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Relook resale levy for more equitable housing policy

Last Sunday's report (Standard but standout flats that sell for over $1m) highlights a disturbing practice that is inequitable and could worsen the existing social inequality.

The crux of the issue is that only a privileged group of citizens enjoy the benefit of getting these "standout" flats directly from the HDB when the projects are launched.

Taxpayers' money was used to subsidise these flats in the form of generous rebates and grants.

Public housing is also a social need, and for owner-occupation only.

Hence, it is imperative the Government considers implementing measures to ensure an equitable housing policy.

The resale levy would need to be reviewed, as it is currently applicable only when sellers of subsidised flats purchase another subsidised flat or executive condominium.

It should be extended to all sellers of subsidised flats.

Furthermore, for flats sold after March 2006, the resale levy is a fixed amount, regardless of the profit one reaps from the sale of the subsidised flat.

For those sold before March 2006, the levy is a percentage of the selling price or 90 per cent of its valuation price, whichever is higher.

This seems more equitable.

Perhaps the Government should consider using this latter system.

Additionally, the Government should impose some form of subsidy clawbacks if subsidised flats are approved for subletting.

Lee Yong Se

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 08, 2018, with the headline 'Relook resale levy for more equitable housing policy'. Print Edition | Subscribe