Following Lee Hsien Loong’s confirmation that HDB housing will be worthless by the end of lease, the resale transactions of HDB resale flats responded with a reduction of 18.6% in the month of August. Only 2,076 units were sold in August, as compared to 2,550 units in July. According to some real estate agents, many potential HDB resale flat buyers pulled out from purchase on the last week of August following Lee Hsien Loong’s speech on Aug 21. The effect is expected to worsen in September as the first week saw similar disastrous sales reports.
The end of lease issue has hit many elderly Singaporeans hard, as many are relying on the sale of their decades-old home for retirement. Due to insufficiency of CPF payouts – that reach as low as S$100 a month for housewives and those who barely contributed to CPF, Singaporean retirees are heavily reliant on their sole asset for living maintenance. Elderly Singaporeans can be frequently seen working in low income manual labour jobs or half-begging selling tissue paper on the streets for a meal.
According to propaganda state media Straits Times, the ruling party will meet today (Sep 10) to discuss the depreciating value of HDB and the expected return of VERS (a watered-down version of en bloc sale SERS). PAP MPs in recent weeks have been heavily criticised by their own party supporters and grassroots leaders, with many demanding for the government to reverse its stance on HDB housing’s depreciation. Most Singaporeans are deeply aggrieved by the loss of inheritance wealth, and are now more vocal hitting out at the ruling party for stealing inter-generational wealth.
Desperately needing more CPF funds to fill GIC’s overseas investment losses, dictator Prime Minister Lee warned Singaporeans that they have been told at the time of purchase that they own only the lease of a HDB unit and that even with VERS, they will not be compensated market value. Lee Hsien Loong openly admitted that he needed more land to build new HDB flats for younger generations to buy in a 30-year mortgage.
The HDB lease issue has been damaging to the ruling party, and it is a fresh new wound after the 28% increase in GST and 30% in water price. Singaporeans saw their cost of living increasing by some 10% in the past year, following double digits increase in utility tariffs, carpark charges, public transport fares, airport taxes, mandatory CPF insurance premiums and a new mandatory CPF insurance called CareShield Life.
Despite the Prime Minister’s promising that the slew of tax increases would help the poor more, the reality is a reverse. According to official statistics, the number of poor on public assistance jumped 28% over the past 4 years, with elderly retirees being the most affected.