National Day Rally 2014: Lease Buyback Scheme extended to four-room flats

4-room flats in Sengkang up for sale in HDB's latest bimonthly sales exercise. The Lease Buyback Scheme is being extended to four-room Housing Board flats, allowing owners of such flats to sell part of their lease back to the Government to supplement
4-room flats in Sengkang up for sale in HDB's latest bimonthly sales exercise. The Lease Buyback Scheme is being extended to four-room Housing Board flats, allowing owners of such flats to sell part of their lease back to the Government to supplement their retirement income, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced on Sunday night. -- ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG 

SINGAPORE - The Lease Buyback Scheme is being extended to four-room Housing Board flats, allowing owners of such flats to sell part of their lease back to the Government to supplement their retirement income, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced on Sunday night.

The scheme, which was previously restricted to three-room and smaller flats, lets flat-owners sell part of their 99-year lease back to the Government, keeping only a 30-year lease.

They will use the proceeds to top up their Central Provident Fund Retirement Accounts, making for larger monthly payouts under the CPF Life scheme. The rest of the sales proceeds will go to the homeowners as a lump sum in cash.

For a couple with a four-room flat worth $450,000, who sell back 35 years of their lease, they could receive $27,500 in cash and an additional $900 a month, said Mr Lee.

The move comes after feedback from the ground, he added. In last year's Our Singapore Conversation exercise, many seniors living in larger flats wanted to be eligible for the Lease Buyback Scheme too. Other options such as selling their flat and moving into a studio apartment would require them to uproot and move elsewhere, but these older Singaporeans preferred to grow old in their own homes.

The HDB has studied this carefully and decided to extend the scheme to four-room flats, said Mr Lee. This will cover more than half of all flat owners in Singapore.