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The government has pursued home ownership as a key national policy as it gives Singaporeans a stake in the country, explained Prime Minister Lee Hsien Long.
Speaking at a book launch held at the National University of Singapore, PM Lee noted that home ownership allows Singaporeans be a part of the economic growth of the country, because as the economy expands, so will their home’s value, reported The Straits Times.
He added that the government could have very well left the housing market in private hands, such as seen in Hong Kong; or decided to have controlled rents, much like in San Francisco.
“As a result, we have improved lives significantly for all. We have avoided the extremes of privation and poverty often seen even in other affluent societies,” he said.
However, he believes that none of those alternatives could achieve the same social and economic results as home ownership.
More: Can you afford an HDB flat? Check your affordability now.
PM Lee also rebutted the argument by some commentators that the 99-year lease of Housing Board flats is merely an extended rental.
He described the argument as “frankly, amazing”, given that many private properties are also on 99-year leases, yet no one argues that they are merely being rented.
“HDB lessees have all the rights over their flats that owners of such leasehold private properties have.”
HDB owners even enjoy extra privileges as their flats could get upgrades with generous government funding.
HDB flats’ 99-year lease had been one of the issues addressed by PM Lee at the National Day Rally held on 19 August.