SINGAPORE — About 9,700 households have sold part of their flat’s remaining lease back to the Housing Board (HDB) as of December 2022, with seven in 10 receiving between S$100,000 and S$200,000.
The majority of those who took up the Lease Buyback Scheme live in 3-room or smaller flats, HDB said in an update on Sunday (Feb 12).ADVERTISEM
The scheme was first introduced in 2009 to help seniors monetise their flats for their retirement needs.
Under it, seniors living in all flat types can sell part of the flat’s lease back to HDB and choose to retain lease lengths from 15 to 35 years, based on their age and needs.
The proceeds will be used to top up their Central Provident Fund (CPF) retirement account and buy a CPF Life plan, which will provide them with a monthly income for life. Any balance proceeds after the top-up will be returned to them in cash.
Since 2020, the yearly take-up has remained steady at around 1,500 households, said HDB.
About 55 per cent of the 9,700 households who took up the scheme live in 3-room or smaller flats. Slightly more than 31 per cent live in 4-room flats while the remaining 13 per cent live in 5-room and bigger flats.
About 65 per cent of the households chose to retain lease lengths of 35 years and 30 years. Another 29 per cent opted for 25 years and 20 years. The remaining households households retained a 15-year lease.
Almost 70 per cent received between S$100,000 and S$200,000 through the scheme.
Seniors who top up their CPF Retirement Account with the proceeds can also receive a bonus — ranging from S$7,500 to S$30,000, depending on their flat type and how much they top up.
Those who top up S$60,000 or more from their net proceeds will receive the full bonus. As of Dec 31, 2022, 91 per cent (8,851 households) received the full bonus.
During the Parliament sitting on Feb 7, public housing policies came under the spotlight with Members of Parliament debating issues such as the affordability of flats and retirement adequacy.
2-ROOM FLEXI SCHEME
HDB also provided an update on its 2-room Flexi Scheme, which gives seniors the option of monetising their existing property and “right-sizing” to a 2-room Flexi flat.
Since its introduction in November 2015, HDB has offered about 46,500 2-room Flexi flats.
The booking exercises for nearly 33,200 units (or about 71 per cent) have been completed, while the selection exercises for the remaining units are ongoing.
Of the 2-room Flexi flats booked as of December 2022, 58 per cent were booked by seniors aged 55 and above. The rest were booked by non-elderly singles (35 per cent) and families (7 per cent).
Among the seniors, nine in 10 opted for short-lease 2-room Flexi flats, while the remaining opted for 99-year lease flats.
About 44 per cent of them opted for 45-year and 40-year leases, while another 44 per cent opted for 35-year and 30-year leases.
The remaining elderly flat buyers opted for shorter leases of 15 to 25 years, with just over 1 per cent opting for the shortest lease of 15 years.
“As the prices of 2-room Flexi flats take into account the lease length, flat buyers will pay less for a shorter lease flat than one with a longer lease,” said HDB.
“In 2021 and 2022, about 82 per cent of the 6,728 units of 2-room Flexi short-lease flats offered in non-mature estates were priced below S$100,000 for a lease length of 45 years.
“HDB will continue to launch Build-to-Order projects with 2-room Flexi flats islandwide to provide seniors with more housing choices.”
As of the end of last year, more than 1,500 households have also benefited from the Silver Housing Bonus, said HDB.
Introduced 10 years ago, it aims to help seniors supplement their retirement income when they “right-size” to a 3-room or smaller flat.
In 2020, it was enhanced and simplified, such that seniors will enjoy the maximum bonus of S$30,000 (up from S$20,000 previously) as long as they “right-size” to a 3-room or smaller flat, top up S$60,000 of their proceeds (without the need for a further top-up) into their CPF retirement account and join CPF Life. CNA