Friday, July 9, 2010

Lease Buyback Scheme

I am not yet over 30 but I guess it will be interesting to explore certain options that are available to me when I pass the age of 62.

The Lease Buyback Scheme or LBS is a new monetisation option to help lower-income elderly flat owners unlock the value of their homes to meet their retirement needs. As it has always been reported in the news, most Singaporeans are asset rich but cash poor. After pouring in alot of their money into buying a house, they are often left with insufficient money for their retirement needs. This scheme will help them to stay on in their own flat.

Under the LBS, HDB will buy back the tail end of the flat lease from the elderly household. On top of the housing value that is unlocked, HDB will provide an additional $10,000 subsidy. Out of the total amount, $5000 will be given to the household as upfront cash. The rest of the money will be used to buy a CPF LIFE Plan to provide a monthly stream of income for life. The household will continue to stay in their flat which will be left with a 30-year lease.

Eligibility

LBS is eligible for Singapore Citizens households who:

  • are living in a 3-room or smaller flat
  • are at CPF draw down age (currently 62 years) or older
  • have not enjoyed more than one housing subsidy in the past
  • have not previously owned a 4 room or bigger flat, or private residential property
  • have lived in the flat for at least 5 years
  • have a monthly household income of $3000 or less
  • Do not have any outstanding loan of more than $5000

So am I eligible for it when I turn 62?

Firstly, I do not live in a 3-room or smaller flat so I will obviously not be eligible for it. It seems that this scheme is targeted at the elderly now and from statistics, only 25,000 households are eligible for LBS. This households will be those that fulfill the eligibility conditions stated above.

The amount that a household gets from the LBS depends on the valuation of their homes as well as the remaining lease.

LBS is not the only option for households who meet this criteria. Other monetisation options are also available for those with HDB flats. This might include renting out the HDB flat/room, moving to a HDB Studio Apartment or moving to a smaller, cheaper HDB flat.

For many Singaporeans, a HDB flat is their main asset and it will be useful to know that there are various options to generate income from their flats to meet their retirement needs.

In summary, elderly Singaporeans basically can explore 4 different options to generate income from their flat for their retirement needs. They are:

1. Rent Out Flat/Room
2. Move to a HDB Studio Apartment
3. Move to Smaller, Cheaper HDB Flat
4. Lease Buyback Scheme



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