picture credit: TODAY

By: Leong Sze Hian

To buy an old HDB or not?

I refer to the article “To buy an old HDB flat or not, that is the question” (Straits Times, Apr 16).

It states that “What of the public policy perspective? Here, I think Mr Wong and the Government as a whole have a lot more explaining to do, in terms of what government intentions are as HDB flats age.

There are 1 million HDB flats, of which 70,000 or 7 per cent are over 40 years old. About 280,000 units are 30 to 40 years old. That’s one in three flats 30 years or older.

HDB lease-running-out time bomb?

The ageing profile means that a large number of flats will cross over into their 50s in the next two decades. It’s no wonder that some are calling this an HDB lease-running-out time bomb.”

The uncertainties of life?

As to “It depends on whether you plan to live there for life, or whether you hope to sell it later for a profit” – how is it possible given the uncertainties in life – that one can reasonably know whether one’s HDB flat would be for lifelong living or for sale at some point in the future?

For example, you could lose your job, get a huge pay cut, fail in your business, fall sick, have an accident, be divorced, marry or remarry, have to become a caretaker for a family member, etc.

To sell or not to sell, that is the question?

So, perhaps a better byline may be “To sell (instead of buy) an old HDB flat or not, that is the question”?

After all, who in his right mind now would buy arguably, the most expensive public housing in the world (ratio of price to net income) with the uncertainty (or rather certainty) that it will become worthless when the 99 year lease runs out, with possibly likely unknown periods of declining value too?