MP Lee Kuan Yew says it is ‘unwise’ to sell flats for profits

Property values of Housing Board (HDB) flats have gone up by up to 20 times and these increases will go on as housing developments take place.

Former Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew said that even though Singaporeans have been able to own a home through HDB, owners should think twice before selling their flats for a profit because prices will appreciate in value over years.

"Everybody owns their own homes and the value of their homes go up as development takes place,” he said in a Channel NewsAsia report. “Some are unwise enough to sell their homes, thinking they can buy another one, they then find they can't and have to rent a flat.

“But those who held on to their homes, I've seen their property values going up, five times, 10 times, 15 times, 20 times. This was the plan which we had from the very beginning, to give everybody a home at cost or below cost and as development takes place, everybody gets a lift, all boats rise as the tide rises.”

Lee, who is Member of Parliament (MP) for Tanjong Pagar constituency, was at a community event yesterday to mark the completion of seven new blocks of flats at Havelock View, near Bukit Ho Swee. The estate is bounded by Ganges Avenue, Havelock Road and Indus Road.

TODAY newspaper reported that the 1,218 new flats were built as replacement flats under the Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS) for those who used to live at Blocks 88 to 92 Zion Road.

The new blocks are between 25 and 40 storeys high, and some higher floor units offer views of Orchard Road and the Botanic Gardens.

Crowds gather despite the rain to welcome Members of Parliament for Tanjong Pagar GRC at the Tree Planting Day and welcome party for residents at Havelock View (Photo: Indranee Rajah Facebook page)

A total of 600 units were taken up by former Zion Road residents, while the rest were offered for sale under HDB's Sale of Balance Flat exercises.

Lee said public housing has to keep up with Singaporeans’ rising aspirations, and the facilities and design of older estates should also keep up with newer ones.

"We are investing to bring it up to date and you pay a token sum, the Government carries the rest and HDB has been doing a fine job to give you an environment that you have today," he said.

However, he added that it is important to keep up good relations with neighbours: "If neighbours don't cooperate to keep a bond of ownership of the place, it will not succeed."

Even though it was raining yesterday evening, Lee and other Members of Parliament of Tanjong Pagar, including Indranee Rajah, took part in the annual Tree Planting Day.

Channel NewsAsia reported that Lee recalled how he made special efforts to ensure greenery becomes a part of Singapore’s landscape, leading to the setting up of what is now the National Parks Board.

"I started this campaign 50 years ago in the 1960s. I saw Hong Kong – concrete and tarmac, no trees, no grass, nothing. I decided we will not be like that.”

He added: "The job is never ending. The difference between Singapore and other cities is obvious. When you drive through from the airport into town you have a canopy of rain trees spreading their branches across the road. The trees, shrubs and creeping ivy on the walls are also greened up to give that sense of freshness and refreshes the spirit."

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