In his National Day Rally speech on Sunday (19 August), Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong outlined the “fundamental reason” why HDB flats are sold on a 99-year leasehold basis: To be fair to future generations.
He explained: “This is the only way to recycle the land and ensure that all our descendants can buy new BTO (built-to-order) flats of their own.”
Without the 99-year leasehold mechanism, he added, society would become unequal and “split into property owners and those who cannot afford a property”.
Furthermore, buildings deteriorate over time, and thus it is “better to let the leases expire, take the blocks back, demolish them and rebuild afresh”.
However, detractors say this finite lifespan has financial implications for “owners” of older flats who find themselves unable to sell.
What do you think? Should HDB flats be freehold, or would this indeed be impractical? Have your say in our poll, and sound off in the comments below.