IT IS time to remove the anomaly of not allowing a private home owner to buy an HDB flat to retire in and keep the private property as an investment, yet allowing an HDB owner to buy private property and retain both (“Double whammy for private home owner” by Mr Colin Loh; Tuesday).

In the case of retirees who, when they were looking for their first homes, were not eligible for HDB flats because of the salary conditions, they had no choice but to buy private property.

For many, the choice then, when there were few condominiums, was either a single- or double-storey landed property.

If such a retiree needs to sell his private home today, he cannot sell it to a foreigner, who is likely to have greater buying power, as the house is less than seven storeys high – a restriction that does not apply to condominium units.

So he may sell it to a local buyer but at a lower valuation because the height restriction prohibits the new owner from building a taller property on the land.

The original reason for this situation was to give locals a better chance to own private property, but it no longer applies as today there are HDB flat owners buying private property while retaining their flats.

It is a pity the planning of the Pioneer Generation Package failed to take this issue into account.

Denis Distant

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