HDB: Housing until Die Broke?


HDB – ‘Housing until Die Broke’!

I refer to the article “Owners of older HDB flats split over Vers” (Straits Times, Aug 21).

It states that “Vers allows residents in selected precincts to vote on whether to sell their flats back to the Government early, after the flats have crossed the age of 70. It is part of a long-term plan to progressively redevelop older precincts.

Details of the scheme are still being worked out, but if Vers comes to Block 1, which is 50 years old and has 49 years left on the lease, Madam Doss will probably say no to moving out of her long-time home.

Said the former civil servant, who lives alone: “We have a community who have lived here for as long as I have. If the majority votes yes, I will feel sad to move, but I hope that it never comes to that.”

Not all her neighbours may agree with Madam Doss if the matter is put to a vote. Out of 20 households at Block 1 interviewed yesterday, 10 would say no to Vers. Six households said they would vote yes, while four were undecided.

On the other side is the view that a collective sale at the 70-year mark would give residents a payout that can go towards paying for their next home or be passed on to their children, instead of allowing their home values to dwindle to naught at the end of the 99-year leases.

This range of views will have to be grappled with in 20 years’ time when a number of the oldest precincts in Singapore turn 70.

A precinct comprises of around 10 blocks of flats. Whether they favour Vers or not, residents ultimately gain from having the option of a government buyout before lease expiry, said Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC MP Saktiandi Supaat. Even if Vers does not proceed, residents can still expect ageing homes to receive upgrading and maintenance through other policies, such as the expanded Home Improvement Programme, he said.


This is public housing so it is unreasonable to expect a windfall (from Vers) like you get with a condominium en bloc sale. But it is good financial sense to prevent your home value from turning to zero.

RESIDENT JOE THANG, 63, a retired businessman who will do his part to educate his elderly neighbours – nicely – about the benefits of saying yes to Vers.

“What is key here is that there is a choice for residents now,” said Mr Saktiandi, a member of the Government Parliamentary Committee (GPC) for National Development.

For now, these new housing policies need to be explained to Singaporeans, he added.

Indeed, some residents had several misconceptions about Vers after Sunday’s Rally. Several assumed that Vers is synonymous with the existing Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme (Sers), which the authorities use to take back public housing sites with high redevelopment potential.

One key difference is that the terms of compensation for Vers will be less generous than that for Sers, which is why Vers is voluntary. The authorities, however, will help Vers residents get another flat to live in.

Mr Chris Koh, director of real estate agency Chris International, said the Vers payouts should still enable residents to rent a home, purchase a two-room flexi flat or place a deposit on a new home.

Some, like National Development GPC chairman Alex Yam, had voiced concerns over possible acrimony between groups of residents when Vers is put to a vote – but those who live in Block 1 said that was unlikely.”

My friends said “Ho say liao! Sinkies more clever now! Even uncles and aunties also know kenna sai!

Only 6 out of 20 said Yes in survey to VERS (Very Expensive Rotation Scheme) hahahaha!

Heh maybe after years of “buy lah – ‘asset enhancement’ hor”

Now know liao! – Actually kenna sai – CPF and cash all gone end 99 years!

Pay most expensive public housing in the world which will become worthless one hehe! (not funny hor!)

Now over 40 years old one – price very low – every year price drop!

So, Shit Times front page headlines yesterday say dont worry hor – every HDB flat will be upgraded twice hor!

So stupid right – no wonder 151st one – never tell you the obvious – lease is still 99 years hor!!

This ‘Very Expensive Rotation Scheme’ lagi best – ask you to sell your HDB when 70 years old!

You think like enbloc for private one har! This one not private developers bid the highest price hor! This one only one price one – sell to cheng hu lah!

So, what you do after you sell?

Downgrade to smaller flat is it? Maybe can make some small money to retire since most CPF gone to HDB liao?

Or make no money, but buy similar flat – but very good lah – 99 year problem gone – new flat means like extend for up to another 99 years lah!

Heh! This problem is who create one hah?

This one the best! Cheng hu now say I give you choice hor! To solve the 99-year  problem hor!

Eh, who created this problem in the first place har?

Oh don’t say I never tell you hor! VERS is less generous than SERS you know!

Oh no – actually we are also so stupid – talk so much now – in 20 years time – you think still same cheng hu meh! hahahahaha

Ownself laugh ownself!

HDB – ‘Housing until Die Broke’!

Uniquely Singapore!”

Leong Sze Hian




About the Author

Leong Sze Hian has served as the president of 4 professional bodies, honorary consul of 2 countries, an alumnus of Harvard University, authored 4 books, quoted over 1500 times in the media , has been a radio talkshow host, a newspaper daily columnist, Wharton Fellow, SEACeM Fellow, columnist for theonlinecitizen and Malaysiakini, executive producer of Ilo Ilo (40 international awards), Hotel Mumbai (associate producer), invited to speak more than 200 times in about 40 countries, CIFA advisory board member, founding advisor to the Financial Planning Associations of 2 countries. He has 3 Masters, 2 Bachelors degrees and 13 professional  qualifications.