Yesterday evening, the Chief Executive Officer of Temasek and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s wife shared a link on her Facebook page to Housing Development Board (HDB) flat rentals on propertyguru.com.sg.
While usually, this would hardly mean anything other than what it is, her post comes at a time after PM Lee’s National Day Rally which stirred up quite the nationwide debate on the depreciating 99-year old leases of HDB flats.
The eighty per cent of Singaporeans living in public housing were left with many questions and even greater uncertainty about their flats when PM Lee said, “Young couples buying a flat today probably would not see such a huge appreciation as [those] who bought the flat 40 years ago, because our economy is maturing and it cannot grow as fast anymore. But you still get a good headstart because the Government helps you out with a subsidised flat or housing grants, and often both. And as long as our economy grows, the value of the flat will go up for many years, just not as dramatically”.
PM Lee also added, “after living in your flat for 30 or 40 years, it will still have a good 60+ years of lease left. That is long enough for it to retain substantial value, and be a good retirement nest egg”
However, while Prime Minister Lee explained the choices one had with their aging flat, many Singaporeans griped that issues pertaining to how the Government intended to aid with the depreciating value of their flat were not addressed in full.
This left Singaporeans puzzled, unhappy and worried about the 99-year leases of their flats, of which they could possibly see little to no return on.
Former Nominated Member of Parliament Calvin Cheng suggested what one could do in a Facebook post.
He said, “Look. It’s very simple. If you think that the Government is cheating you, that you are really a tenant, and it’s a lease, it’s a rental, then for goodness sake, don’t buy a HDB flat. Since it’s the same as renting to you, then please go rent. Plenty of these around”.
Most netizens agreed with Cheng, even Ho Ching, who ‘liked’ and shared the link Cheng put up to HDB rentals.
Some Singaporeans also explained their view on why HDB flats had leases, and how it was different from rentals.
Even lawyer Eugene Thuraisingam got in on the issue.