MND prepared to review Lease Buyback Scheme

National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan said his Ministry is prepared to review the Lease Buyback Scheme to include four- and five-room flats.

This is to help lower-income senior citizens in their retirement years as downgrading may not be viable due to the high cash-over-valuation of three-room flats.

He was responding to a suggestion from MP Zaqy Mohammad in Parliament.

Mr Khaw explained that the Lease Buyback Scheme provided a useful option for elderly lessees of three-room or smaller HDB flats to unlock the value of their flats.

Lessees of four- or five-room flats have wider options as they can sublet their flats or spare rooms, or move to a smaller flat or Studio Apartment.

And those who choose to buy a smaller flat should be able to fully pay for the flat with net proceeds for their retirement needs.

Nevertheless, Mr Khaw said the Ministry will review the Lease Buyback Scheme and consider Mr Zaqy’s suggestion.

Separately in another parliamentary reply, Mr Khaw also advised Singaporeans to be prudent in their property purchases.

He said the current low interest rate will not stay low forever and any global economic recession may also affect their jobs.

There is a wide range of housing options and prospective buyers should think wisely and buy within their budget.

On the other hand, Mr Khaw also stressed that existing HDB owners should refrain from cashing out their flats without thinking through their subsequent housing plans.

Singapore’s unique public housing programme has delivered the world’s highest home-ownership record and with prudence and the right level of expectation, Mr Khaw is confident that almost all Singaporeans can afford their homes.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 22 Nov 2011

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