How many “billions” has HDB made from housing sales?

I refer to Liu Siok Ming’s letter “Review HDB resale levy policy” (Straits Times, Oct 1, 2015).

It states that “I was shocked to learn that the resale levy payable would amount to about $193,000, comprising $91,350 (22.5 per cent of the resale price of my first flat sale in December 1997) and accrued interest (5 per cent a year from December 1977 to March 2013).”

It is bad enough that our public housing is one of the most expensive in the world (ratio of price to income), due to policies like charging land at market rates – why do we still want to make more money from the resale levy – plus charging an exorbitant 5 per cent interest from the time of sale of the flat – which can be decades ago – when the bank savings rate is only about 0.1 per cent and the HDB loan rate is only 2.6 per cent (HDB bank loan rate less than 2 per cent)?

In this connection – according to the article “7,900 second-timer households paid resale levy over past 6 years: MND” (Channel NewsAsia, Jan 29, 2016) – “From 2010 to 2015, about 7,900 second-timer households had paid the required resale levy amount when buying another subsidised flat from the Housing and Development Board (HDB)

… in the same period, HDB had received about 3,500 requests to waive the entire resale levy, while about 4,100 requests were for the partial waiver.

According to the National Development Minister, HDB assesses the appeals based on the merits of each case and advises the buyers accordingly, taking into account their family situations and circumstances.

“HDB does not allow for full waiver of the levy”

“For those applying for partial waiver, HDB has acceded to about one-third of the appeals. These are usually second-timer households who sold their flats some time ago, and have accrued high interest amounts and face significant financial hardship.”

In some cases where buyers lack the cash to pay the resale levy, Mr Wong said HDB would help by incorporating the resale levy into the purchase price of the second subsidised flat the appellant is buying, so that the appellant can subsequently pay the levy by instalments.”

So, how much money have we made from the resale levy, in addiion to the billions from HDB flats?

Leong Sze Hian
A.S.S. Contributor

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