Extend lease buyback scheme to five-room flats

I URGE the Housing Board to consider including five-room flat owners under the lease buyback scheme ("More home owners opt for HDB lease buyback"; June 13).

Five-room flats should no longer be regarded as premium housing, as their selling price on the resale market is almost similar to that of four-room flats in many instances.

Many older folk had, in the early years, opted for five-room flats out of necessity, to accommodate their bigger family size. Their children have now grown up and moved to their own homes.

However, these older residents may be reluctant to downsize from their five-room flats for the following reasons:

They may need the bigger flat for regular family gatherings, as there will be more space for the grandchildren to run about.

Some may have a strong emotional attachment to the five-room flat that they have owned for a long time.

The hassle of downgrading is a deterrent, especially for those no longer eligible for subsidised housing.

Some may encounter difficulties in securing funds to finance the purchase of smaller units.

Thus, extending the lease buyback scheme to five-room flats will provide seniors with retirement income, without their having to give up space, comfort and familiarity.

Leong Siew Hon

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 27, 2015, with the headline 'Extend lease buyback scheme to five-room flats'. Print Edition | Subscribe