HDB’s Lease Buyback scheme (LBS) should be extended to Singaporean singles to give them more housing options in the future, wrote Sing Tien Fo0,the Dean’s Chair Associate Professor and Director of Institute of Real Estate and Urban Studies (IRES) at National University of Singapore in a commentary published today on Channel News Asia.
Currently, the LBS is only available to Singaporean citizens aged 65 and above. However, as the population ages with more singles living in HDB flats, the scheme will enable to monetize their flats when they retire, argues Mr Sing.
File pic: HDB flats in Toa Payoh
1 in 6 Singapore residents is 65 or older today. The figure will increase to 1 in 4 residents by 2030 which will see more Singaporeans signing up for the LBS as they encounter difficulties finding buyers for their aging flats.
LBS will give Singaporeans the options to age-in-place by continuing to stay in their flats for a period varying from 15 to 35 years – while receiving HDB bonuses, cash and top-ups to their CPF Retirement Account in exchange for the tail-end of their leases.
Another option is to make LBS flats available for rent to singles, which can significantly cut down their waiting time as they wait for their new 2-room flexi flats to be built.
“The success of Singapore’s homeownership policy has a flip side. Singaporeans typically spend a large portion of savings during their working life to pay off mortgages. Over the course of one life cycle, many households find themselves becoming “asset-rich, yet cash-poor” during their golden years,” Mr Sing added.