Thursday, 15 February 2007

Written Answers To Questions For Oral Answer Not Answered By 3.00 PM: 15 February 2007

I mentioned earlier that if a MP files an OPQ for a sitting and it is not answered by the end of Question Time for that sitting, the MP can choose to postpone the OPQ to the next available sitting for oral answer. However, if the MP decides not to do so, the Minister's prepared written answer to the OPQ will be released and the OPQ will be deemed answered.

I had 3 OPQs for today, but they were too far down the order to make it. So I decided to postpone 2 and proceed with the written answer to the 3rd, for 3 reasons.

Firstly, the OPQ was drafted in the form of queries for information, although I had intended to follow-up with supplemental questions.

Secondly, another MP had filed a very similar OPQ asking for very similar information, so I figured that I could simply ask supplemental questions when his OPQ came up for answer.

Thirdly, I have already filed 2 further OPQs, which were not fixed for answer (since I already had 3 OPQs fixed). So not postponing this OPQ would have allowed one of those 2 further OPQs to enter the queue.

But I must say I was quite disappointed when I saw the answer. I had asked 3 questions (a), (b), and (c), but question (c) was further divided into (i), (ii) and (iii). Unfortunately, the written answer did not address (c)(ii) or (c)(iii) -- it simply ignored them completely. Certainly the HDB would have the information to reply to (c)(iii), if not (c)(ii), although I would be very, very surprised if it did not have the information for (c)(ii).

I fully intend to follow-up when the other MP's OPQ comes up.


(Foreclosure by banks)

Mr Siew Kum Hong: To ask the Minister for National Development, for each year from 2003 to 2006 (a) how many new and resale HDB flats were purchased using bank loans; (b) how many HDB mortgages were foreclosed by banks; and (c) of these cases of foreclosure, (i) what was the average period for which the debtors were in default before foreclosure; (ii) what was the average quantum of the outstanding loan at the time of foreclosure; and (iii) what was the average original purchase price of the flat.

Mr Mah Bow Tan: From 2003 to 2006, there were about 89,000[1] HDB flats financed with bank loans.

As at 31 Dec 06, the banks completed the mortgagee sale for 895 cases. This works out to about 1% of the 89,000 HDB flats financed with bank loans.

We do not have information on the average period of default by borrowers before the banks foreclose on the loans. However, we understand that banks normally monitor closely Non-Performing Loans where no payment has been made for more than 90 days. They would offer to reschedule repayments or other assistance measures when borrowers are facing difficulty servicing their loan instalments.

[1] 78,000 new and resale flats were purchased with bank loans while the remaining 11,000 were ex-HDB loans refinanced with bank loans.


Readymade said...

Sounds like you didn't get a full answer to (a) either. Would have been interesting to see a breakdown by year.

Likewise, is the figure of 895 the total number of foreclosures from 2003 to 2006? Or is it just for 2006?

Keep asking those questions :)

o said...

A bit of a switch was put on for (b). You asked about foreclosures (when the bank takes ownership of defaulted property) and they provided mortgagee sales (when the bank sells the defaulted property). But perhaps there isn't much of a difference.