Image adapted from: Google Maps
When it comes to property news, mention ‘en-bloc’ and you’ll probably get notions of excitement all around. After all, going en-bloc is akin to striking 4D or TOTO in the property world just because it doesn’t happen very often. However, when it does, it usually promises quite a decent payout for those involved.
Just earlier last week, the property market was abuzz over the latest news that 4 HDB blocks located at Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3 have been selected for their Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS). Here’s everything you need to know about the latest announcement, and what it means for the property market.
What is SERS?
In short, SERS is the public housing equivalent of going en-bloc, meaning that it’ll only apply for HDBs and some very old landed properties classified under public housing. The SERS is the Government’s strategy to renew and transform ageing properties in estates; as such, only flats that are at least 50 years old can qualify for SERS. And even then, it’s not guaranteed that it’ll be selected.
In case you missed it, check out our guide to what SERS is all about.
The Ang Mo Kio SERS announcement
It was announced on 7 April that 4 HDB blocks (562 to 565) at Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3 had been selected for SERS.
Right off the bat, this was definitely met with much excitement and anticipation, given that the last SERS announcement was back in 2018, for some blocks in the MacPherson area. This is also not the first time blocks at Ang Mo Kio have been selected for SERS. Past Ang Mo Kio SERS projects include:
- June 2006 – 7 blocks at Ang Mo Kio Avenue 2, 3 and 4
- April 1997 – 3 blocks at Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3
- February 1997 – 2 blocks at Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10
- June 1996 – 5 blocks at Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1
According to reports, this move will involve over 600 households, consisting of mostly 3-room and 4-room flats. Apart from the valuation they get for their existing homes, residents will be offered newly-built units at the designated replacement site at Ang Mo Kio Drive, which is situated in-between Nanyang Polytechnic and ITE College Central and not too far away from the existing SERS site. The site will boast about 1,065 flats and will be completed in 3Q 2027.
Image credit: HDB
There are also a slew of benefits that residents will get to enjoy. For example, there’s a SERS grant to help offset the cost of the replacement unit: singles get $15,000, while families and joint singles get $30,000. There’s also an additional $10,000 to defray costs of removing bulky furniture and household items.
Illustration of the completed Ang Mo Kio Drive blocks
Image credit: HDB
If you’re interested, the timeline for the entire SERS process was also provided by HDB:
Image adapted from: HDB
Ang Mo Kio SERS: what this means for the property market
As all HDBs age with wear and tear, the cost of repairs and maintenance increase over time, to the point where it’ll get too expensive to maintain the estate which is not worth the upside. However, if the estate is situated in a really attractive location, the Government would want to ensure that it’ll continue to be earmarked for public housing.
But before you start eyeballing ageing HDBs and putting down money to purchase them in hopes of getting a hefty payout with SERS, hold up! It’s not always Sunday.
One message that the Government has always emphasised is that people should not assume that all old HDBs will become eligible for SERS. According to the HDB, only 5% of all HDBs flats are suitable for SERS, and most of these with high redevelopment potential have already been selected for the scheme. Because the Government knows that investors would be eager to snap up ageing properties in hopes of being selected for SERS.
That being said, there are some signs which you can watch out for which point towards future potential for SERS. It was revealed that residents from Ang Mo Kio Ave 3 have speculated that their flat would be chosen for SERS as far back as eight years ago.
This happened when their four blocks were the only ones in the area not chosen for the Home Improvement Programme back in 2014, which was odd considering neighbouring blocks of the same age were chosen. This of course fuelled speculation, though it wasn’t actually confirmed till now, almost eight years later.
With this latest announcement, it’ll most certainly rekindle prospective investors’ interest in speculating the next site selected for SERS. Based on past trends, we’ll probably expect the next announcement to only come in a few years’ time, in ageing estates with appealing locations like Ang Mo Kio. Until then, we can only wait and speculate which areas will be next selected.