Public housing has always been a big deal in local politics – after all, more than 80% of Singaporeans actually live in their own HDB flat. That’s why, across the years, political parties have always talked about housing issues in their manifestos.

From complaining about the availability of public housing in the past to talking about housing prices, every political party has taken their shots at HDB.

For this year’s general elections, the SDP tabled their alternative housing proposal – a Non-Open Market scheme that removes the land cost from HDB prices. This would make all houses cheaper, to as low as $240k for a 5-room flat!

Doesn’t that sound amazing? Then again, as it is with all policies, the devil is in the details.

Under the SDP’s scheme, houses bought under the non-open market cannot actually be resold to other people – they can only be sold back to HDB, at a reduced price. Owners of non-open market flats who want to rent their flats must pay a ‘large levy’ (quoted directly from SDP).

Doesn’t this sound like you’re actually renting your house, and never ever owning it?

A lot of Singaporeans moved up the economic ladder by actually buying their first homes, selling it on the open market and upgrading to a better home. This means that over years, Singaporeans slowly and steadily build up a financially reliable asset that they can tap on if they really fall into financial problems.

Unfortunately, under the SDP’s non-open market scheme, you will never ever be able to do that. Your $240k 5-room flat would be sold back to HDB for maybe $150k after you live there for a few years, and I suppose the best case scenario for you is to buy a smaller flat from HDB.

Sounds like a short-term gain, for long-term pain right?


Other articles in this series that you may be interested in:

Policies & How They Affect Me: Minimum Wage

Policies & How They Affect Me: Kiasu, Kiasi, and Kiagui