News

HDB makes exceptions

The Staggered Downpayment Scheme is aimed at homeowners who wish to move to a smaller flat and for young couples who might not have enough money for downpayment of their first flat.

But there are instances where HDB makes exceptions.

Mr Patrick Saverimuthu, 33, lives in a three-room flat with his mother, wife and newborn baby, and hopes to move into a bigger flat.

Mr Saverimuthu, who works in the insurance industry, applied for a five-room flat in Sembawang with his 67-year-old retired mother and was successful.

But he has a major cash-flow problem: He cannot afford the $35,000 downpayment for the flat which will be ready in 2018, unless he sells his current flat.

Mr Saverimuthu appealed to HDB and was offered the Staggered Downpayment Scheme. This means that he needs to fork out only $17,500 for the downpayment.

But he is anxious because he still can't pay although the downpayment, which is due in four months, has been reduced.

CONCERNS

His CPF does not have much funds because he has been paying the mortgage for his three-room flat and started working only five years ago.

When asked why he doesn't want to choose a smaller flat, Mr Saverimuthu said: "I want to move to a bigger flat because my family is expanding and my mother will be living with us.

"I can't pay now, but I will be able to pay once I sell my flat."

Nonetheless, experts think that the scheme is unlikely to be extended to all HDB upgraders who are facing cash-flow issues.

Executive director of research and consultancy at SLP International Property Consultants, Mr Nicholas Mak, thinks it will open the floodgates to people who might not need the money.

"They can defer the downpayment and choose to keep the money in the bank to collect interest. It will cost the Government and taxpayers, too, eventually," he explained.

Property consultant Jeffrey Hong agreed: "It should be extended only to those who really need help in the case of retrenchment or when the household income is affected. It should be based on necessity since it's a public good."