Nov 14, 2010
Don't sell your HDB flat, says MM Lee
It's stupid to sell and then hope to get a rental flat; flats are assets that will be upgraded and rise in value
MM Lee with (from left) fellow Tanjong Pagar GRC MPs Sam Tan, Indranee Rajah, Koo Tsai Kee, Lui Tuck Yew and Baey Yam Keng at an event marking the completion of a covered linkway in Jalan Membina, and the annual Tree Planting Day in the GRC. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
HDB flat owners should not sell their flats, as they are assets that will appreciate in value year after year, said Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew last night.
Addressing some 500 residents at a constituency event in Tanjong Pagar GRC, he said: 'I urge you not to listen to the estate agents and sell it and go and rent a flat because that's a stupid thing to do.
'You sell it, you may not get a rental flat for a long time. And you cannot gain from a rental flat... Please remember that.'
Mr Lee's call comes shortly after the Government took steps to address the trend of homeowners who - propelled by record selling prices - are trying to sell their flats to make a quick profit.
To underline the need for financial prudence, the Housing Board on Nov 1 introduced a seven-day cooling-off period for people intending to sell their HDB flats.
Mr Lee was speaking at the annual Tree Planting Day in the group representation constituency. The event also saw a ceremony to mark the completion of a covered linkway in Jalan Membina in Tiong Bahru.
With the linkway up, residents from 1,306 households in eight blocks of flats - 25A to 27B - can walk from their precinct to nearby coffee shops, sheltered from the elements. It is part of a series of covered walkways that, by the end of this year, will allow them to walk directly to Tiong Bahru MRT station without an umbrella.
Half the households were also resettled from older flats in the Bukit Ho
Swee area as part of the Selective En Bloc Redevelopment Scheme.
In his off-the-cuff speech, Mr Lee assured the residents that the Government will keep on upgrading old flats and estates to make them better.
He took the opportunity to drive home the role that the Government's home-ownership policy has played in Singapore's continued stability.
'No other country in the world has every family own their own flat or their own place,' he said.
'If we had not done that from the earlier days, we would not have today's stable and peaceful Singapore.
'Everybody has a piece of property which has increased in value every year. The infrastructure grows, the economy grows, the value of your home can go up,' he added.
Mr Lee noted how flats 30 years ago cost $30,000 to $40,000, but the same flat today, after upgrading, can fetch $300,000 or more.
He told the residents: 'I congratulate all those who have kept your flats, and I urge those who have got old flats, keep them. Your upgrading programme will come, and you will have a much more valuable piece of property.'
And part of that value comes from beautifying the environment.
Asked by the media why he made it a point to attend tree-planting ceremonies every year for the past 39 years, Mr Lee said: 'We've got to keep on planting, otherwise it becomes a concrete jungle.'
'Because of tree planting, the bushes and shrubs, we have a green environment which makes for a refreshing city.'