Fixing the affordability myth
HDB flats are affordable! You must believe that this is true. I swear that this is true. Yes, it is true under certain conditions. There is enough money in the CPF. If not enough, it can be made enough by increasing the amount available from the CPF. But this option is at its limit and can hardly get higher unless money from the Special Account and Medisave Account can also be used. Another way is to prolong the payment, from 20 years to 30 years to 50 years. And all these assume that the flat buyer is forever employed in all his 30 or 50 years of living. What Singaporeans should ask for is for a reduction in the amount of CPF that can be used for purchase of HDB flats. And the duration for repayment should also be shortened. This will allowed more money to be saved for retirement and no need for any CPF Life or fearing that there is not enough money left in the CPF after paying for an affordable HDB flat. Ok, some of you must have stood up and wanting to pounce on me for suggesting reduction of CPF and the duration for repayment. Let me explain. If the people has only $X in the CPF, or the repayment is shortened to say 10 or 15 years, his affordability must come down if not all of $X can be used. He can only afford to buy a flat that cost less than $X. Now you get what I mean? The policy of pricing HDB flat is based on affordability and not on the cost of building the flat. So if the buyer can afford to pay less, the price of HDB flats must come down accordingly. The problem today is that a buyer can use nearly all his CPF and can stretch to 30 or maybe 50 years. This will increase his affordability to buy more expensive flats. So HDB can price its flats accordingly and proclaim that HDB flats are affordable. Today's affordable is all your money in the CPF for 30 or 50 years. This is translated to mean you will not have much of a saving until you have paid off the affordable flat. Got it?