Friday, October 9, 2009

Define Choosy

With rising housing prices hitting headlines recently, Singapore’s National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan has come out to say that “HDB figures yesterday showed that eight in 10 first-timers could get a flat on their first try if they were not choosy ; the success rate was 96 per cent for the second try”.

Unfortunately for the Singapore government, this is a figure few Singaporeans believe. A study by National University of Singapore economists Tilak Abeysinghe and Gu Jiaying published last year found that the buying power of people's lifetime earnings in 2007 was lower than it was in 1990 when it is tracked against the prices of HDB resale flats. Basically, prices of HDB resale flats have become less affordable for Singaporeans.

Not only that, the latest statistics by Minister Mah came in the midst of several complaints about the difficulty in getting a flat. So how do you explain the numbers by HDB?

When I read the statement by Minister Mah I think the important part of it is “if they are not choosy”. How do one define being “choosy”? I mean to buy a flat in Singapore means you will putting yourself in debt for the next 10 to 25 years. If you put that in the equation, would it be “choosy” if you reject a flat on the second-storey or in an out-of-the-place area? In either one of those scenarios, the resale value of the flats would be lower.

So would that be considered “choosy”? Maybe Minister Mah can explain what is considered "choosy".


Zenebi said...

Basically, you are 'Choosy' if you reject any offers to select an HDB flat when offered. It doesn't matter to them WHY you rejected, but the very fact that you rejected the offer. Obviously, the minister thinks that the average Singaporean, like himself, think so little of spending 300k that they should heck care and just buy it. Unfortunately for me, I don't have such a big paycheck like our ministers so if I am going to be in debt for the next 20+ years, I'm be damned if I ain't choosy!

Ghost said...

The high price of homes in Singapore is one of the reason why Singaporeans are so 'choosy'. The more money you need to pump into the house, the more 'careful' you need to be. That's just the way it is.

Anonymous said...

In the past when HDB flats were reasonably affordable, and our parents were transiting from kampong life to flatted living with the convenience of water and electricity, they're happy with just the basic furnishings and amenities.

Now with the prices of HDB flats skyrocketing that the average Singaporeans need a 20-year housing loan, it's a lifetime investment that requires careful choices of location and planning for the family. Mr Mah or HDB should not assume that young and modern Singaporeans should be like their parents, and just adopt a take it or leave it attitude. If the minister wants to run HDB like a profitable enterprise, then he should be prepared to treat prospective home buyers like customers with a good degree of service.

Ghost said...

In my parents time, a 20 year housing loan would be unthinkable. Nowadays, it's normal. That I think is the main reason why Singaporeans reject undesireable flats, and in my view it's a very valid reason.