Property

SERS & VERS – Complete Guide to “HDB En Bloc Sale” Schemes 2018

sers vers hdb flat rochor road

Joanne Poh

0 Comments

0
Shares

There’s been a lot of talk lately about whether Housing Development Board (HDB) flat owners really own their flats, or whether they’re just tenants on a 99-year lease.

We can argue about this until the cows come home, but deep down, what Singaporeans really care about is whether there is money to be made out of that HDB flat.

For older flats, (right now, that generally means those with 50 years or less left), be prepared to see a huge drop in value once they start creeping towards the tail end of their leases. For instance, there will be no point to get a resale HDB flat if there are only 35 years left on the lease.

Once the resale value of a flat begins to fall, it’s time to start praying that it will be selected for the SERS, or that you and your neighbours can band together to get it redeveloped under the newly-announced VERS.

Contents

  1. What is SERS HDB scheme?
  2. What about VERS? How is VERS different from SERS?
  3. What’s the difference between SERS, VERS and regular HDB resale?
  4. How can you tell if your HDB has SERS potential?
  5. What happens during the SERS process?
  6. List of SERS HDB estates and blocks so far

 

What is SERS HDB scheme?

You’ve probably heard people talking about Singapore’s en bloc sales in the same reverent tones they talk about Toto or 4D prizes. And we all have that uncle who became an overnight millionaire when his place was sold in an en bloc sale.

SERS (Selective En Bloc Redevelopment Scheme) is similar to a “HDB en bloc sale,” although there are some important differences between the two.

Basically, when SERS takes place, the government notifies the homeowners that they’re going to acquire their flats.

The owners will be offered a compensation package that is usually quite generous. They will also be assisted in purchasing a flat with a fresh 99-year lease at subsidised rates. These new flats are usually located near their original homes.

In a nutshell: The government takes your flat, gives you money for it, and then gives you the option of moving to a new flat with a fresh 99 year lease.

This was what happened to the ex-owners of the iconic colourful Rochor Road HDB flats pictured above, which are currently undergoing demolition.

So, how does SERS differ from a private en bloc sale?

SERS aka “HDB en bloc sale” Private en bloc sale
Participation is compulsory once you receive notice from the government Residents get to vote for or against the collective sale by a private developer
Compensation is generous, but usually at market value Owners tend to get prices way above market value
HDB will help SERS participants find a new home. Private en bloc owners must source for their own accommodation
Replacement HDB flats are usually nearby and everyone will move in together The neighbourhood community will split up as everyone will move to a different location
Process can take up to 4 years from receiving notice to finally moving out Usually owners have to move out in less than a year

Back to top

 

What about VERS? How is VERS different from SERS?

As the name suggests, Voluntary Early Redevelopment Scheme (VERS) will be a voluntary scheme that allows homeowners to decide to give up their flats for redevelopment. They will need to take a vote to decide whether or not to sell their flats to the government as the lease starts to run out.

At the same time, the VERS scheme will help the government redevelop estates gradually over 20 to 30 years, instead of taking all the flats back at the same time and trying to redevelop all that land within a much shorter timeframe.

The details of VERS haven’t been fleshed out yet, since it will not be needed for another 20 years, when the oldest HDB flats hit 70 years of age.

As SERS is not a given, whether your flat is selected for SERS depends on the luck of the draw. Currently, there are no HDB flats that are old enough to test if the government will heartlessly take flats back without compensating owners when their leases expire.

VERS is another HDB scheme to alleviate the problem of people becoming homeless in 50 years’ time.

Here are some of the details we know:

  • Flats with better redevelopment potential have a higher chance of being earmarked for VERS. This could mean flats in central locations or near MRT stations.
  • Only after a precinct is selected, will owners living there get to vote.
  • VERS will allow HDB flat owners to vote on whether they want to sell their flats back to the government when they are at least 70 years into their 99-year lease.
  • The compensation flat owners will enjoy through VERS will be less attractive than what SERS offers. Which means that there is no guarantee that proceeds will be sufficient to purchase an entire new flat. Homeowners should also not expect the scheme to make them rich overnight.
  • The government has not ruled out the possibility of giving private developers a role in VERS, but they have also mentioned that even if private developers do get involved, they will be tasked to develop public housing estates. This is bad news for HDB flat owners and means they should not expect to earn private en bloc-type profits.

Back to top

 

What’s the difference between SERS, VERS and regular HDB resale?

Despite the fact that their acronyms differ by only one letter, SERS and VERS have some distinct differences. And of course, both schemes are very different from just selling your flat on the resale market.

The following table summarises the differences.

Type of sale SERS VERS Resale flat
Is it compulsory? Compulsory Voluntary Voluntary
Who is eligible? Around 5% of HDB flats Flats aged 70 & up where residents have voted yes to VERS Any HDB flat after Minimum Occupation Period (usually 5 years)
What’s the compensation like? Usually above market value of flat + rehousing grant (up to $30,000) Less generous than for SERS Depends on negotiations between buyer and seller
What about your new home? New replacement flats offered at subsidised prices No info yet You settle yourself

Back to top

 

How can you tell if your HDB flat has SERS potential?

There is no way to predict the future when it comes to SERS, especially as we’re only about halfway through the very first batch of 99-year leases.

But if your HDB estate has the following attributes, it has a better chance at being selected for SERS than one that does not:

  • Your estate is located in a central area in a mature estate.
  • Your estate is located near an MRT station.
  • The property in your estate does not use land space efficiently. (Basically, that means that everything is not packed like sardines and stacked to the sky.) This includes low rise blocks, big and spacious older flats and large open spaces.
  • There is alternative housing available in your neighbourhood where the HDB can shift you and your neighbours.
  • The property market is doing well. Don’t expect too many SERS acquisitions in a recession.

Back to top

 

What happens during the SERS process?

Here’s what you can expect a SERS process to entail:

The government notifies you that your home is going to be acquired for redevelopment.

  1. You attend an exhibition / info session to find out more about the SERS process and ask questions.
  2. A valuer shows up at your flat to assess its market value.
  3. You go for an appointment at HDB Hub, where you’ll be briefed about your finances and surveyed to help the government decide which replacement flat (with a fresh 99 year lease) to allocate you.
  4. You complete a precinct survey so the government knows what facilities you want.
  5. HDB informs you about the amount of compensation you will receive for the SERS acquisition.
  6. You choose between several rehousing options and submit your application for a new flat. You can also participate in the Joint Selection Scheme, which lets your household and up to five others select your flats on the same day so you can continue to live close to each other.
  7. You show up in person book your new flat according according to your balloted queue number.
  8. You show up to collect your keys. You also pay for the flat. You can use the money you received from the SERS acquisition—take note, however, that some of this money might first have to be used to pay off existing loans or to return to CPF the money you used to buy your original flat.

Back to top

 

List of SERS HDB estates/blocks so far

Want to know who the lucky ones who’ve benefitted from SERS are? Here’s a list of past SERS HDB blocks and estates.

SERS date HDB blocks / estate
22 Aug 1995 1 – 16 Boon Tiong Road / Tiong Bahru Road
1 Sep 1995 145, 147, 151, 152 Lorong 2 Toa Payoh
8 Nov 1995 103, 105, 107, 110 – 112 Depot Road
8 Feb 1996 67, 71, 72, 77 Redhill Road
30 Apr 1996 6A, 6B Margaret Drive
39 Forfar House
28 May 1996 6, 7 Chai Chee Road
30 Jun 1996 307 to 309, 315, 316 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1
9 Sep 1996 139 to 145 Corporation Drive / Hu Ching Road
5 Dec 1996 18, 19 Holland Drive
17 Feb 1997 79 Toa Payoh Central
89 Toa Payoh Lorong 2
454, 455 Ang Mo Kio Ave 2
126, 127 Kim Tian Road
51, 53, 54 Nile Road
25 Apr 1997 580 – 582 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3
24, 28 Dover Crescent
3 to 5 Syed Alwi Road
17 Oct 1997 135 to 138 Tah Ching Road
439 to 440 Clementi Avenue 3
13 Feb 1998 78, 80, 81 Telok Blangah Drive
12 – 14, 17, 19, 21 to 23 Teban Gardens Road
21 Jul 1998 1 – 7 Short Street / Prinsep Street
11 – 13 Short Street
21 – 23, 27 – 29 Outram Park
7 Oct 1998 1 Upper Aljunied Lane
24, 31, 32 Jalan Membina Barat / Lower Delta Road
102, 103 Lower Delta Road
3 – 5 Lim Chu Kang Road
18 Mar 1999 7, 8 Tronoh Road
21 Mar 1999 1 – 8, 10, 12 to 14 Hillview Avenue
29 Oct 1999 136, 137, 140 Toa Payoh Lorong 1A
164 – 167 Toa Payoh Lorong 1
68, 70, 72 Dakota Crescent
20 Feb 2000 1, 2, 5, 206, 207 Punggol Road / Buangkok South Farmway 1
83 Bedok North Road
1 – 5 Sembawang Road
30 Jul 2000 70, 71 Telok Blangah Heights, 14 – 16 Outram Hill
12 Aug 2000 311 – 314 Clementi Ave 4
17 Feb 2001 96 Margaret Drive
3 Mar 2001 1 – 4 Seletar Road, 1, 2, 5 – 7 Seletar West Farmway 6
11 Mar 2001 6, 8, 9, 10 Upper Boon Keng Road
13 Jan 2003 50 – 54 Tanglin Halt
57, 61, 67 – 73 Commonwealth Drive
15 Jan 2003 28, 30, 32, 33 Lorong 5 / 6 Toa Payoh
20 Feb 2003 1 – 3 Jalan Pasar Baru / Geylang Serai
24 Feb 2003 29, 31, 33 Havelock Road / Taman Ho Swee
16 Jul 2004 46 – 50 Bedok South Avenue 3
19 Jul 2004 30 – 32, 34 – 39 Dover Road
28 Jul 2004 103, 105 Tao Ching Road
28 Mar 2005 436 – 438, 445 Clementi Ave 3
21 Apr 2005 14 – 17, 22, 23 Holland Avenue / Drive
25 Nov 2005 20 Upper Boon Keng Road
24, 56, 57, 59, 60, 62 Sims Drive
29 Dec 2005 6C Margaret Drive
27A, 39A Commonwealth Avenue
22 Mar 2006 5 – 10 Yung Ping Road / Yung Kuang Road
180-182, 184 Boon Lay Drive
216, 217, 219, 220 Boon Lay Avenue
21 Apr 2006 88 – 92 Zion Road
22 Jun 2006 246 – 252 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 2 / 3 / 4
8 Dec 2006 9 – 12, 9A, 12A Ghim Moh Road
23 Feb 2007 94, 96 Henderson Road
17 – 19, 22 – 31 Silat Walk / Kampong Bahru Hill / Silat Road
28 Jun 2007 401 – 404, 407 – 409 Clementi Avenue 1
12 Jul 2007 2-11 Teban Gardens Road
8 Aug 2008 74 – 80 Commonwealth Drive
8 Nov 2009 110, 111, 113, 114 Bukit Merah View
13 Feb 2011 321 – 323 Clementi Avenue 5
9 Nov 2011 1 – 3 East Coast Road
15 Nov 2011 1 – 4 Rochor Road (as pictured in the main image)
3 Dec 2011 1 – 3, 5 – 22 Redhill Close
20 Dec 2011 167 – 172 Boon Lay Drive
25 Jun 2012 1A, 2A Woodlands Centre Road
27 Jun 2014 24 – 38, 40-45, 55, 56, 58 – 60, 60 – 66 Tanglin Halt Road / Commonwealth Drive
3 Aug 2016 513 – 520 West Coast Road
31 May 2018 81 – 83 MacPherson Lane

Back to top

Do you have any questions about SERS or VERS? Leave them in the comments!

 

Related articles

Lease Buyback Scheme – Is This HDB Scheme Really A Lifesaver for Elderly Singaporeans?

When You Can Legally Start Making Money Out of Your HDB Flat and How

Upgrading from Your First HDB – How To Do It & What are the Options?

Image credit: Phillipe Put via Flickr

Keep updated with all the news!

Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.