Consider 'rent with option to buy' scheme for flats at Keppel site

Aerial view of Keppel Club which will accommodate about 9,000 apartments after the land lease expires.
Aerial view of Keppel Club which will accommodate about 9,000 apartments after the land lease expires.PHOTO: ST FILE

News reports on the prospect of public housing being built on the land where Keppel Club now sits have raised concerns about a "lottery effect".

Experts have raised the idea of a longer minimum occupation period (MOP) to mitigate that effect (Spotlight on "lottery effect" of flats slated for Keppel Club site, Aug 23).

However, lengthening the MOP period to 10 years will still potentially result in a lottery effect although the wait is longer, as new Housing Board flat launches tend to be priced lower compared with existing flats in the same vicinity.

Not every Singaporean is eligible to apply for flats when such plum launches take place.

It may be a case of wrong timing for many who miss the chance to own a flat for various reasons.

But these Singaporeans too aspire to be able to live and play near where they work, to be close to the city fringe, and to be able to buy such flats at subsidised rates.

To prevent a lottery effect, why not consider a "rent with an option to purchase" scheme?

An applicant could first rent from HDB under the current MOP and current housing subsidies, but with an option to subsequently purchase the flat at the prevailing market rate at the end of the MOP.

The rentals paid till that date could then be converted into loan repayments when taking up the option.

Tan Qing Hui

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 30, 2019, with the headline 'Consider 'rent with option to buy' scheme for flats at Keppel site'. Print Edition | Subscribe