For starters, there's no $250,000 bonanza. The downgraders will still need a roof over their heads, and a studio apartment will cost up to $119,000 at current HDB "subsidised" prices - which include the hidden "reserves" component alluded to by Mah Bow Tan. Once again, HDB stand to benefit from the transaction, at undisclosed profit margins. The reduced sum means that the associated CPF Life payout will be nearly halved. Living space will also shrink to 45 sq meters. And there's a waiting list. Last month 's launch in Tampines saw 322 applicants for 180 units, making a subscription rate of 1.7 times.
Mrs Chua is one of those less enthusiatic about the scheme, "I like the space that I have (4-room); if I can afford to keep the flat, I would rather do it." Sociologist Tan understands the premium on living space, "Perhaps the flat is where their children will meet them on weekends and where their grandchildren are sent on weekdays, so they would still prefer to live in a larger flat." No one is looking forward to a lower standard of living, not after a life-time of toil. Others may have to hang on to their older, more spacious units for other pragmatic reasons. Their children have just started work and savings, and economic propects, are just not enough to commit to a 30 year mortgage. If every cloud has a silver lining, this ain't it.
Another reason for the lukewarm response is that the Silver Housing scheme is targetted at those with $10,000 in their CPF balance. Or less. With those kind of financial resources available, you will be hard put to find a nursing home willing to take you in for the long haul. Who says there are no poor people in a developed country?
Plan "B" would have to be the group home for the elderly, such as the one-room rental units at Pipit Road. The flats are partitioned so that each resident has his "own little corner" in the communal quarters. For all we know, Mas Selamat may have better accommodation arrangements.
|Here's something to look forward to.....|