Breaking news: SERS (Ang Mo Kio) – “Strange” media reports? Almost everyone I talked to says they are confused – are you?

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“Some Ang Mo Kio residents dismayed by top-up for similar-sized Sers replacement units; HDB exploring options” (ST, Jun 15)
“So it came as a shock to the 54-year-old when she realised that she might have to fork out more than $100,000, if she were to pick a similar-sized four-room flat at the Sers replacement site”
Comment:
I understand that the replacement flats are of a smaller size. So, can the HDB please reconfirm “similar-sized”?
“On Wednesday (June 15), HDB said it was aware of some residents who were concerned about having to top up money in order to buy a larger-sized replacement flat that is closer to the size of their existing units.”
Comment:
Can the HDB please reconfirm “having to top up money in order to buy a larger-sized replacement flat that is closer to the size of their existing units” – means that even the “smaller sized replacement flat(s)” require top-up?
So, is there any choice to replace without a top-up?
“”We understand these concerns, especially from seniors who have informed us that they do not need the fresh 99-year lease that comes with the new replacement flats. We are looking at the residents’ feedback and will continue to explore options to assist these families,” said HDB, without elaborating on what these options are.”
Comment:
The SERS was announced in April, and it is now already Jun – so, why is it that “without elaborating on what these options are”?
“A more straightforward – but harder to swallow – solution would be for owners to accept a smaller unit, said Mr Mak.
“If you have a four-room now and you downsize to a two-room flexi or three-room flat, you probably won’t have to pay more money. The good thing is there’s a 99-year lease, so the value is preserved because there’s a reselling option down the road. Yes, the unit will be smaller but that’s the way the cookie crumbles,” he said.”
Comment:
Why should one be literally “forced” to downgrade to a smaller flat with one room less?
“Eligible flat owners will also receive a Sers grant of up to $30,000 to buy a replacement flat. They will also get a $10,000 removal allowance, as well as have their stamp and legal fees for their next purchase covered.”
Comment:
The 2-page financial guide given by the HDB to a resident, showed a resale levy of $30,000, which means that the Sers grant of $30,000 is in a sense, nonexistent in this resident’s case?
Arguably, is $10,000 enough to cover the renovations of the replacement flat, and the removal costs, etc?
“”We’ve been in this home for more than 40 years and have finished paying back the loan. We just want to live peacefully, but now we’re in a lot of distress. I’m just hoping that the Government will help us,” said Madam Chen, who is unable to work due to health issues.”
Comment:
No comment – the words speak for themselves!
“ERA’s Mr Mak said the owners’ misguided expectations of a one-to-one swop might have stemmed from yesteryears when Sers was seen as a “lottery” by some people.
“Twenty years ago, perhaps the compensation amount was more generous but back then, the Sers flats had longer remaining leases. Now, because there are more ageing flats, HDB might be more cautious to not overcompensate owners,” he added.”
Comment:
So, does it mean that the compensation amount now is much less “generous”? If so, why, and how much “less”?
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About the Author

Leong
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 professionalĀ  qualifications.