The concept of having leasehold ownership is a well-practised one in many parts of the developed world (Outdated ideas on home ownership and land shortage are crippling us; Aug 14).
A 99-year lease allows the property to be used for more than one generation.
In many countries, leases can be shorter than 99 years.
Throughout the 99 years, the Housing Board would have done more than most countries in maintaining, upgrading and renewing the built environment and its amenities and facilities.
Older flats may not necessarily decrease in value and can be leveraged upon to create value for further property purchase and retirement.
An older four-room HDB flat of less than 60 years in its remaining lease can fetch an amount of about $350,000 to $650,000. A five-room HDB flat can go for up to $450,000 to $850,000.
Those who invested well would have generated good returns.
And the rental yields are comparatively better than even the rent gained from many private residential properties.
Obviously, the key here is to invest wisely.
Should owners decide to sell their HDB flats, especially after their children have moved out, they can downgrade to a smaller flat and live comfortably for their lifetime.
On the other hand, if they want to continue to stay in their HDB flats, they can capitalise on programmes such as the Lease Buyback Scheme, which allows owners to sell part of their remaining lease to HDB.
Few, if any, countries have achieved such a high level of home ownership as Singapore.
Our people can live in a relatively comfortable and beautiful environment and adopt different schemes to look after them in the later part of their lives.
Patrick Liew Siow Gian (Dr)