The latest cry of resale prices of HDB flat still soaring and that supply is shrinking, or demand is rising, tells of a picture that nothing has changed. Whatever that have changed were merely cosmetic or stop gap measures. The fundamental position of the govt on housing has remained intact.
From providing cheap and good housing, today it is housing for profit, and maximum profit if possible. Housing is also an instrument for speculation, for fictitious wealth creation when the gains are quickly swallowed by higher cost of living and inflation, and for fattening the state coffer.
Under normal circumstances there is nothing wrong with such policies and economic enterprise. Housing becomes an economic good for trading, for people to make money and lose money, for the govt to generate revenue to feed the high salary of the system. Housing is a cash cow that must keep on churning out cash that is badly needed in the system, like all other sources of revenue. When the expenditure is so high, it must be matched by an equally high income.
Unless there is a structural change, the huge growing population and the reliance on housing as a major source of govt revenue, nothing will change in the property market. Like the Stop At Two policy, the No Casino policy, the restriction on foreigners buying landed properties, $90 NS allowance, etc, they were good and relevant at one time but no longer relevant today.
Housing, as a speculative economic good, needs to be reviewed in view of the changing socio economic and infrastructural limitations of the country. The govt needs to house the people well and cheaply. The runaway cost of living, the high cost of housing, cannot go on and on without breaking the social fabric of our society.
Would there be any fundamental changes to how housing is to serve the people’s need, to provide the people with good homes that are really affordable, to give the people a better quality of life? To continue squeezing the limited finances of the people for 30 years, to empty their wallets when the money could be used for many other more important things in life, and for retirement, is harming the welfare and well being of the people in the long run.
Would the govt relook at housing as a basic core item for the people’s good, without killing them in the process, without compromising the quality of their lifestyle? Would govt see housing as an essential item, not for speculation, and its responsibility to ensure that there is an abundance of housing to keep the price down at least in public housing, where every citizen who wants a flat will have his flat minus the pain and anguish?
Would all the silly terms and conditions be removed once and for all? Singles, married, unmarried, broken family, big income, small income, all will be eligible and can afford housing at their own discretion by virtue of being a citizen of the country? The issue is supply, in building enough to meet the needs of the citizens, with wise policies, and managing the demands from the reckless influx of foreigners and a population that is too big for the people’s good.
Let the pain and anxiety of acquiring a home be removed and no longer be a daily frustration in the life of the average citizen. When housing is no longer a bugging emotional and financial issue, the people can move on to indulge in other pursuits of living, to live an excellent life. Removing housing from the equation of life’s struggle will be a major positive change in the life of all Singaporeans. It will save a lot of time and financial resources for a better quality of life.