Flexibility needed for minority-race flat owners

The Housing Board's Ethnic Integration Policy has been a good way to ensure diversity in heartland estates and prevent the formation of ethnic enclaves.

However, as HDB estates mature, minority-race flat owners, such as Indians and Malays, will find it difficult to find another Indian or Malay buyer.

The critical mass of this small group of potential buyers is just not there.

In Bishan, for example, some HDB flats are already 30 years old and minority-race owners are finding it difficult to find eligible buyers unless the property goes for a song.

I know of a minority-race owner of a flat in Bishan who has tried to sell the property for a very long time without success. The bank finally took over the flat and put it up for auction recently. There was no bidder. Now it is back in the market again with an agent to find a minority-race buyer.

If the apartment is not sold, the owner could become bankrupt if he is unable to meet his financial needs or downgrade.

I have also heard of a couple in their 70s who have been unable to sell their flat for money they need to pay their medical bills and other expenses.

HDB needs to look into this matter, especially if the flats are more than 20 years old.

More flexibility should be allowed so that people from minority races who own HDB flats older than 25 years can sell themto buyers of any race.

Or they should be allowed to sell their flat to HDB after an independent market valuation. HDB can then sell the flat to another minority-race buyer.

J. M. Daniel (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 07, 2018, with the headline 'Flexibility needed for minority-race flat owners'. Print Edition | Subscribe