HDB better than condo?


Is your HDB flat better than private property?

I refer to the article “PM Lee Hsien Loong refutes notion that 99-year HDB lease is extended rental, not a sale” (Straits Times, Aug 25).

It states that “On the issue of 99-year Housing Board (HDB) leases, Mr Lee refuted the notion that the lease is “merely an extended rental” and not a sale.

He said he found the argument by some commentators “frankly amazing”, as many private properties are also held on 99-year leases but no one argues they are merely being rented.”

As to “”HDB lessees have all the rights over their flats that owners of such leasehold private properties have. You can live in it, you can transact it, you can bequeath it to your children – it is yours,” said Mr Lee, at a book launch held at the National University of Singapore” – one of the primary difference between HDB and private property is that you can choose to enbloc your private property to the highest bidder at any time

In contrast, for HDB – you have to wait for an enbloc (if it ever comes) – at a fixed compensation determined by the HDB, which may normally only be enough for you to get a similar replacement flat.

Also, a private property can be bequeathed to anyone without restrictions – for HDB – your beneficiaries must meet the family eligibility criteria and not have any interest in another HDB or private property.

Otherwise, you may be forced to sell in the open market, regardless of the state of the property market – such as the approximately 14-year property bear market from around 1996 to 2010 whereby prices fell by as much as half.

In the final analysis – public housing in every country in the world allows minimal cost for extension at the end of the lease, and no country’s public housing will wipe out the bulk of your pensions and become worthless when your lease runs out.

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.