Older buyers opt for shorter HDB flat leases

The majority of older buyers who booked flats under the two-room Flexi Scheme opted for shorter leases, the Housing Board said on Sunday.

Around 2,100 - or 85 per cent - of those aged 55 and above chose leases shorter than the usual 99 years. The most popular option was the 40-year lease, with 697 bookings. This was followed by 35- and 30-year leases, with 559 and 344 bookings respectively, according to the HDB.

Under the scheme, the flats are offered under 99-year leases to families, singles and older applicants. But applicants who are 55 years and above can opt for leases between 15 and 45 years. The shortest lease attracted just 32 elderly buyers, with the oldest buyer being 95 years old.

The Ministry of National Development and HDB introduced the two-room Flexi Scheme in August 2015, allowing older buyers the flexibility to choose from leases of between 15 and 45 years in five-year increments. Since its introduction in the November 2015 sales exercise, HDB has offered about 10,000 two-room flexi flats.

These flats have been "well-received" by buyers, said the HDB, with application rates ranging from 1.2 to 6.1. This means that up to 6.1 people applied for one unit. In the four Build-To-Order (BTO) and Sale of Balance Flats exercises completed as of end-January, 87 per cent of the 6,070 units of two-room flexi flats offered were booked.

Of the 5,289 flats booked, 2,467 or 47 per cent were by buyers aged 55 and above.

In this year's first sales exercise held last month, the application rate was 4.1, with 2,894 applications for 713 two-room flexi flats in Punggol.

The HDB said it is committed to launching more BTO projects islandwide with two-room flexi flats.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 07, 2017, with the headline 'Older buyers opt for shorter HDB flat leases'. Print Edition | Subscribe