HDB flats to get 2 upgrades within the 99-year lease

Property maintenance is nothing to scoff at, often taking time and money many may not be prepared for.

Thus, most would welcome the government’s latest announcement for HDB flats to be upgraded not once but twice.

Flats built before 1997 will receive 2 HIPs

In his National Day Rally speech this year, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has said that more HDB flats will be included under the Home Improvement Programme (HIP) in order to ensure that they are kept in good shape.

He mentioned that the government is “determined not to let our public housing degenerate into ragged squalid slums, which has happened in many other cities”.

The HIP scheme was introduced in 2007 to help maintain and upgrade the facilities in older HDB flats.

With 320,000 flats already eligible for upgrades, 230,000 more units built between 1987 and 1997 will now also be included under the scheme. The scheme that preceded the HIP was the Main Upgrading Programme (MUP) under which 130,000 households have benefited.

Junction 9, Yishun. Picture: iProperty

With an expected spending of $4 billion, 320,000 HDB flats which fall under the 1986 age band will be upgraded. Flats in Pasir Ris, Yishun, Tampines, Jurong and several other estates will all receive their first round of upgrading soon.

Will HIP scheme help flats keep their value?

Thus under the second HIP exercises or HIP II, once HDB flats hit their 60th to 70th year, they will be eligible for their second upgrade. The first upgrading exercise or HIP I will be conducted when the flats are 30 years old.

Do the values of HDB flats which have undergone an upgrading exercise increase?

One of the most hotly-debated housing issues of late has been about the leases of HDB flats. Mr Lee is hoping that the second HIP exercises will help flats retain their value even as the 99-year lease diminishes.

Mr Lee also revealed the Voluntary Early Redevelopment Scheme (VERs) which will allow residents to vote for whether they should take up the Government’s offer to buy back their flats.

While there may still be kinks to iron out, the government’s suggestions seem to point in the right direction, towards affordable housing options.