While Singapore enjoys a significant number of residential units, there are still plenty of flats that are rather old at the moment. Some say that lease extensions available automatically would be the best choice for this particular flats, while others believe that such a decision will bring along a set of consequences that need to be discussed and thoroughly analyzed. So, these days, Lawrence Wong, who is the National Development Minister, made some public statements that also included cautions concerning this matter.
He said that from his position, it is rather easy to make a few neutral statements and postpone more serious discussions about this subject, but because this is something that will trigger the appearance of a variety of ramifications, which cannot be ignored, a detailed assessment is more appropriate. The first aspect he mentioned is the fact that a lease extension is not something wished by everyone. Secondly, old HDB flats require a significant amount of maintenance as well, which means increased costs for their owners. Finally, Singapore still has serious space issues, in spite of the careful planning and strict regulations concerning the development of new structures.
Thus, having this in mind, Mr. Wong said that if the land made available by recycling old properties disappears, then it will be rather difficult, if not even impossible, for future generations to access subsidized residences. Singapore is developing, but all of it will come to an end at one point, as land is limited on the island. Thus, recycling old residential units will become the only solution to offer new flats for our children and grandchildren. Besides this, the oldest flat on the House Board’s list is just 50 years old, so the majority of these flats still have 60 to more years on their leases. So, this is not an urgent matter, as there is plenty of time to discuss the situation of these flats until their leases will expire.
How come this matter came to the attention so much? Apparently, the entire fuss about older flats started last year, when Mr. Wong that not all of the existent older flats will be selected for the Selective En-bloc Redevelopment Scheme. Those that won’t enter the scheme will be repossessed by the state once their leases expire. Still, when he made his last statement, a few days ago, Mr. Wong said that these flats will keep a good part of their value, as a form of reassurance for all those people that currently own such an apartment. When it comes to purchasing or selling a property, he gave homebuyers a few pieces of advice. He strongly recommends that in both bases for people to do proper research and not to sell or buy a property based on speculations. Besides this, he reinforced the fact that Singaporean authorities will continue offering accessible and affordable residences to all of Singapore’s inhabitants, not just now but also in the coming future.
While 99 year leasehold development usually gives a better rental yield, a freehold condo gives its investor or homebuyer a better assurance especially when the development is getting older. Below are some freehold developments in the market