Saturday, April 08, 2006
It is one of three families in an otherwise empty Sengkang block asked to sell their homes back to the HDB as it wants to convert the building's 80 units into smaller two- and three-bedroom flats for lower-income families and downgraders.
The three units are the only ones that were sold in Block 302B in Anchorvale Link since it was completed six years ago. Current prices for new executive flats in the area are between $246,000 and $353,000, though it is not known how much the three units were sold for.
It is also not known how much the HDB will pay to buy back the three flats, or whether the families will be compelled to move out. Neither the families nor the HDB would disclose details of negotiations. National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan said yesterday the deals will be struck on a 'willing buyer, willing seller basis'.
'We hope that we will be able to strike a deal. If they don't (sell it) back, then we will decide what to do later,' he said.
All three families declined to be named. But those who face the inconvenience of relocating and enrolling their children in new schools expressed slight dismay at not having been informed at the outset of the likelihood that they might have to move.
One resident said the mental strain and pressures of moving can never be compensated for in monetary terms. Though initially frustrated, members of the family that moved in about a month ago are resigned to leaving their home.
Said the owner of the flat: 'Of course one feels understandably frustrated - moving in, packing and repacking take great effort. But at the end of the day, things that happen, happen; one lets go. Besides, this will help other people - lower-income families need this, I'm glad to be able to help them in some way.'
All the families agreed that HDB officials have been kind and understanding.
One unit is home to a retired couple who moved into their flat in 2000. They said the HDB has been very helpful. 'They are giving the best of what both we and they can offer.'
Property agent Chris Koh, of Dennis Wee Properties, reckons the owners are better off selling to avoid disturbances from construction work during the conversion.
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