“Like all leasehold properties, HDB flats will revert to HDB, the landowner, upon expiry of their leases. HDB will in turn surrender the land to the State “ – Khaw Boon Wan 2014
Most Singaporeans you see on the streets are likely to live in HDB flats. These public housing flats have a 99-year lease.
The 99 year lease is quite simple to understand – The land is leased and once the lease is up, it has to be returned.
Your flat will be taken from you once the lease is up. Is that news to you?
You can say that many Singaporeans are unaware that about this 99 year lease, but we think that actually, many are in denial that their flats would be taken back by the authorities once its lease is up.
Hence the exaggerated ‘shock’ when Lawrence Wong recently blogged about it.
Read Lawrence Wong’s full post here
He was responding to a Lianhe Zaobao report on March 15 which highlighted the high prices of several short-lease HDB flats in the resale market. People were betting that just because their flats were old, there is a high chance they would automatically qualify for the SERS programme and get relocated to new HDBs on the cheap.
This was not the first time, this issue has been brought up. The government has been very consistent in its messages; telling people upfront about the 99-year lease.
Here is a question by Gerald Giam in 2014 and the reply by Minister Khaw Boon Wan:
Mr Gerald Giam Yean Song asked the Minister for National Development (a) how many HDB blocks are more than 40 years into their 99-year lease; (b) what will be the value of an HDB flat once it reaches the end of its 99-year lease; (c) what is the average number of flats undergoing redevelopment under the Selective En Bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS) each year for the past 10 years; and (d) whether the pace of SERS is fast enough to redevelop all HDB blocks before they reach the end of their lease.
Mr Khaw Boon Wan (The Minister for National Development): The Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS) is part of the Government’s estate renewal strategy for older estates. It allows intensification of land use and revitalises such estates through new developments. At the same time, it offers an opportunity for flat owners to buy a new replacement flat with a fresh 99 year lease.
In the last 10 years, SERS has benefitted the owners of about 18,000 flats. As the name suggests, the identification of suitable precincts for SERS is selective. The selection of sites and pace of SERS will depend on factors such as their redevelopment potential, and the availability of replacement sites for rehousing and other resources.
Currently, there are about 300 HDB blocks with 31,000 flats which are more than 40 years into their 99-year flat leases.
Like all leasehold properties, HDB flats will revert to HDB, the landowner, upon expiry of their leases. HDB will in turn surrender the land to the State.
There seems to be an air of confidence that the Government would not leave people in the lurch when lease runs out. There are people who think that the party will go on and the HDB will roll along when the time is appropriate to relocate you and redevelop old estates.
This phenomenon may be due to the fact that no 99-year lease residential property has yet to be claimed back by the authorities in our collective consciousness; as well as the fact that many HDB estates that are three to four decades old have come under the Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS).
We are reminding you again, that there is no guarantee of that.
And if you think you can game the system by buying freehold or private properties, well, we cannot guarantee you won’t lose these either.
Singapore is a land-scarce nation, even corpses have to be relocated when their lease is up.