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".