Letter to the editor: Cash poor and living in a depreciating asset

Romesh NavaratnarajahOctober 14, 2015

HDB flats

Dear Editor,

I am a 64-year-old Singaporean. I own a former HUDC unit at Tampines Court, bought from the open market before privatisation. Unlike the current generation, I did not receive any grants or baby bonuses. The Housing Board considers that I have enjoyed two HDB privileges, the first of which was bought directly from the agency in the 1980s.

Now I’m about to retire without much money in my savings except for a few hundred dollars from my CPF payout. My recent request to HDB to allow my spouse and I to buy a unit directly from HDB was turned down, and I understand I have to give up my home at Tampines Court upon getting a HDB flat.

But the private property market is depressed and I will not receive much money from the sale of my private unit, therefore my desire to get a HDB unit. But I’ve been told I only qualify for a studio apartment which I have to share with four family members.

I write to highlight the plight of my generation who have spent their whole lives paying for housing and looking after their family, but have not enjoyed any subsidies. Now that we have entered our silver years, we do not have much money left for retirement and live in homes that cannot be used for reverse mortgage.

I hope the National Development Minister can look into the many cases of elderly Singaporeans who are in a similar predicament.

Mr Rami Karapan

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