On Sunday (26 Mar), Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong repeated the narrative of HDB flats being good homes and valuable nest eggs for retirement.
Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Chong Pang City integrated development, he said the government’s commitment is to provide high-quality public housing in the country.
He acknowledged that some towns may be more popular than others, but emphasized that every HDB flat would be a good home and a valuable investment.
“This is the PAP government’s promise to all Singaporeans: that your HDB flat will be both a good home for you and your family, and a valuable nest egg for your retirement.”
“We strive very hard to make all our new towns, all our HDB towns highly liveable,” Mr Lee said.
Controversy over HDB flats as valuable investments
Towards PM Lee’s comments reported by Channel News Asia, many netizens have voiced their doubts over the viability of such claims in light of the recent controversy surrounding the Selective En Bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS) and the rising property prices.
For those who are not aware, residents of 43-year-old flats at Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3 are being forced to move out and purchase a replacement flat of equivalent size and convenience using their own funds or CPF.
A netizen commented on CNA’s Facebook post, highlighting that seniors in Ang Mo Kio are required to spend their own money to move to a new environment, renovate and resettle themselves, without being able to benefit from the sale of their HDB flats.
A netizen also reminded that the value of the old HDB unit taken back for SERS could be slightly lower than the resale value, but the owner would need to buy a BTO unit at a higher price in the same area or buy another resale flat with a lesser lease remaining.
‘A nest egg that will price the young out’
There are also comments that raised concerns over the affordability of HDB flats for the future, questioned the concept of HDB flats as a “nest egg” and urged the government to focus on the original purpose of providing affordable housing to the masses rather than promoting it as a monetary asset.
Another netizen raised a question about the affordability of HDB flats for the future, stating that the current BTO prices are too high and the young generation may not be able to afford the down-payment.
A netizen questioned the concept of HDB flats as a “nest egg”, suggesting that it may actually result in a chain of debt.
A netizen reminded on The Straits Times Facebook post that the original purpose of HDB was to provide affordable housing to the masses in Singapore.
Another comment also urged the government to stop promoting the idea of HDB as a monetary asset for political gain and emphasizes that HDB should be seen as an affordable home for the public, rather than a lottery ticket.
Difficulty in ‘monetizing’ HDB flats
On TODAY’s Facebook post, a comment expressed concerns about the difficulty in monetizing HDB flats due to current Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) rules that make it challenging for HDB owners to invest in additional properties without paying higher taxes, ultimately burdening the next generation despite the high prices on paper.
Singapore Citizens buying their second and subsequent properties are now liable to pay 12% to 15% in ABSD, while Singapore PRs, foreigners and entities have to pay 5% to 25%.