis for making home buying decisions'.
COV is the amount a buyer pays over and above the valuation of an HDB resale flat.
The HDB, in its latest official quarterly statistics in July, had ceased issuing data on overall COV paid for HDB resale flats.
Mr Khaw later told reporters that the figures could be misleading, so he took a 'middle way' in issuing median COV data by HDB towns and flat types, but with no overall figures.
SISV president of valuation and general practice Dr Lim Lan Yuan said that when the government first published such COV data in 2007, its purpose was to reassure buyers that the high COVs reported in the media were not the norm.
But today, 'such figures are being used by the seller as a basis for asking cash amount(s)' as a right in any resale transaction, he noted.
He added that professional valuers would have already taken the market conditions into consideration when determining the value of a flat, therefore, COV should not be included as part of the price of a home.
[This is a correct move. COV figures will only create expectations which may simply be unrealistic. COV itself probably cannot be scrapped but there is no reason to report and perpetuate it.]