Boon Wan is talking about the BTO woes. When has it been a woe? Everything was fine until he took over. The housing policies were perfectly tuned to the needs of the people. And the people were happy queuing up for the new launches religiously, and willingly paying more for each new flat knowing very well that the prices could only go up. And they stood to make a pretty hefty gain on their valuable purchases.
It is kinda strange to talk about woes after barely two months in his new job. And he is ramping up BTOs to the tune of 25,000 units and possibly more, building ahead of demand. What demand? There was no demand before, or was there? And HDB was only willing to build when there was genuine demand. Obviously there wasn’t and the housing programme was scaled down.
It was great time for property developers and property owners then. Everyday they were counting on how many times their properties had appreciated in value. A couple of hundred thousand dollars price hike for public housing was the norm. And the owners were quietly happy.
There was some panic in a little corner, particularly among the young and those who are not property owners. They literally panic every time they failed in their ballot for a new public flat, peeing in their pants. The next one would mean another few more years of savings just to pay for the increase in price. Yes, there were fears. The fears of runaway housing prices that they could not catch with every passing day. Many jumped into whatever they could get hold of, private properties or resale flats. Better get it today or gone tomorrow.
Boon Wan was trying to restore some calm into the lives of these sweet young things trying to start a family. But don’t expect the prices to fall. It is sinful if prices should fall. 90% of the property owners would not want that. Boon Wan is happy, believing that his policies are good. So was his predecessor. If Boon Wan’s policies are good, then his predecessor’s must be bad, or vice versa.
The things that Boon Wan is doing are a result of the people’s voices in the last GE. The people had spoken and changes are taking place. Are they enough? What if the people did not make their concerns heard in the last election? Would the housing policies be the same as before, and Mah Bow Tan still writing his columns praising his achievements?
I am still puzzled by the two sets of policies. One must be good and one must be bad. Can’t be both good or both bad. Are the people having their first taste of bad govt?