In a dense HDB estate such as Toa Payoh, you can find newer, skyscraper-like towers planted right next to 40-year-old vintage flats. The difference is striking and embodies the continuous change of Singapore’s landscape.

For a small country like Singapore, housing can be a complex and challenging issue due to the rising population and limited land available.

As a general policy, leasehold land will be returned to the State upon lease expiry, to allow it to be rejuvenated for the new social and economic needs of Singaporeans.

Thus, a 99-year lease means that the flat can be handed down one or two generations before it is returned for redevelopment.

99-year leases are not unique to Singapore, as cities like Hong Kong have residential properties sold on 50-year leases and Canberra in Australia has a 99-year leasehold system.

But what happens in Singapore when that lease is up? Do flats last that long or does HDB compensate the owners in any way?