The truth and lies of home ownership

There are some bloggers who are here to spread half truths and misinformation about the state of home ownership situation and I feel obliged to state their position against what is the real truth.

Some Singaporeans are still unhappy with the housing issue and to these bloggers it is really the fault of the Singaporeans. They accused the unhappy Singaporeans for unreasonable expectations and told them to live within their means, ie, Singaporeans should buy the flats according to what they could afford. So got money buy bigger flats, no money buy smaller flats. No one is forcing Singaporeans to buy bigger properties!

They chided the Singaporeans for being unappreciative of their blessed situation, that they are lucky to be able to own a flat, big or small, as if without the govt they would not even have a roof over their heads. And that Singaporeans should be contented with a 3rm or 4 rm flat given the limited land we have.

One even said that it was better to buy a 4 rm flat instead of a car as if the choice is an either or situation. He would not want to know what causes high COEs and traffic congestions. Any school boy would be able to tell him why. If the population is not allowed to grow to such a size, there will be enough land for houses and cars.

Another truth is that what the govt is doing to solve the housing problems is the best and no one can do better, so be grateful. Who has the monopoly of wisdom and solutions? And housing is still affordable. Of course, even if a 3 rm flat is to cost $1m, it is still affordable. Just stretch it to 99 year repayment for the loan. And why not, COE is 10 years, so car loan can be stretched to 10 years. How many still believe in this affordable myth?

The affordable definition for housing is akin to forcing Singaporeans to live dangerously. Once a flat is bought based on two incomes for 30 years, pray that the two income will be there for the next 30 years. Loss of one income means loss of the flat, no longer affordable. Is this how the people are encouraged to live by, commit themselves to the neck for 30 years?

Whether the above are truths or misinformation everyone can decide for themselves. Allow me here to list out some of the hard truths, and of course if anyone thinks that what I wrote are misinformation or half truths, feel free to disagree with me.

The first truth, we have enough land to meet the demands of all our citizens for housing, provided we don’t recklessly increase the population to a point of beyond our control. Look at what Boon Wan is building. If there is not enough land, then the bringing in of more foreigners is very dangerous. We could still build and build to sell the foreigners. We have enough land for our citizens.

There is no shortage of supply for public housing. The shortage is temporary and due to bad decision and planning not to build. Everyone can have his choice of flats, and even if the richer Singaporeans were to buy smaller flats, given the restriction on speculation and owning private properties, no citizen is depriving another citizen from the chance of owning a flat, IF there is a willingness to build. There will even be enough flats for singles, broken up families etc etc.

The govt dictates how many flats to be built, when and where.

The govt dictates the price to sell, which is now blamed on market forces.

The govt dictates who can buy and who cannot buy.

The govt also dictates who can buy what and cannot buy what type of flats. Those with higher incomes are FORCED to buy bigger flats or buy more expensive flats from the private developers. Not true?

Because of the above, the people are not allowed to buy flats within their means, or buy smaller flats relative to their income. Heard of income ceilings and what are they for?

If the govt is controlling and dictating everything related to housing supply, who is the cause of the housing problem?

Did I tell lies or misinformation? You be the judge. Let those who have eyes see. But for those who refuse to see, let it be.


Anonymous said...

Always ask yourself first whatever the YaMEN does, who benefitted? You or the Elites? Or everybody? Everybody seems impossibles. Maybe the hoi polloi has "the leftovers" and some even "breadcrums" under the table. The day when even the "breadcrums" are not available is the day of reckoning. But i don't think the Elites are so greedy until they have lost their senses to allow this to happen. They will manage the hoi polloi's expectations in a way that makes them think they are much better than their neighbouring countries. But it may not work one day. Neighbouring countries are catching up with us. And with the Internet it's very difficult to hide the "truth".

Anonymous said...

You got $12K income...don't fight with those low salary lah.

Anonymous said...

Readers of social-political blogs must have or should have realized that there are only a handful of bloggers left on policy discourses.

The other observation that is getting more common now, is that there are more pro-policy comments in most blogs. Could it be that property owners are benefitting from the price escalation of properties, including public housing?

Each and every launch of properties were overwhelmingly attended and over-subscribed. Sure, most private and condo developments are open to foreign buyers. Each wave of foreigners comes in, property prices go up by ten/fifteen percents. Current owners stand to gain at each rise AND most Singaporeans are house owners who are just glad that their properties are making good gain.

Singaporeans seem very proud that they are 'owning' expensive property and car though most are gotten by means of loan.


Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Hi anon 9:17, you are still being programmed to think that people with household income of $10k or more are competing with the lower income for flats. This is a wrong view that Sinkies are made to think without thinking.

If the govt builds enough flats for everyone, why should anyone earning a little more be competing with others? It is the control of supply that is forcing the situation.

The plight of those who earn a little more is more serious than the lower income when they are forced to buy million dollar properties in the private market. For doing so, they will have to take bigger loans and if anything goes wrong, they will fall harder.

It is sinful to force anyone to spend all his money instead of helping him to save for retirement and rainy days. This applies across the board to all HDB eligible buyers. They are forced to empty their wallets and accepting very high risks.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

As for property owners benefitting, unfortunately they are benefitting from other Sinkies who have to pay more, and many will be their children and grandchildren.

Anonymous said...

Anyone heard of the American invention of pens for the astronauts to write in space? The American Scientists invested some much time, energy, $$$$ and top scientists to invent it. The inventions were send together with the astronauts into space to be tested, again and again and again. It just won't work, the pen just won't write on paper, the astronaut can't record important happening up in space. So the scientists again looked for and invented sophicated material and tested again and again.

In the end the Russian beat them to it. How ??? Many wonder Why.... the American has all the top brains...how can the Russian beat them to it.

Very simple.... the Russian just use the SIMPLE, BASIC and unsophicated thing : lead

and it works fabulously all the time.

Anonymous said...

HDB flats belong to HDB (the government).
You just own the lease (like a car's COE) that gives you the right to stay in he HDB flat.

That is why you cannot pass on a HDB flat to your children as inheritance; unless your children qualify to own a HDB flat.

And if all HDB flats belong to the government, then Singaporeans probably have he LOWEST home ownership rates in the world.

Anonymous said...

yep, the real property owners are those freeholds or 999 year leaseholds.

If one is to divide the price by 99 years against price of freeholds and 999 leaseholds divided by infinity or 999, the freeholds and leaseholds are cheaper.

The 99 year leaseholds are overpriced!

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

I am sure all of you are familiar with the Peking Duck syndrome. The ducks are forced fed, forced consumption, only to be led to the slaughter house.

The property market is fully controlled by the govt. How much land to be released and how many flats to be built, and how much to sell.

I shudder every time there is a new launch and the innocent young couples happily quipped that the prices are reasonable when they ended up with a $500k or more housing loan. And when fully repaid, that is at least a million bucks.

The young have not seen the upheavals of the financial and housing markets and only look at the bright side. When a crisis hits, a half a million dollar loan can kill.

And they innocently pay with everything they got, assuming that all will be fine. A housing loan of a couple of hundred thousand could still be manageable. Half a million and above, if something untowards happens, they will be calling out for mercy.

Forced consumption to empty the wallet is irresponsible. Forcing young people to take up such huge loans, I dunno what to say.

Anonymous said...

The home is a stored value or insurance for all stakeholders in this tiny piece of land. So far, no one who has been financially prudent who put his or her money in this land has loss.

If you are richer, you can afford to live better and if you are poorer, you too can have a decent roof over your head.

Expensive or cheap, they are fairly priced according to size,location and quality. In other words, you get what you paid for but most importantly, if we all play our part in protecting our collective investment, we will enjoy the returns in one form or the other.

No loss but plenty to gain for everyone.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Hi anon, if the public flats were built by private developers who have to bid for the price of the land and need to max profit, no one will complain.

The HDB flats are built using state land acquired cheaply from the people. Why is it that Sinkies are willing to accept whatever price thrown at them? Lack of iThing software to understand the difference?

The second problem is that it is leasehold will the lease will eventually be used up. Under the current market condition, with rapidly rising inflation, it appears that property prices can only go up, even when the lease is expiring.

What if the natural law of consuming the lease applies? No one can guarantee the present high inflation to go on and on. It was never that way in history.

Anonymous said...

Firstly, we can't derail the market system at the moment.
Secondly, state land is our land or the people's land. Revenues accrued from the land belongs to the people. Thirdly, there seems to be some kind of price regulation on the govt part though you may disagree to its strategic pricing methods. But above all, all stand to gain though some gained more.

Leasehold or freehold is tricky. Leasehold is necessary because it accommodates progress and caters to future development. Therefore, it shouldn't affect the real value of your property other than it is restricted to one or at most two generation of usage.

Wang said...


Please inform when was the last exercise of stated land being acquired at cheap prices (eg more than 1 year past prices) , i believe that it is at least 20-25years ago or more, further, per legislation changes at that time, all land has to be compensated at prevailing prices 1 year back.

The SLA may still have cheap land, but note your cheap is past compared to present and further, a quite fair chunk is required to be improved eg infrastructure added.
In addition, all new land thru reclamation is not cheap, considering all the housing estates developed, it would be interesting to know the proportion of old lands remain?

For condos etc, it is cheap as strata title only gives a portion of such land.


Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Hi Wang, thanks for the update. I am not sure if any of those lands acquired long ago are still around or been redeveloped all over again. I am not sure how are there going to compensate those living in Bukit Brown. Would they be market value? Shit, both my parents residence in Bulim were acquired without any compensation, not a cent. And that wasn't too long ago.

What ever is the compensation price, the land will then be subjected to public bidding with reserved price, ie more profits.

Public housing and pricing depend on what is the objective of the govt and who it wants to benefit and at whose expense.

To me, the pricing of public housing to max profit is not a good thing. Of course this is subjective and the next govt could price it differently.

My comments also reply to anon's interpretation of duration of leases.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Hi Wang, thanks for the update. I am not sure if any of those lands acquired long ago are still around or been redeveloped all over again. I am not sure how are there going to compensate those living in Bukit Brown. Would they be market value? Shit, both my parents residence in Bulim were acquired without any compensation, not a cent. And that wasn't too long ago.

What ever is the compensation price, the land will then be subjected to public bidding with reserved price, ie more profits.

Public housing and pricing depend on what is the objective of the govt and who it wants to benefit and at whose expense.

To me, the pricing of public housing to max profit is not a good thing. Of course this is subjective and the next govt could price it differently.

My comments also reply to anon's interpretation of duration of leases.

Anonymous said...


many of the empty plots that we are seeing today were cleared of settlers long ago.

Me am one who surely and certainly believes our political leaders are DAMN farsighted in their schemes for Sin.


Anonymous said...

"But above all, all stand to gain though some gained more". Unquote.
"Could it be that property owners are benefitting from the price escalation of properties, including public housing?". Unquote.

Putting the Above 2 Quoted Statements together and it will probably explain why Singaporeans are nonchalant about high property prices.


Anonymous said...

ANON: October 31, 2011 1:26 PM says

"Secondly, state land is our land or the people's land."

If the above is true, then our CPF money is really our money. And we are free to use it for anything at anytime.

In Singapore, debunking PAP's propaganda is a very constructive activity. It is the most constructive form of criticism in the world.

Give us back our CPF money.
Give us back our country.

Vote Opposition in GE 2016.

Anonymous said...

The bloggers in 3in1kopitiam are saying, tongue in cheek, to paint O$P$ at CPF.

agongkia said...

State land is Garmen's land,not our land.So cannot claim to be people's land.Only Garmen can claim its people's land because only they can call themselves people.

And Uncle Redbean,never know that my Ah Kong is your parent's neighbour in Bulim.I cannot recall any compensation .But seems that whatever land that is taken away from my Ah Kong,is left bleeding mosquitoes.

Anonymous said...

You people better forget about your compensations otherwise your fellow Singaporeans will be made to pay even more for their housings.
'ru tu wei ann'(to rest in peace having returned to nature-passed on) is of paramount importance to the Chinese. Now, no choice; all suspended between Earth and Clouds except for Muslims.

To free kins(spirits) from future suspension, do choose to have their ashes disperse to the sea.

If graveyards and places of worship can be cleared, no guarantee crematoriums will be spared. Now, not only the livings are having little peace, the deads are invaded too.


agongkia said...

Compensation has never cross my mind at all .Ashes disperse into the sea is not my choice .I still prefer Ru Tu Wei An.
I enjoy seeing my descendants gathering at the cemetery yearly and pay respect to me,a practice that can bond them together.They can learn the good value .
The Deads need not be disturbed if you people knows how to use your brains.There is enough places for them to rest in peace if you know how to plan well.
Where is Prof. Wu Teh Yao?Must seek his help to tell you on the importance of Qing Ming and cemetery visiting.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Haha, Agongkia, let's arrange for them to have kopi and get to know each other: )

Maybe a bit late. My father is now in Yishun. My mother did not have a chance to stay in Bulim at all. And the plot was not used but taken over by the govt without any compensation.

agongkia said...

Uncle RedBean
Nothing is impossible.My Ah Kong shifted to Bedok.There is transport for Yishun.
My grandma lucky,in Penang.The land is good for condos or landed properties.,but Malaysian Garmen have feeling and leave her alone all these years.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Agongkia, better leave them to do what they please. They could also have been reincarnated: )

Our pop is not 5m with 3.5m Singaporeans who will need burial places. Now where to find the place for them?

And more places will be needed over time as our population keeps growing. The dead too will be demanding for more land.

Anonymous said...

Let the departed have their kopi in heaven, we must make time for kopi together ourselves.
I am so proud of agongkia today, though claimed to be lowly educated, there is gem of commonsense in him. See! One does not need any talented people to know how humans should live.

If it is not for the widely belief of reincarnation, me would not have mentioned 'ru tu wei ann'. No seedling grows in the air, life is said to be made of five elements(wu xing) from gold(jing), water(shui), wood(mu), fire(huo) and earth(tu) all grounded. Though an atheist, me likes the 'ru tu wei ann' belief for reason that agongkia has said.

Pardon me today for wanting to fuck many talented professionals and tricksters. Fuck the pastor/preacher/follower who does spiritual healing but goes to the doctor for his/her own treatment. Fuck the monk that wear wig and suit to visit prostitute. Fuck the general that says save the country and the people when he trains people to kill people.
fuck the leaders that say they care for their people but enrich themselves by manipulating and exploiting their countrymen.

Why do we have so many fucking hypocrites???


Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Wow, never see Patriot so angry before. Go and drink 'liang teh': )

agongkia said...

Thank you patriot,I very paiseh and must really buy you Liang Teh one day.

Anonymous said...

I am now in my 50s. When i was at the height of my earnings, below 35, and single then, i was not allowed to buy a flat. because i was single and my income was higher than what HDB allowed. And i paid high taxes, higher than many earn in a year. My younger colleagues fresh from school, recently made PRs with sibling was allowed to buy brand new HDB flat. now both are not in singapore and they sold and made money out of it. Fact? Fiction. check it out. This was the situations many find themselves in the 80s.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Please say thank you to the brilliant policies.

Anonymous said...

Fuck up policies !

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