Two young Singaporeans having settled down in America for a few years could have bought a decent landed property for $300k or $400k, driving around in a fairly big car for $30k, and have a decent savings of perhaps two or three hundred thousand bucks.
If they were to return to paradise, selling their home for about the same amount and with a net cash of three quarter of a million, they could at best buy a private condo and still having to take a few hundred thousand bucks in loan. Eventually the private flat is going to cost them perhaps $2m in total. And they need to buy a small car that is going to cost at least $100k.
Their net financial position is negative, with a big mortgage and hardly anything left in their savings. This is the price of returning home. And there is job hunting to do. It is like being robbed of a couple of million bucks on returning home to stay. Yes, they can go and rent a flat and live like FTs.
In the case of a foreign talent from the neighbouring countries, most of them would not have much of a property anyway. They came, got a job, rented a place and started savings. Few years down the road, placed all their savings for a public flat and service them with their CPF. The value of the flat can only go up, like a savings account with guaranteed 5% to 10% interest rate equivalent, maybe more. Then they start to count the days when they could cash out and return home to be a rich man, or in the US or Australia to start life with a reasonable good cash holding from the sale of their public flat.
The two tales tell of the comparative advantage of Singaporeans returning home to pay a huge ransom for something less and a foreigner who came with nothing much but leaving with a pretty nice cash hoard. And this is not far from the truth. The cost of living is a heavy price to pay. The only good option is to cash out and move out. But his option is not so attractive to Singaporeans who called this island home.