NDR 2018: planned to redevelop more old HDB flats before the lease expires

SINGAPORE: The government plans to introduce a new scheme allowing more HDB households to benefit from redevelopment before leases expire for 99 years on their flats, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced on Sunday (August 19).

Voluntary Early Redevelopment Scheme (VERS) is part of a "long-term plan" to allow the government to redevelop gradual neighborhoods, Lee said in his National Day Rally speech. It will take place when the flats are about 70 years old, he added.

Mr. Lee said that the government will compensate residents whose apartments are being taken back early, and will also help them to live in another flat, exactly as they would when their leases expired.

But the conditions will be less generous than those of the Selective En-Bloc Redevelopment (SERS), because there are "less financial benefits".

That's why he said that the scheme is voluntary and that residents have to vote for VERS, just like they do for the Home Improvement Program (HIP).

"If the residents vote yes, we will continue," he said. explained. "The government buys back the whole district, all flats and redevelops it, and residents can use their proceeds to pay for another flat."

"If the residents do not vote, then they can stay in their flat until their leases expire."

However, Lee said the government needs time to get the details of the plan, such as how to select the neighborhoods, accelerate the redevelopments and the specific conditions of the government's offer. He added that they also need to study how they can afford VERS for the long term.

That's why the scheme will start less than 20 years, although the planning for this will start now, he said.

<img data-src = "http://www.channelnewsasia.com/image/10631662/0x0/2000/2000/191bed73cc624904c4503396eeba184a/lf/vers-infographic.jpg" class = "picture__image lazyload" alt = "VERS infographic [19659014] NECESSITY TO RESTORE STARREN

In explaining the reasons for the new arrangement, Mr. Lee said that the government has good reasons to take back more flats and redevelop them as they grow older , before their 99-year lease contracts are on. "He added that when HDB cities get older and the lease contracts in the estates are almost expiring, it is also necessary to redevelop the cities.

The government, he said, wants to do this in an orderly manner.

He explained that the HDB often built a "huge rush" in the early years as a result of the shortage of housing, and several older HDB estates, such as Marine Parade, Ang Mo Kio and Bedok, were built in short periods.

"If we do not plan ahead, 99 years later, all leases in such cities will expire at the same time and all flats will be back in the state in a few years, "he said.

"We will have to find new homes for many people at the same time, and HDB will have to break down and rebuild all the old apartments in a hurry, just like when we first built Marine Parade, Ang Mo Kio and Bedok," he added. toe.

"I do not think this is a good idea," he said. "The cities will once again become construction sites, with cranes everywhere."

That's why Lee said that old cities should be progressively redeveloped, more than 20 to 30 years, instead of within 4-5 years. [19659002] "And that means you have to start when the oldest flats are about 70 years old," he said.

"So some flats, you redevelop when they turn 70, such as 75, so 80, and you stretch it over 20-30 years, and progressively, do things on a measured and well-considered way. "


In his speech Mr. Lee pointed out that SERS is a very good scheme for rejuvenating the estate. But he noted that it is a "very limited schedule", and HDB estimates that only about 5 percent of flats are suitable for SERS.

The issue of the expiration of the lease of older HDB flats was recently in the limelight, after a blog post last year by National Development Minister Lawrence Wong. He had said that SERS, as the name implies, happens on a selective basis, and said that homeowners should not automatically assume that all old HDB flats are eligible.

More recently, amid concerns about the impact of the expiry of the lease agreement on HDB resale prices, Mr Wong said in Parliament that there is still value in older HDB flats that can be unlocked for their pension.

Mr. Lee said there will be a few more SERS projects, but many projects with a high redevelopment potential have already been done

He explained that SERS is intended for selected HDB blocks or sites with a high development value that can be unlocked. Tanglin Halt, which is being redeveloped via SERS, is an example.

But it was not optimally built, and the neighborhoods, he said, were not always well-structured: there are low-rise apartments, large parking garages, lots of empty spaces and odd remaining areas.

He said that in cases such as Tanglin Halt it is economically justified that the government takes the flats back early and redevelops the site.

"Because much value has been unlocked, we share this value with residents through generous compensation," he said. "And with generous compensation we can make the acquisition mandatory."

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