Tuesday, May 24, 2011

454. HDB changes the rules of the games frequently

Singapore Watch to me
show details 8:38 AM (23 hours ago)

There is a new comment on the post "How to make HDB housing affordable (Part 2)".

Author: Justina
Hi David, thanks for your feedback!

1. I totally agree with you that some families need to rent out a room should their breadwinner lose their job or should they need to supplement their income. Just to clarify, I'm only suggesting a ban on the subletting of whole unit for type B flat, and not individual rooms. That would distinguish them from current flats, where after the 5 year MOP, they can apply to sublet the entire apartment out.

2. Unless my understanding of HDB grants have changed, the $30k ($40k if near parents) grant is ONLY ELIGIBLE for RESALE flats and not new flats. This is because new flats are already subsidised from current market prices. Additional Housing Grants still exist for low income earners though.

3. As for cooling measures, I don't think the Government can undo the sudden rise in flat prices in the last couple of years ago. Even if flat prices stay at current prices and do not go up anymore, it is still quite pricey, for public housing.

(In comparison, a 2 bedroom 2 bath apartment in some parts of the US costs only about $75k. And these are not public housing, but fully private, with facilities).

Good luck with your test!

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You are correct in saying that the CPF Housing Grants of $30,000 and $40,000 are for new HDB flats as at May 25, 2011. HDB keeps changing the rules of the game and so we can't presume that new HDB flat design such as the one you propose will not be eligible for CPF Housing Grants (with the new Minister now having a fresh outlook) when new. Or even when sold as resale some 5 years later based on minimum occupation of 5 years as mandated as at present.

My point is that your title is "affordable HDB housing" or am I mistaken? You don't mean just affordable HDB housing when purchasing new HDB flats?

As for your prohibition of rental of the whole HDB flat after the minimum occupation period (which may be 10 years if the new Minister deems fit), why be-grudge a decent average Singaporean family of earning some honest income to cope with the high cost of living in the next 10 years?

HDB flat owners had so many restrictions some 10-20 years ago. They could not use the fully paid up HDB flat as security for overdraft or bank loan to finance their children's education overseas and so are already disadvantaged compared to non HDB-owners in the 1980s.

As HDB houses around 80-90% of the Singaporean population, your prohibition has a strong impact on the average person who just wants to ensure that his family has sufficient income for education of the children and one of the means is to monetise the HDB flat (by subletting the whole flat).

In my opinion, the heavily subsidised new HDB flat can still be more subsidised if the politicians want to make it affordable rather than making more rules to make it so much difficult for the average man to monetise his HDB flat. This is D-day today for me and thanks for pointing out my error, just in time, for Paper 1 of the CEA REA today.

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