After Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong confirmed that the HDB is a depreciating asset at his National Day Rally, Minister of National Development Lawrence Wong went into panic mode to reverse the damage, proclaiming that HDB housing is an appreciating asset instead.
Minister Lawrence Wong said that “if income rises”, property values will appreciate:
“A Housing Board flat sold on a 99-year lease is an asset that will appreciate as the country prospers – a fundamental tenet of Singapore’s home ownership policy. There is a high likelihood that over a period of time, if the economy does well, if incomes rise, then property values will appreciate together with the fundamentals of the economy and your stake in the nation – your home – can also appreciate in value.”
Addressing forum attendees’ HDB questions who became anxious after Lee Hsien Loong’s speech, Minister Lawrence Wong openly lied saying that a housing tenant is the homeowner. Giving a poor example of the 10-year car ownership certificate, the Minister insisted that lease is ownership:
“A 99-year lease is an ownership, not a tenancy. When you buy a car, how long can you use a car for? Is it a rental car, or your car? A 99-year lease is far longer than 10 years. It is yours. It is an asset. It is owned by the homeowner.”
Minister Lawrence Wong then continued defending against more questions about the HDB lease, and misled his audience into believing that Singaporeans can own more than one HDB unit:
“We are land-scarce in Singapore, we have constraints. If we give out and sell freehold land today, everyone who buys it will be very happy, and your children and whoever you pass your land to will be very happy, but eventually, there will be those without land. Hence, the limited leasehold terms allow Singapore to recycle land for the future. Although finite, it will cover the housing needs of at least two generations.”