Distribute wealth when HDB owners reap a windfall

Ultimately, HDB flats are heavily subsidised and meant for owner-occupation, and not to benefit a limited segment by giving them the windfall of a lifetime.
Ultimately, HDB flats are heavily subsidised and meant for owner-occupation, and not to benefit a limited segment by giving them the windfall of a lifetime.PHOTO: ST FILE

The Government should make sure that housing policies do not exacerbate the social divide through the lottery effect (Million-dollar HDB flats: Location, type and size count; Feb 4).

In recent years, the focus has been to ensure upward mobility for all Singaporeans, as there is a bigger divide across socio-economic status which threatens our social fabric. However, housing policies exacerbate this divide as only a lucky few benefit from them by successfully balloting for a Build-To-Order Housing Board flat in a coveted location.

While these few stand to make a handsome profit from either selling or renting their flat after the minimum occupation period, those profits are ultimately being subsidised by taxpayers.

In such situations, I hope the Government will take measures to ensure better distribution of wealth, such as imposing a capital gains tax on the sale of subsidised flats with the tax decreasing incrementally with the owner-occupation period.

The funds collected could be channelled into helping the less fortunate.

Ultimately, HDB flats are heavily subsidised and meant for owner-occupation, and not to benefit a limited segment by giving them the windfall of a lifetime.

Lee Yong Se

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 08, 2019, with the headline 'Distribute wealth when HDB owners reap a windfall'. Print Edition | Subscribe