552 applications so far for Lease Buyback Scheme

The Housing and Development Board (HDB) has received 552 applications so far for its Lease Buyback Scheme.

The scheme was launched in March 2009 to help the elderly in three-room or smaller flats unlock their housing equity to meet their retirement needs by selling their HDB flats to the government for cash.

Parliamentary Secretary for National Development Mohamad Maliki Osman told Parliament on Wednesday that of these 552, more than 40 per cent or 229 cases have been approved.

Another 30 per cent of applications are being processed.

The remaining 157 cases did not qualify or were not proceeded with.

With the low take-up rate, MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC Baey Yam Keng wanted to know the common reasons cited by those who turned down the offer.

MP for Tampines GRC Irene Ng asked if there has been feedback on whether the payout from the scheme is enough for the elderly to monetise their flats.

Dr Maliki replied: “When you go into the scheme, the potential of not leaving behind the asset or the property to their children is very high and a lot of elderly people do see it as an important aspect of their legacy.”

The other reason is the issue of whether the payout is worthwhile for them.

“We have emphasised to them it is not a main source of income for them. It’s a supplemental source of income along with other sources of income that they could possibly have,” Dr Maliki said.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 19 May 2010

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