Most flat sellers are able to secure buyers from eligible ethnic groups

We refer to the letters by Ms J. M. Daniel, Mr Raj K. M. and Mr William Gomez (Flexibility needed for minority-race flat owners, Sept 7; Medical bills loom, but unable to sell flat, Sept 12; and HDB needs to look at plight of minority-race flat owners, Sept 14; respectively).

The Ethnic Integration Policy (EIP) was introduced in 1989 to ensure a balanced mix of ethnic groups living in our HDB estates, promote racial harmony and strengthen social cohesion.

It applies to the sale and purchase of all new and resale HDB flats, and is implemented for all ethnic groups. Prospective flat buyers and sellers can check the ethnic proportions via the HDB InfoWEB.

Given the large volume of buyers on the market every year, most home owners are able to secure buyers from eligible ethnic groups.

The saleability of a flat in the open market is dependent on many factors, not just the EIP.

While home owners may have their own expectations of how much their flat could sell for, flat attributes such as location, storey height, the physical condition of the flat and market sentiments would also be considered by prospective home buyers.

Home owners looking to sell their flat would have to set realistic asking prices.

For those who are unable to sell their flats, HDB may grant them an extension of time.

Additionally, HDB has and will continue to exercise flexibility for households where there are exceptional circumstances.

Besides selling their flats, elderly home owners who wish to unlock the value of their existing flats can also consider taking up the Lease Buyback Scheme or renting out spare bedrooms.

However, we understand that each individual has different considerations and needs.

HDB branches offer one-on-one financial consultation services to help home owners better understand the various monetisation options so that they can make decisions that best meet their needs and preferences.

Lily Chan-Wong Jee Choo (Mrs)

Director (Policy & Property)

Housing & Development Board

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 20, 2018, with the headline 'Most flat sellers are able to secure buyers from eligible ethnic groups'. Print Edition | Subscribe