MORE than 85,000 Housing Board flats in eight neighbourhoods in central Singapore will be upgraded in a project that will cost $1 billion, said Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng yesterday at an event to mark HDB’s 50th anniversary this year.
The Government has already spent $3.4 billion in some form of upgrading for 150,000 public flats in these towns which include Ang Mo Kio, Bishan, Toa Payoh, Queenstown and Bukit Merah.
Mr Wong, who is also Home Affairs Minister, said: ‘I can assure you that as long as we have the financial resources, the Government will continue to extend upgrading to all other households eligible for upgrading.’
These eight towns in the Central Zone have a total of 250,000 flats or a quarter of all HDB units in the country.
Mr Wong also took the occasion to remind HDB flat owners to be careful when selling off their homes for a tidy profit and that they should sell only after they have found a new place to live in.
‘In today’s brisk market, some of us may be tempted to sell our flat for a profit,’ he told a a crowd of about 400 people in Bishan. ‘Your HDB flat is meant for you to keep for the long term. It is a key source of financial security upon your retirement.’
Without elaborating, he added that there are various ways for home owners to monetise the value of their HDB flats when they are ready to do so.
Mr Wong’s comments came weeks after a Bishan Street 24 penthouse maisonette became the most expensive HDB flat ever sold at a price of $900,000.
Property prices have been on a high in recent times, and even resale prices of public flats are fetching previously unseen prices.
Long-time Bishan resident, Ms Lee Ker Hwa, 49, who has lived in her five-room flat in Street 13 with her three sisters since 1987, is not planning to sell.
Ms Lee added that her flat, which she bought for about $99,000 back then, is now worth more than $500,000. ‘Location is very important to me so I still would not sell my flat. It’s near to town and amenities are all nearby.’
Mr Wong also said in his speech that HDB has gone beyond just providing mere physical buildings and structures to ensuring that policies and programmes in estates enhance family and social ties.
Source: Straits Times, 19 Apr 2010