99.co has recently found out from the HDB website that it has changed its Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) criteria for those who have bought a replacement unit through the Selective En Bloc Redevelopment Scheme (Sers).
Similar to those buying a typical HDB flat from the Housing Board and the resale market, the MOP is now five years.
MOP for Sers replacement flats was previously seven years from the flat selection date
Previously, owners who were affected by Sers and chose to buy a replacement unit at the designated site would be subjected to either of the following MOP:
- Sevenyears from the replacement flat selection date, or
- Five years from the key collection date,
whichever is earlier.
Earlier MOP allowed owners to sell flats in the open market earlier
This meant that the MOP would include the building construction period. Assuming it takes five years to complete the project, owners would only be required to live in the flat for two years to complete the MOP.
Afterwards, they could sell the flat in the open market when it is only two years old and has a remaining lease of 97 years.
This explains the resale flat transactions for Sers replacement sites occurring around two years after its TOP, instead of five years for the typical built-to-order (BTO) project.
One such Sers replacement project is City Vue @ Henderson, which has seen flats being resold since November last year, despite only hitting its TOP in 2018. More recently, it has made headlines for clocking the most expensive resale flat transaction at $1.4 million.
Therefore, the headstart in MOP and younger age of the flat would allow owners to sell their flats earlier, at a higher price.
MOP now starts from the key collection date, starting with the Ang Mo Kio Sers
However, HDB has since changed the MOP criteria for those buying a replacement flat through Sers to five years, starting from April 7, 2022 onwards. This is the same date that HDB announced the Ang Mo Kio SERS.
Owners who decide to buy a replacement flat at the designated site will now have their MOP start from the key collection date onwards, instead of the flat selection date like previous Sers.
This also means that should they decide to sell the flat in the open market in future, they can only sell it five years later, similar to a typical BTO flat.
Interestingly, there has been no official announcement on this change in the MOP for the Sers replacement sites. The last time HDB made an official announcement on the MOP was for the Prime Location Public Housing (PLH) model, setting out that the MOP for these flats would be ten years.
The Ang Mo Kio Sers had made headlines over the past week as some residents expressed their concerns on having to fork out money to get a similar-sized replacement flat. Many of the residents are seniors, who may not be able to get a housing loan given their age.
The estimated compensation for the Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3 flats are as follows:
- Three-room (68 sqm): $290,000 - $340,000
- Three-room (82 sqm): $340,000 - $390,000
- Four-room (92/93 sqm): $380,000 - $450,000
On top of that, HDB will give owners a S$10,000 removal allowance, and pay for the stamp and legal fees for purchasing the replacement flat.
However, the estimated selling prices of the replacement flats are relatively higher, given that these come with a 99-year lease:
- Two-room Flexi (36 sqm to 46 sqm): $169,000 - $247,000
- Three-room (65 sqm): $292,000 - $384,000
- Four-room (80 sqm): $396,000 - $487,000
- Four-room (90 sqm): $438,000 - $563,000
Owners may also be eligible for a Sers grant of up to $30,000 to buy the replacement flat.
HDB has since said that these are only estimates, with the actual figures to be told to owners after assessments by a professional valuer are done later this year.
They also added that they are looking at the owners' concerns and will continue to explore options, without revealing what these options are.