Monday, September 03, 2012

Affordable housing - top priority

This findings of these three surveys carried out in Facebook ( are quite interesting and should get the attention of our government leaders.

The first survey asked the readers to choose the top priority on a change in government policy from a list of 6 choices. The top choice, which was reduce HDB prices by 30% under a restricted resale policy, attracted 24 out of 55 votes (i.e. 44%). The next higher votes went to the choices to reduce immigration by 80% (14 votes) and to abolish GST (6 votes).  Clearly, the high cost of housing was a top concern.

The second survey asked if there is a concern that the new category of HDB flats could damage the price of existing HDB flats bought at market-linked prices. 19 people participated in this survey. 17 (89%) said that they like the new category of flats and only 2 expressed the concern about the impact on the prices of existing flats.

It is likely that most of the voters were young people that wanted to have more affordable prices. But, the survey is also read by older people who have a chance to vote if they had a concern. Perhaps most of them had only one flat to live in, and it did not matter if the HDB prices does not continue to increase. Maybe, they were thinking of their children.

The third survey asked the readers to choose between the market priced flats, which had the possibility of capital appreciation and the restricted flats sold at a 30% discount. 17 people voted, of which 14 people (82%) chose the restricted flats, which had to be sold back to HDB at its posted prices, which can be adjusted according to inflation and depreciation. This high score for the discounted flats, in spite of its restriction on resale, was quite unexpected.

The findings seemed to be quite conclusive, that there is a strong preference for a new category of restricted flats to be introduced at a more affordable price, say 30% lower than the current price. It is clear that the public prefer to have a lower priced flats and to forego the prospect of further capital gains, apart from the adjustment in line with inflation.

There is a big benefit. If Singaporeans can have access to affordable public housing, and non-citizens cannot, it can also reduce the concern about immigration and the unfair advantage perceived to be held by foreign workers who are willing to accept lower wages as they do not have to pay for the high cost of housing in Singapore (as they usually share a rented room).

I hope that the findings of these three surveys will give the courage to our government leaders to think of this approach, and to carry out a more comprehensive survey among the people. This seem to be the biggest concern and the best topic to be covered under the National Conversation to be chaired by Minister Heng Swee Kiat.

Please participate in this survey. Thank you.


Weng Mao Fa said...

HDB flat is the last finacial resource of all leasee especially who are retiree and sick. The value of flat must maintain.

At Zion Road, my 90yo uncle & 70yo ante received $x00,000 after resettlement. The amount will cover his family expenses for some years.

If the new cat. send down the value, who will feed the sick retiree when they in need of $$.

NTUC might consider to build the restricted flat at cost plus for low income workers. This will minimise the destruction of HDB resale market.

Weng Mao Fa said...

The 75% HDB leasee are already poor, policy maker and consultant must NOT recomend any creative idea to make us very poor in future.

Weng Mao Fa said...

Both workers and union employees have contributed hard earned money to Singapore Labour Foundation in past decades. The government should return such fund to help ex-union members and their family who in need of help.

NTUC can use such fund to buy state land and building blueprint to build Restricted Flat.

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