Making the most out of your HDB property

Since the introduction of the Silver Housing Bonus and Enhanced Lease Buyback Scheme on 1st February this year, elderly HDB homeowners have been given opportunities to make more out of their flats.

This is a good move to help senior citizens who may be unable to work due to medical conditions or because they are too frail to take up physically-demanding activities. With Singapore being a greying nation, it’s important to look at alternative sources of income other than traditional work, and these schemes are great ways to help them through their senior years.

The only problem with these schemes is that all the ‘mambo-jambo’ jargon used to describe these schemes is just too hard to grasp, and property and social welfare experts at the Our Singapore Conversation session last Wednesday rightfully pointed this out.

Just take a look at HDB’s website and you can understand why!

To make things easier for the man in the street, FSaaM presents three scenarios to describe the options that senior citizens can consider to get more out of their HDB property:

1)      Option 1: Silver Housing Bonus

Madam Lim, a 68-year-old retiree, decides to ‘right-size’ or ‘downgrade’ to a smaller HDB studio apartment after her daughter and son-in-law moved out recently. Madam Lim makes a neat sum of $100,000 from the sale (net amount after all deductions), and applies for the Silver Housing Bonus. She has to top up $60,000 into her CPF retirement account, and keeps $40,000 cash. She also receives a cash bonus of $20,000 from the government, making that a total of $60,000 cash in hand, and another $60,000 in her CPF Retirement Account.

With more than $120,000 in retirement funds, Madam Lim has over $800 per month to live on until the ripe old age of 80.

More information here.

2)      Option 2: Enhanced Lease Buyback Scheme

Mr Singh, a 70-year-old security officer who lives alone, decides to continue living in his 3-room flat after his wife passes away. As he is getting weaker by the day and wants to completely retire from his security job, he opts into the Enhanced Lease Buyback Scheme. He sells part of the flat lease back to HDB, retaining a 30-year lease, with the proceeds going straight into his CPF retirement account. He uses his CPF retirement account savings to buy a CPF LIFE plan that guarantees him $260 monthly income for life. For additional income, Mr Singh sublets a room to a foreign student who pays him $600 monthly.

With this arrangement, Mr Singh has $860 a month to live on without having to work.

More information here.

3)      Option 3: Subletting of Whole Flat

Madam Hafizah, a 72-year-old widow, does not want to live alone as she has low-blood pressure and is worried that she might collapse at home without her children being alerted. Her son and daughter-in-law agree for her to move into their EC apartment as she sublets her Redhill flat for $1,800 a month to provide her with a healthy monthly retirement income. Among the three options, this one gives Madam Hafizah the highest retirement income at $1,800 monthly but it requires her to relocate to her son’s home, which works out for her.

More information here.

It’s always an advantage to own the house you live in, and this is especially important when the time comes for you to make the most out of your senior years.

Whichever option you choose down the road, it’s actually not that hard to make some easy money without worrying about not being employed because of old age, or if you simply just want to retire and enjoy your golden years in peace!

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Samantha Wong

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