HDB rules unfair to private home owners

I agree with Mr Liew Eng Leng (“HDB flat owners can’t have cake and eat it”; June 14) that an HDB flat should not be used as an investment vehicle and private property owners who wish to live in their private homes should not hold on to their HDB homes.

But I disagree with his argument that the rules do not penalise first-time home owners who buy private homes and that such people have a choice of not owning private property.

As a first-time home owner, I had to buy a private apartment as the waiting period for a new flat was very long. Subsequently, I sold the apartment and bought a resale HDB flat as I was barred for 30 months from applying for a new flat and it did not make sense to rent one. I later sold it and bought a private apartment.

Now that I am near retirement age, I wish to unlock my funds tied up in the private home. Ideally, I should be able to:

Sell the private home and buy a new HDB flat. Buying a resale flat means that I will have to pay a premium and thus have less funds for my retirement; or Rent out my private home and buy a new/resale HDB flat. I can then live in the HDB flat and use the rental proceeds to build up my retirement fund.

Sadly, both options are not open to me. It is a double whammy: I cannot apply for a new HDB flat (the rent for a three-room HDB flat to live in during the debarment period, plus the waiting time, is much more than the price difference between a new HDB flat and a resale one) and cannot buy a resale flat and keep my private apartment for investment.

To help Singaporeans retire worry-free, the debarment period should be reviewed. Perhaps it should be waived for those aged 55 and above to allow them to unlock funds for their retirement.

Also, address the anomaly of not allowing a private home owner to buy a resale flat and keep the private home to generate funds, while allowing an HDB flat owner to buy private property for investment.

Colin Loh

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