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HDB SERS (Selective En Bloc Redevelopment Scheme): What Is It and Does Your HDB Flat Stand A Chance? (2023)

PropertyGuru Editorial Team
HDB SERS (Selective En Bloc Redevelopment Scheme): What Is It and Does Your HDB Flat Stand A Chance? (2023)
Over 80% of the population live in HDB flats, and one of the main concerns of HDB flat owners is the decaying lease and value of their flats. If you happen to live in one of the older flats, then you’re probably sweating over its resale value.
Thankfully, if there’s one thing that Singaporeans like more than complaining (and eating), it’s spending time researching a property. If you’ve been reading up, you may have heard of HDB’s Selective En Bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS).

SERS

SERS is an urban redevelopment strategy, introduced by HDB in 1995 to renew older residential properties, and is basically HDB’s version of the en bloc process. If you are a resident staying in a block that’s lucky enough to be selected, you’ll be relocated to a new HDB flat with a new 99-year lease.
The main difference between a private en bloc sale and SERS is that property owners can make a choice in the former, but not in the latter.
In a private en bloc sale, as an owner, you can decide to stay or sell your unit. In the case of SERS, you don’t get a say in whether you can stay or sell – you have to give up your residential unit to the government and accept the compensation package. HDB does this by informing owners that they are about to procure their flat before the 99-year lease is up. In return, HDB will offer you some compensation and assistance for your relocation.
You will usually get relocated to a new home that is located near where your old flat used to be, and get a brand new 99-year lease.
Now, let’s dive into it!

How Likely Will Your HDB Flat Be Chosen for SERS?

1. Age of HDB Flat

Older flats tend to be the ones chosen for the programme. Many selected blocks are around 50 years old, if not older.

2. HDB Flat Location

Location is another big factor. This is because location determines whether the land the flat is sitting on has increased in value enough to make financial sense for HDB to acquire the land. An example of this would be the Bukit Merah, Tiong Bahru, and Queenstown neighbourhoods
Back in the 1960s, these areas were the first ‘heartland’ estates. Over time, these HDB towns evolved into sought-after city-fringe districts which frequently see million-dollar HDB resale flat transactions. Some of the first flats selected were in Bukit Merah, with about a third of all SERS flats chosen coming from these neighbourhoods.

3. HDB Flats That Don’t Maximise Land-use

Prior to the 1990s, HDB flats weren’t exactly land-efficient, since they didn’t adhere to the plot ratio system (gross floor area divided by land area) used today. Instead, they were planned using a standard density measure of 200 dwelling units per hectare. This resulted in bigger flats being closer together, while smaller flats were further apart.
Hence, it’s likely that such under-utilised land areas will be among the first to be redeveloped.

My HDB Flat Was Selected for SERS, What’s Next?

If your flat is chosen for the programme, it will take a few years before your new home is ready.
Here are the SERS milestones you’ll need to go through:
HDB SERS process What happens at this stage
AnnouncementYou will receive a notification that your HDB flat has been selected for SERS
Visit the exhibition HDB will set up a SERS exhibition near your home, during which you can learn about the process and clarify any doubts
Flat valuation An experienced valuer will then visit your flat and assess its value. Make sure your flat is clean, tidy, and clutter-free. Keeping your flat in good order is likely to increase its valuation
SERS Connect (collector’s inquiry)You will then have an appointment at HDB Hub with your HDB officer-in-charge to perform a Collector’s Inquiry where:
1) you will be validated as the owner of the flat,
2) you will receive help with the financial planning for your replacement flat, and
3) you will participate in a survey in order to help the government decide which replacement flat (with a new 99-year lease) is best suited for you
Precinct surveyA precinct survey will be conducted to help you decide what kind of facilities and amenities you would like to have in the new neighbourhood. You will also get the chance to name your new flat
Compensation noticeHDB will inform you of the amount of compensation you will receive
Rehousing choicesNext, choose between several available rehousing options. HDB’s officers will be on hand to offer their assistance. You can also choose to receive ex-gratia payment instead of SERS rehousing benefits
New flat registrationIf you decide to move to the designated replacement site, you can then register for a new flat by submitting the application. You may participate in the Joint Selection Scheme, where you and five other households can select flats on the same day in order to continue living close to each other.
Booking your new flatYou will need to attend an appointment at HDB Hub to book your new flat. During this time, you will be provided with a sales brochure, price lists, and balloted queue number before the selection begins.
Key collectionHead down to HDB Hub for your key collection appointment where you will also pay for the flat. You can use the money you received as compensation for the acquisition. If you used your CPF, or took out any loans to buy your original flat, you may need to use some of that money to pay off those loans or top up your CPF. You can also submit a request for up to $35,000 to help with renovating your new place.

How Much Will Compensation Be?

Your compensation will be based on the market valuation of your HDB flat. Here are some of the main factors that will influence the valuation of your home:
  • The floor your unit is situated on
  • Renovations and improvements to the home
  • Size and type of flat
  • Length of lease remaining
  • Transaction rates in your area
What’s more, other forms of allowance are also given under SERS. Additionally, you’ll also receive up to $30,000 in the form of grants to pay for your replacement flat.
  • Stamp duties and conveyancing fees that you have to pay when buying a new flat
  • A payment of $10,000 will also be given as a ‘removal allowance’. This allowance is mainly to cover moving costs and purchasing furniture that you could not move from your old home (such as built-in cabinets etc.).

What Are the Latest Flats Selected for SERS?

Before 2012, about three HDB flats were picked for the programme every year. However, since 2012, the selection has decreased to one HDB flat every two years. The frequency has since dropped further. Discounting the latest flats chosen to make way for the Woodlands Checkpoint expansion, the latest SERS flats are West Coast Road selected in 2016, and MacPherson Lane in 2018.
Here are the most recent sites in the past 10 years:
SERS HDB site Date of announcement
210 to 218 Marsiling Crescent and Marsiling Lane26 May 2022
562 to 565 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 37 April 2022
81 to 83 MacPherson Lane31 May 2018
513 to 520 West Coast Road3 Aug 2016
24 to 32, 33 to 38, 40 to 45, 55 to 58, 60, 62 and 66 Tanglin Halt Road / Commonwealth Drive27 June 2014
1 to 3, 5 to 22 Redhill Close3 December 2011
321 to 323 Clementi Avenue 513 February 2011
1A and 2A Woodlands Centre Road25 June 2012
167 to 172 Boon Lay Drive29 December 2011
1 to 3 East Coast Road9 November 2011

Why Do Some People Purposefully Seek Out SERS Flats?

The most obvious reason people seek out these flats is the rehousing benefits. When someone buys over your SERS home, you’ll no longer be eligible for the rehousing benefits. The new resident of the flat would obtain the compensation package.
Sometimes, people are interested in replacement flats because of their good location. The new site could be in a prime estate where transport hubs, schools, and malls are nearby. If they purchase a SERS flat, they are ensured a spot on the replacement site. If you don’t want to take up a new flat at the replacement site, you can apply for an HDB flat elsewhere under HDB’s sales exercises.
More recently, HDB has offered two additional rehousing benefits on 2 July 2022. Owners of the SERS flats in Ang Mo Kio will be the first to be offered 3-room or larger flats at the replacement sites on a 50-year lease if the new flat is able to last the owners until they are 95. The second rehousing option is that seniors at the SERS site will be offered the Lease Buyback Scheme, after which they can purchase a short-lease replacement HDB flat.
This move by HDB came after flat owners in Ang Mo Kio expressed concerns about needing to fork out cash for similar-sized replacement units.
Besides the SERS flats in Ang Mo Kio, the rehousing benefits will also be offered to the flat owners of blocks 212 to 218 Marsiling Crescent/Lane.
For more information on the available rehousing options, click here.

Is SERS a Good Thing?

To accommodate future traffic needs, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) announced plans to expand the Woodlands Checkpoint on 26 May 2022. Through this expansion, nine HDB blocks nearby will be acquired to make way for the massive redevelopment. On top of the compensation offered under the scheme, HDB will also cover the stamp and legal fees for the purchase of a similar replacement unit, as well as a $10,000 relocation payment for the residents affected.
Though there are some residents who are excited to be selected for SERS, there are those with differing views. Needless to say, there are pros and cons to the situation.

Pros of Being Selected for SERS

  • Rehousing benefits
  • A chance to meet your new neighbours and make friends
  • New environment

Cons of Being Selected for SERS

  • Forced to readapt your life
  • Change of environment might be stressful to elderlies
  • New HDB flat might be smaller

Is It a Good Idea to Buy Old HDB Resale Flats, Hoping It Gets Chosen for SERS?

When you buy an old HDB resale flat, there is no guarantee that the purchased flat will become a SERS flat. In fact, only 4% of HDB flats were selected since the scheme was launched in 1995.
You should also note that when you purchase an HDB resale flat with less than 60 years on its remaining lease, your age plus the remaining lease must be more than 80. Even if you satisfy these criteria, you will not be able to pay 100% of the valuation/purchase price (whichever is lower) with your CPF.
Furthermore, on 17 June 2022, HDB Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) guideline for SERS changed. Starting with the Ang Mo Kio SERS site, buyers would be able to sell their units just five years after receiving their keys. Before this, they could sell either seven years after the flat was chosen or five years after the flat was collected. SERS sites announced on or after 7 April 2022, will be subject to the amended guidelines.
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Disclaimer: The information is provided for general information only. PropertyGuru Pte Ltd makes no representations or warranties in relation to the information, including but not limited to any representation or warranty as to the fitness for any particular purpose of the information to the fullest extent permitted by law. While every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided in this article is accurate, reliable, and complete as of the time of writing, the information provided in this article should not be relied upon to make any financial, investment, real estate or legal decisions. Additionally, the information should not substitute advice from a trained professional who can take into account your personal facts and circumstances, and we accept no liability if you use the information to form decisions.

More FAQs About SERS in Singapore

En bloc refers to a collective property sale, whereby the government or a developer buys an entire development (like an HDB block or condo), including the land. 

In Singapore, there are private en bloc sales (when a developer buys a condo for redevelopment) and SERS, which is when the government buys back an HDB block. 

SERS is colloquially known as "HDB en bloc" because, well, it's the HDB equivalent of an en bloc sale.  

As mentioned, HDB en bloc is the same as SERS. Hence, the process is exactly as outlined above in this article. Residents of the selected SERS site will be notified accordingly, after which they will receive a compensation notice and be presented with rehousing options.