Singapore Day Dreaming

14 Dec

When I was growing up, once in a long while, you would hear of stories during family gatherings that some uncle and auntie or distant cousin had finally bought a condo in newton or apartment along river valley. It was still possible, one could still dream and work hard to achieve that lofty dream. But with the growing income gap (growth at all costs) and unrestrained foreigner buying in the prime property districts of Singapore (district 9, 10 and 11 and Sentosa), buying a condo in the suburbs nowadays and paying thru your bloody nose for a 1+million pigeon hole is now considered a ‘big thing’! Apparently, you have made it!

If this continues, in 5 to 10 years time, we will most likely see the prime districts an enclave of the rich and/or famous with close to 30% of them holding passports other than the Singapore red. Less and less would you hear of the success stories floating around in your social circles. You either stay in Pasir Ris HDB or Pasir Ris Condo XXX. Nothing wrong staying in a Pasir Ris HDB or condo, but the country would be divided starkly along have and have-nots, our meritocracy a myth, and a huge chunk of the island owned by a minute segment of the population – some of whom don’t even stay here much less belong here.

Images courtesy of

Many of our next generation, especially lower-middle income and below, would worry about affording a home in their country. And even if they do, mortgage payments would take away most of their disposable income leaving less for a higher standard of living or expenses which would otherwise be invested into their children so that they may do better than their parents and compete against foreign talent. This excludes the fact that property rentals have been rising in tandem with property prices to further exacerbate the costs of business.

The recent steps to increase various forms of taxes for foreign buyers, PRs buying 2nd properties and citizens buying 3rd properties are in the right direction. Land is limited in Singapore and Singaporeans should have a stake in Singapore, and not just through HDB! The price to pay for such anti-free market moves is of course limiting the potential for Singapore as an investment friendly country. But the price for not doing so is limiting the potential of Singaporeans which would have a long detrimental effect to our country.

Should we look at other measures such as limiting foreigners to buying new properties only (just as in Australia)? Implementing a minimum holding period for foreigners buying properties? Especially those who buy in the prime districts. Implementing a compulsory lower charity tax in lieu of a higher property tax when foreigners sell their properties at a profit (i.e. capital appreciation)?

The Govt should not stop making the Singapore dream achievable to all Singaporeans…as it is the dream of making it as an entrepreneur is already difficult with a small market and big-business-friendly government.  We are not yet a 1% country but many of us are being squeezed by big businesses and big money.

3 Responses to “Singapore Day Dreaming”

  1. XXX December 14, 2011 at 3:02 pm #

    Actually Singapore is already a 1% country, even before the US. We already passed US’s income inequality a few years earlier. But people still clueless, or just take it and tahan. Now you now why MNCs love to setup shop in Singapore, especially the US ones. These foreign companies also get preferential treatment from IRAS, JTC, MTI, EDB. If you know the full range of benefits and programmes that PAP provides them, you will vomit blood.

  2. anon December 14, 2011 at 3:39 pm #

    nah. …singaporeans are no saint. ask any of them whether they will under price their property when selling and they will give you that dirty look.

    here you are telling our gov to make properties achievable…haha…please. It is the people, singaporeans who are making it unachievable and it is the gov that has been making it achievable

    people seriously got it all wrong

  3. Unbranded BreadnButter December 15, 2011 at 10:31 am #

    yes govt has made properties on lease easily available – HDB loh! haha!
    this goes on while in the background many of the private properties in good districts are increasingly out of reach to even Singapore dual income family who have been working hard for the past decade.
    And don’t forget, education is becoming less of a leveling mechanism as a university degree is so common these days it might not even land you a good paying job with a decent life after-working-hours.

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