Residential properties with 99-year or shorter leases are common in the housing market in Singapore, as well as in other jurisdictions like Hong Kong and Canberra (Still unclear if HDB buyers are owners or lessees, by Mr Andrew Seow Chwee Guan, July 20; and HDB was describing a lease ownership, by Mr Cheah Wenjie, July 21).
In land-scarce Singapore, the leasehold system allows the land to be recycled and redeveloped, to meet the needs of future generations of Singaporeans.
HDB flat buyers who purchase a typical new 99-year lease flat own the rights to their flats for 99 years.
During this period of ownership, they can decide to live in the flat, renovate it, rent it out or even sell it once they meet the eligibility conditions. They can decide on the selling price or rental rate of the flat, and they get to keep the proceeds from these transactions.
These are rights and benefits that only a flat owner can enjoy.
Likewise, buyers of a 99-year leasehold private property own the rights to their property for the duration of their lease, and would also regard themselves as home owners.
In comparison, while those who are renting an apartment can live in the flat, they have to pay rent, which may be periodically revised based on prevailing market conditions, throughout their stay. They are also unable to sell or benefit from the sale of the flat.
Lim Lea Lea (Ms)
Director (Branch Operations)
Housing & Development Board