New SERS projects, don’t expect many more sites to be eligible

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New SERS projects will be very rare going forward says Minister for National Development

In responding to a parliamentary question on new SERS projects, the Minister for National Development, Mr Lawrence Wong, said that he does not expect many more sites to be eligible for HDB‘s Selective En-bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS).

Challenges involving the new SERS projects

The Minister was asked, “in the past 10 years, what is the number of HDB’s Selective En-bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS) projects and the number of dwelling units affected, broken down on an annual basis; and what are the challenges involving SERS projects.”

In responding to the parliamentary question on new SERS projects, the Minister said:

“Since 2010, 8 public housing sites involving about 6,900 sold flats (or an average of 690 sold flats per year) have been announced for the SERS. SERS involves compulsory acquisition and is done only on a limited basis, after taking into consideration various factors such as the redevelopment potential of the site, and the availability of suitable replacement sites nearby to rehouse the home-owners involved. Given these restrictions, we do not expect many more sites to be eligible for SERS. This is why the Government has announced a new Voluntary Early Redevelopment Scheme (VERS) to more systematically redevelop and renew our older HDB towns.”

The Minister announced in March 2017 that HDB flat owners should not assume that all old HDB flats will become eligible for SERS. Wong said that “only 4% of HDB flats have been identified for SERS since it was launched in 1995”, and that “it is only offered to HDB blocks located in sites with high redevelopment potential”.

Wong’s comments on SERS spooked a considerable segment of the HDB flat owners as about 70,000 flats (of the 1-million HDB flats) are more than 40 years old, and almost 10 percent of flats will face lease expiry in 50 years. The Minister’s announcement essentially means that such flats will have zero value once it reaches 99 years and owners will have to vacate their homes. Most owners will see the land their flat was on being returned to the State at the end of the 99-year-leasehold.

The public’s alarm caused the Minister to clarify that HDB flats are still a “good store of asset value”, so long as one plans ahead and makes prudent housing decisions. The assurance by the Minister however, failed to ease the concerns of some who asked ‘how in one fell sweep, HDB flats had gone from being “asset enhancement” to “good store of asset value”’.

Limited number of new SERS projects since 2011

In June 2018, three blocks of flats in Macpherson were identified for SERS. The set of blocks identified for SERS in Macpherson are only the second set of blocks identified for SERS since the last General Election.

Before the Macpherson, 8 blocks of flats in West Coast Road were identified for SERS in August 2016. It is unclear how many more flats will be identified for SERS before the next General Election is called, but the set of flats identified for SERS has been declining between each election cycle.

After the May 2006 General Election and before the May 2011 General Election, 9 set off blocks were identified for SERS:

S/N Date Town Completed SERS Site* Designated Replacement Site
Street Name Block No. Street Name Block No.
1 22 Jun 2006 Ang Mo Kio Ang Mo Kio Avenue 2/3/4 246 to 252 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1 307A, 307B, 307C, 308A, 308B, 310A, 310B and 310C
2 8 Dec 2006 Queenstown
(Buona Vista)
Ghim Moh Road 9 to 12, 9A and 12A Ghim Moh Link 22, 23 and 26 to 28
3 23 Feb 2007 Bukit Merah Henderson Road 94 and 96 Kim Tian Road 126A, 126C, 127A, 127C and 127D
4 Bukit Merah
Silat Walk / Kampong
Bahru Hill / Silat Road
17 to 19 and 22 to 31
5 28 Jun 2007 Clementi Clementi Avenue 1 401 to 404, 407 to 409 Clementi Avenue 1 416 to 418, 420, 421, 423 to 425
6 12 Jul 2007 Jurong East
(Teban Gardens)
Teban Gardens Road 2 to 11 Teban Gardens Road 20 to 23
7 8 Aug 2008 Queenstown Commonwealth Drive 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80 Commonwealth Drive Blocks 50 to 54
(Commonwealth 10)
8 8 Nov 2009 Bukit Merah Bukit Merah View 110, 111, 113, 114 Boon Tiong Road Blocks 9A, 9B, 10A and 10B
(Tiong Bahru View)
9 13 Feb 2011 Clementi Clementi Avenue 5 321 to 323 Clementi Avenue 3 Blocks 440A to 440C
(Clementi Cascadia)

After the May 2011 General Election and before the September 2015 General Election, 6 set off blocks were identified for SERS:

S/N Date Town Completed SERS Site* Designated Replacement Site
Street Name Block No. Street Name Block No.
1 9 Nov 2011 Bedok
(East Coast)
East Coast Road 1 to 3 Chai Chee Road Blocks 807B and 807C
(Ping Yi Greens)
2 15 Nov 2011 Central Rochor Road 1, 2, 3, 4 Upper Boon Keng Rd 8A, 8B, 8C
(Kallang Trivista)
3 3 Dec 2011 Bukit Merah Redhill Close 1 to 3, 5 to 22 Henderson Road Blocks 95A to 95C, 96A and 96B
(City Vue @Henderson)
4 29 Dec 2011 Jurong West
(Boon Lay Gardens)
Boon Lay Drive 167 to 172 Jurong West Central 697A to 6097C, 698A to 698C
(Jurong West Blossom)
5 25 Jun 2012 Woodlands Woodlands Centre Road 1A and 2A Woodlands Drive 70 Blocks 717A and 717B
(Admiralty Vista)
6 27 Jun 2014 Queenstown Tanglin Halt Road / Commonwealth Drive 24 to 32, 33 to 38,
40 to 45, 55, 56,
58 to 60 and 62 to 66
Margaret Drive (Site A)
Margaret Drive (Site B)
Dawson Road (Ste C)
Dawson Road (Site D)
Strathmore Avenue (Site E)

new sers projectsIn August 2018, the Government said that it will transition to VERS once the SERS limit is reached. SERS is an urban redevelopment strategy employed by the Housing and Development Board (HDB) in maintaining and upgrading public housing flats in older estates.

Launched in August 1995, SERS involves a small selection of specific precincts in older estates which undergo demolition and redevelopment to optimise land use, as opposed to upgrading of existing flats via the Main Upgrading and Interim Upgrading Programmes. Mr Wong, the Minister for National Development said that according to HDB’s estimates, only about 5 per cent of flats are suitable for SERS.

He said new SERS projects will be limited and will run until all remaining sites with high development potential have been cleared.

Written by Ravi Chandran

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