Being chosen for Selective En-bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS) is akin to winning the Build-To-Order (BTO) ballot for prime housing estates such as Pinnacle@Duxton; highly sought after and perhaps even more unlikely.
SERS was introduced by HDB as part of the plan to renew older public housing estates and to redevelop them. Under this scheme, the government buys back older flats before the end of the 99-year lease and redevelops them. This means that you as an existing SERS flat owner can sell your old HDB at market value, buy a brand new subsidised flat with a fresh 99-year lease and be given compensation, subsidies, and grants for doing so.
Here’s what you need to know if you are the lucky chosen few.
#1 Your Flat’s Market Value Will Be Assessed By A Private Professional Valuer
After you have received the good news announcement and all the hype of being selected for SERS including an exhibition, a private professional valuer (not HDB) will come down and assess the market value of your flat. This valuation process is important because it determines the eventual compensation you will receive from HDB as part of the buyback.
As it is mandatory for you to move out of your flat under SERS, the compensation for SERS may be substantive and will be higher than that offered under Voluntary Early Redevelopment Scheme (VERS) which is voluntary.
#2 You Will Have A Chance To Indicate Your Preferences And Co-Design The Estate Of Your New Flat
After the valuation, you would be invited to the SERS Connect meeting, where an HDB officer would confirm your eligibility and ownership. You would be able to indicate your preferred flat type during this meeting. Your preferences for estate amenities will also be surveyed.
Unlike new BTO housing estates, existing flat owners under SERS can co-design the housing estate of their future home through their indicated preferences. This could take the form of more facilities such as common areas for children’s play or activities for the elderly.
#3 You Have The First Choice Of (Subsidised) Flats In The New Estate And Rehousing Benefits
Under SERS, existing flat owners are assured of a new flat in a nearby new estate. These new flats are sold at subsidised prices and the price is fixed at the time of the SERS announcement.
After the compensation notice, SERS flat owners can pick their desired flat from the available rehousing options at the designated replacement site of their new estate.
You even have the choice of applying with your favourite neighbours. Up to six households can choose their flats on the same day under the Joint Selection Scheme.
You also enjoy SERS rehousing benefits which include:
- $30,000 grant to buy a new flat at a subsidised price
- Waiver of fees including administrative and booking fees for the replacement flat
- Resale levy or premium concessions, capped at $30,000
- Removal allowance at $10,000 per flat
# You Have Other Rehousing Options Besides The Designated Replacement Site
If for any reason, you do not wish to move to the offered designated replacement site, SERS flat owners can also apply elsewhere for BTO, Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) and still receive the SERS rehousing benefits and a 10% priority allocation or Re-Offer of Balance Flats (ROF) and receive SERS rehousing benefits.
You may also sell your existing SERS flat in the open market. However, do note that there is a freeze on resale or transfer of a SERS flat for one month following the SERS announcement.
What Are The Odds Of Being Selected For SERS?
The last SERS project was in 2018 for Blocks 81 to 83 MacPherson Lane. This spurred a hot debate both in social media and in parliament regarding the lease decay of HDB flats and the announcement of Voluntary Early Redevelopment Scheme (VERS) during the 2018 National Day Rally.
According to HDB, only about 5 percent of flats are suitable for SERS and most of them are already developed. This means that the odds of being selected for SERS are very low and we should not bank on SERS if we chose to buy an older resale flat.
Instead what is more likely to happen in time to come is that older flats will be redeveloped under VERS which has much fewer benefits as emphasised by the government repeatedly.
Thus, choose wisely before you buy an older resale flat because the odds of being selected for SERS are not in your favour.
See below for a summary of the difference between SERS and VERS:
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