The ‘propaganda onslaught’ on the ‘HDB 99-year’ problem continues?
I refer to the article “What it should have been” (Straits Times, Sep 25).
It states that “In a Sunday Times report headlined “Old is gold for these buyers of ageing HDB flats“, we said that National Development Minister Lawrence Wong had warned people not to pay overly high prices for ageing HDB flats.
What Mr Wong said was that it should not be assumed that all old HDB flats will be automatically eligible for the Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme (Sers), and that buyers need to “do their due diligence and be realistic when buying flats with short leases”.
We are sorry for the error.”
Let’s try to understand what’s the difference between what was published on Sunday (Sep 23) that led to the subject ‘We are sorry for the error’ on Tuesday (Sep 25).
Well, it looks like ‘had warned people not to pay overly high prices for ageing HDB flats’ vs ‘buyers need to “do their due diligence and be realistic when buying flats with short leases”‘, and of course, there was no mention of ‘it should not be assumed that all old HDB flats will be automatically eligible for the Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme (Sers)’ in the original article.
So, what do we make out of all this?
Well, arguably, we seem to be making a mountain out of a molehill with regard to ‘SERS’ – that only those who don’t get SERS will have a problem?
Perhaps some English teachers in our schools can try to comment on the above.
With the weekly onslaught of propaganda in the media on the ‘HDB 99-year lease’ problem – let’s fall back on what works all the time – look at the numbers stupid!
The URA Private Property Price Index has increased by 9.1% in the last year from 136.6 in 2017 Q2 to 149 in 2018 Q2.
In contrast, the URA HDB Resale Price Index has decreased by 1.5% in the last year from 133.7 in 2017 Q2 to 131.7 in 2018 Q2.
So, the gap between private property and HDB is 10.6% (9.1 + 1.5) in the last year.
Why are they moving in opposite directions, when historically they may tend to move quite close in tandem most of the time?
Well, what a coincidence – the issue arguably started in March last year, when the subject ‘we are sorry for the error’ statement was made.
So, to what extent is this due to the ‘HDB 99-year lease’ problem?
But, the HDB Resale Price Index is for all resale flats. What if we breakdown and get statistics on older vs younger flats?
Well, you can see from the chart below, that the price difference between more than and less than 60 years’ lease left 5-room flats in Toa Payoh is about 40 per cent ($420,000 (approximate) divided $680,000 (approximate))
So, instead of ‘propaganda’ in the media, or relying on ad-hoc price data from private sector property experts (the chart above), – the Government should start to provide regular data on the price gap between older and newer HDB flat types in the different housing estates.
After all, isn’t this arguably, in the public interest, and in line with the online falsehoods’ committee’s recommendation that the Government should give the reasons for decisions not to disclose information to the public, and to gain the trust of the public?
Leong Sze Hian