The Housing and Development Board (HDB) today said its ban on those who buy HDB flats in the resale market from owning private property during the new five-year minimum occupation (MOP) period is to ensure equitable treatment for all flat lessees during their MOP.
I say this doesn’t make sense.
Whether HDB likes it or not, by opening the HDB market to Singaporeans and permanent residents without income cap, it has already created two categories of HDB lessees:
On one side, those who bought from the Government at huge subsidies and those who bought from the resale market with substantial grants, also from the Government; on the other side are those who bought from the resale market without subsidy of any kind, whether big or small.
So, how can it be equitable to put a five-year private property ban on those who bought HDB resale without a sous from the Government, along with those who enjoyed subsidies that range from $30K to a couple of hundred thousand dollars?
By all means keep that no-private property ban on those who buy HDB direct from the Government or in the resale market but enjoy the various grants and subsidies offered, such as being near to parents etc.
But why should those who buy in the resale market using their own money be similarly restricted?
Indeed, I’ve always thought it strange for the Government to insist that those who buy from the resale market must “reside” in their HDB flat for a minimum period, one year, three years, five years, whatever.
Isn’t it enough to say, no letting or subletting during the MOP? And if you own a private property, no claim for concession owner-occupation property tax rate?
Why must I live in the HDB unit physically?
By buying from the resale market, at prices that are two or three times what the state priced to direct buyers, am I not contributing to raise the value of all HDB flats and thereby ensure the intrinsic nest egg encapsulated in the homes of the direct-from-Government purchasers?
Or at minimum, help enlarge the resale demand — which may collapse somewhat now, what with the Government ensuring a substantial pipeline of new hugely subsidised HDB flats coming on stream and knocking down the resale mainstay which assuredly must be the private property owner?
So, by pleasing those who missed getting onto the HDB boat for whatever reason, our Government may be making those already an HDB owner mighty unhappy by pricking their castles in the air!
It may also please the new permanent residents, some of whom may not be able to afford private. The latest move could give them a better chance at HDB, now that those Singaporeans with private property are effectively locked out.
Still, why am I bellyacheing about the latest moves to douse the burning HDB resale market?
At best, I’ve only an academic interest, toying occasionally with the idea of downsizing, provided I can find an HDB unit that suits my needs, and then letting out where I now call home to fund my living cost.
That option’s out now, for the time being at least.
Also, the restrictions effective today may not be such a blow for private property owners , after all. It will drive those with the money and already having private property having to choose more private property, if property investment is their preferred option. And to whom can these turn but to developers and those who have the spare property or two to sell?