How PAP turned HDB into a pseudo private scheme which disadvantages Singaporeans

The attached diagram is known in the real estate industry as “Bala’s Table” after the Land Office employee who created it in the late 1940’s. It is used to convert freehold values to leasehold values depending on the remaining lease on a leasehold property. Among other things the government uses it for valuing HDB properties under its lease buy back scheme.

There is no ambiguity in this graph, it starts at around 96% of Freehold value and decays to zero at the end of the tenure. Given this has been widely known and used for the entire time the PAP has been the government how did they ever think the claim that your HDB will “always go up in value” could hold true indefinitely despite all their best efforts to inflate the prices over the last 2 decades?

In the early years HDB’s were only rented and then, when purchasable, were priced based on the costs of construction plus a small premium but not beyond the affordability of a household earning $800 a month or less. In addition, before 1971 you could only sell you HDB back to the government which paid you based on the amount of lease remaining plus any modifications you may have made but less than what you originally paid. A secondary market was created in the early 1970’s but tightly managed all the way in to the 1990’s during which time HDB’s were very much built to a supply side policy to keep them available and affordable.

However, from the mid 1990’s everything changed, HDB building became demand led, building was reduced to a trickle for nearly 10 years and then became the BTO model we have today. New builds were priced much higher than before and many regulations were changed to make more people eligible to purchase them.

To support the inevitably higher prices, especially in the secondary market, the use of CPF was liberalised and the practise of giving grants was introduced. While all these policies were put in place the government started selling the idea of public housing as a private asset and telling you it was your share of the nation’s growth that would always gain value.

On a side note here: the government acquired the land involved at far below market rates, in fact it was not until 2007 that it started to pay the current market valuation of private property instead of using a historical date many years prior, but by then it owned more than 80% of the land anyway. However, when the government used and still uses the underlying land price in its calculations for land transfers between SLA and HDB and applies them to your HDB price calculation it does so at full current market value regardless of the actual acquisition cost in question.

So, it bought the land under what was in effect a socialist policy to gain permanent control of a national resource at minimum price from Singaporeans but is now using a capitalist policy to temporarily lease it back to you for a profit from the same Singaporeans. In fact, everything around HDB is being moved in to this capitalist profit making realm as the Building & Development Division of HDB was recently corporatized to form HDB Corporation Pte. Ltd which was later renamed Surbana Corporation Pte. Ltd headquartered at the old HDB hub in Bukit Merah which has been rebranded Surbana One.

Now, regarding land value and the argument between public and private leasehold. when you buy private leasehold you gain strata title to the land the building sits on and it is the increase in value of this land that developers factor in when they do their economic calculations during an En Bloc and allows for the windfall associated with such sales. This offsets the decay in the lease over time but is not an option in the public HDB space as the actual HDB block and the land on which it sits is always owned by the HDB. Most will decay to zero as Minister Lawrence Wong was finally forced to tell us in 2017 and any increase HDB may wish to give you for the 4% or so of homes under their SERs and the new VERS scheme when it comes in to play are entirely up to them and discounted because it is a public scheme and not a full free market.

International norms for the ratio of home prices to median household income put affordability at a value of less than 3 times. Since the government moved to the current capitalist HDB model our ratio has ranged between 4 up to 5.5 and currently sits in the 4.5 region which is regarded as between unaffordable and seriously unaffordable.

So from having a good social public housing scheme the PAP has turned it in to a pseudo private scheme where, aside from the few who bought during the early years, almost all the economic gains go to them, it is now seriously unaffordable without propping up by government grants, the values are finally falling despite their best efforts to fight economic reality and even worse, several generations of the nation’s retirement planning has been sucked in to it by false promises which is leading to the next consequence, inadequate retirement funding and the ageing poor.

There is value in an HDB, but the question is what is the value? and what is the true nature of the transaction? Providing rental or leased public housing at a fair price based on the underlying costs with some intervention for those on the lowest income rungs is a way forward, pretending that it is an asset that will always go up and milking the people for everything possible including their retirement savings is not.

The last 2 decades of the PAP government have sort to privatise and monetise everything, with HDB just being one part of this terrible neo liberal thinking and policy making. We are now all suffering under the weight of a system that draws all the wealth of the nation into the hands of a few and if we don’t arrest this trend soon finding a way back may become near impossible.

With a chance to make some serious changes in the coming election we should all be looking long and hard at the policies we have seen, the results we are feeling, and who is really to blame for our situation in contrast to what we are constantly told about how the PAP is always working for us and it is our own inadequacies or greed that leads to any problems.

Brad Bowyer

 

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31 Responses to “How PAP turned HDB into a pseudo private scheme which disadvantages Singaporeans”

  • oxygen:

    HDB AND RETIREES SHARE the same coffin – both will “rest in peace” inside after the next GE.

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  • patriot of TUMASIK:

    A Bastard who “Live” in luxury and “Evil” (note the words are reversible)…

    said: “what is wrong with collecting more MONEY”…” a White Hose of Pedigree will sire a grey at worse”…”Lower mortals will breed a pool of Idiots” emphasis are mine, meaning Belong to the Bastard…

    When Living in luxury with Evil in purpose…the poor and less privileged are a Torn and Irritation in his sight

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  • patriot of TUMASIK:

    Brad, Stay the Course, Patriots and TruBlus I believe are right behind you…like the locals would say “Pak See Bo Chow”

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  • ceca ah nehs and pinoys:

    pap Lj says S$1,000 pm wage can HDB.

    at the same time, the same pap clan says CPF retained sum for RA scheme needs to increase year by year, at the moment almost S$200k.

    we wonder where the pap Ljs and pap Cbs learn their mathematics.

    at S$1,000 wage pm and CPF RA min sum at S$200k, where the ffff is the wage earner going to achieve both?

    after all publuc housing should remain as public housing since land for the public good has been acquired at cheap lelong prices by pap.

    that pap thinks HDB is money making machine for pap is the source of the downfall for pap, sooner or later.

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  • Evil, Greedy And Corrupt:

    Despite acquiring the land at Rock bottom price long ago, pegged to an artificially low rate for many years,
    the high cost of land is valued at current market rate and factored into the selling price of HDB, claiming that HDB buyers are “home owners”.

    With the recent policy shift, the value of the land that HDB buyers paid handsomely for, including the payment for upkeeping the estate, suddenly disappeared as the “lease” comes to an end.
    HDB buyers should be compensated for the portion that they paid for as “owners”.
    This is only fair and reasonable.

    Sinkies should not allow the greedy pigs to tweak, cherry pick and interpret the law as they like, to rip off hardworking citizens, who are forced to pay like owners but not compensated as such.

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  • TL Tan:

    Mr Bowyer,
    You almost got yourself into trouble and had to remove your post regarding Temasek and GIC. You have very little to no credibility left. Most Singaporeans do not believe what you say. The fact of the matter is HDB provides a roof over our heads. It is not for speculation and we can leave it to our children after we pass away. We can also cash out of the HDB at the later years of our lives through the lease buy-back scheme. People understand the land has to be returned to the government upon expiry of the 99-year lease. You really should watch what you say before you land in further trouble. And please, this is not even an election issue as Singaporeans have other concerns.

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  • HDB the CPF Capital Reservoir:

    Pseudopap & its Si Gui Kia Syndrome

    Its a frankly freakish fraternity: Them Sinchiapor Inc. Elitists among backward 3rd-World Crony-Capitalist regimes.

    And poor old Singaporean settlers as Economic Digits in Existentialist Serfdom, striving for altogether different Key Performance Indicator standards of Incorruptibility.

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  • Greedy But Stupid:

    Ask those greedy HDB dwellers to go stay HK. Want to eat your cake and have it?
    Buay song then WORK HARDER and buy private. This is the universal rule of law of equality. Want free lunch??? PUI! PUI! PUI!!!!

    TL Tan:
    Mr Bowyer,
    You almost got yourself into trouble and had to remove your post regarding Temasek and GIC. You have very little to no credibility left. Most Singaporeans do not believe what you say. The fact of the matter is HDB provides a roof over our heads. It is not for speculation and we can leave it to our children after we pass away. We can also cash out of the HDB at the later years of our lives through the lease buy-back scheme. People understand the land has to be returned to the government upon expiry of the 99-year lease. You really should watch what you say before you land in further trouble. And please, this is not even an election issue as Singaporeans have other concerns.

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  • "value will never fall":

    //Most Singaporeans do not believe what you say.//

    //We can also cash out of the HDB at the later years of our lives through the lease buy-back scheme.//

    yar lor. and the take up rate is low lor after so many years ?

    https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/3-100-households-have-taken-up-lease-buyback-scheme-mostly-3-10775596

    //People understand the land has to be returned to the government upon expiry of the 99-year lease.//

    of course, many people understand now after the sad truth lar ?

    I thought many did not understand in the past because of “value will never fall” & “asset enhancement” bs story by the white monkey idiots and gang defying the direct opposite of reducing value as time goes by due to lease decay.

    you see white idiots can get away with it hor as past market might have overpriced such “value will never fall” units due to such bs stories lar ?

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  • oxygen:

    Greedy But Stupid

    EXACTLY RIGHT of caveman/cavewoman mentality. Buying property is just buying a bond proxy EXCEPT BIGGER RISKS in private than HDB.

    Economic cycle, by definition, is rotational of up cycle and down cycle – just like sunrise and sunset.

    When the down cycle comes, MAKE SURE, your income funding source, don’t disappeared because your property baby is a heavier load of burden to sustain through the bad times than HDB.

    Greedy But Stupid: Ask those greedy HDB dwellers to go stay HK. Want to eat your cake and have it?
    Buay song then WORK HARDER and buy private. This is the universal rule of law of equality. Want free lunch??? PUI! PUI! PUI!!!!

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  • Greedy But Stupid:

    Don’t believe in buy now pay later for anything. Can’t afford, I will live a humbly, frugally.

    oxygen:
    Greedy But Stupid

    EXACTLY RIGHT of caveman/cavewoman mentality. Buying property is just buying a bond proxy EXCEPT BIGGER RISKS in private than HDB.

    Economic cycle, by definition, is rotational of up cycle and down cycle – just like sunrise and sunset.

    When the down cycle comes, MAKE SURE, your income funding source, don’t disappeared because your property baby is a heavier load of burden to sustain through the bad times than HDB.

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  • HDB is Cosmetic Usury?:

    Sounds like nightmare on Elm Street but Freddy monster lurks in the corridors of cabinet. Bad old-fashioned USURY given a uniquely LKY makeover… an asset you never own but may play along in the Corporation’s usurious scheme to suck dry your retirement money. It’s just cold-blooded applied mathematics upon man conceived as economic entities by the master class.

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  • opposition dude:

    We are all familiar with the so called asset enhancement conjured up by PAP to fool the dafts and boy oh boy, did it work real well!

    All are greedy for $$$$ and the dafts are no exception. Everything PAP said about their flats going up in value must be true simply because PAP said so. And after the easing of CPF rules to buy the older than old 40 year old flats we have read of a report of 2 that there are buyers ha ha ha!

    ure these older than 40 years old flats have a high value depending on whether they are 3, 4 or 5 room flats but I don’t see a whole flock of buyers buying these flats in droves for sure. And with more old flats joining this group on a yearly basis it will make for an exciting show when the oldest Toa Payoh flats hit 60 years in under a decade. PAP did talk up HIP2 didn’t they? HA HA HA HA HA!

    As if a PR project is suddenly going to increase the prices of these old flats to the values they were at before they turned 40 years old? Who doesn’t know that people aren’t buying old flats due to their age? Do you think a flat that is 40 years old but hasn’t undergone HIP2 has more value than a 60 year old flat that has been HIP2?

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  • Spermer:

    The baby boomers never really understood Depreciation. Even a 5 year old understands.

    World Class education!

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  • Dumb 70%:

    Even if the PAP told them that they successfully landed a space shuttle on the surface of the sun , the 70% will believe it.

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  • Governance Deficit:

    A Big Failure is not apparent to the If ignorant. They will perceive Everything is done right and perfect. Finally, when they realise the failure, it’s too late already.

    Even Yeoh Lam Keong took so long to speak up about the flawed policies . I think he was ignorant all the 20 ODD years serving in Gic

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  • Harder Truths:

    Mr Bowyer – there are a lot of pappy trolls lately who are panicking because of what you say. Stay the course – there is nothing that can replace the truth. Good job and good luck. You have more supporters than you realise.

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  • Even Harder Truth:

    Harder Truths:
    Mr Bowyer – there are a lot of pappy trolls lately who are panicking because of what you say. Stay the course – there is nothing that can replace the truth. Good job and good luck. You have more supporters than you realise.

    What he says is what an opposition will say to get elected. Once elected, his livelihood for the next 5 years is secured. What do you get? A voice in Parliament? GET REAL!!!Just making use of your naivety. That’s is the real HARD TRUTH!!!

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  • believe pap die fast faster:

    Harder Truths:
    Mr Bowyer – there are a lot of pappy trolls lately who are panicking because of what you say. Stay the course – there is nothing that can replace the truth. Good job and good luck. You have more supporters than you realise.

    well said, bro. agree.

    pap abuses taxpayer money for political purposes via pap PA. when questioned conveniently says approved by pliant pap parleement. when heart of hearts they know they are nothing but a bunch of self serving thieving politicians abusing a pliant pap parleement for political advantage.

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  • oxygen:

    @ Greedy But Stupid

    AFFORDABILITY in housing is a FICKLE ANIMAL. KONG HEE bought his luxurious cave in Sentosa and lost his pants there – beyond his personal entanglement.

    But he is not the only one. A lot of buyers in Sentosa Cove also got burnt.

    Greedy But Stupid: Don’t believe in buy now pay later for anything. Can’t afford, I will live a humbly, frugally.

    which is why me thinks this is misjudgment of contempt for HDB dwellers.

    Greedy But Stupid: Ask those greedy HDB dwellers to go stay HK. Want to eat your cake and have it?
    Buay song then WORK HARDER and buy private. This is the universal rule of law of equality. Want free lunch??? PUI! PUI! PUI!!!!

    If you do your financial maths, you will come to the correct easy conclusion that you make very little if you bought a private property for $2 million and sold it for $4 million 18 years later.

    Your gross yield is 4% capital gain. What about your mortgage interest costs of 2% to 2.5% conservatively in the same period?

    Your net gain is 1% to 1.5% – not much dissimilar to buying a long term bond.

    But your risks is another Hyflux death or Lehman Brother bonds.

    So that little not-so-clever JP Morgan boy swearing at security guard of his $x.xx million zoological habitat, not HDB, was a huge embarrassment of bucket of his own excrement on his own head for all to see and laugh.

    PAPpypolitics asset enhancement politics is a ROTTEN SCAM – transferring wealth from the masses of poor to the rich and fabricate a huge bubble economy of asset bubble unsustainable.

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  • oxygen:

    @ TL Tan

    Truths have many faces and interpretation, but yours below is your usual facile fart of fiction.

    TL Tan: Mr Bowyer,
    You almost got yourself into trouble and had to remove your post regarding Temasek and GIC. You have very little to no credibility left. Most Singaporeans do not believe what you say. The fact of the matter is HDB provides a roof over our heads. It is not for speculation and we can leave it to our children after we pass away. We can also cash out of the HDB at the later years of our lives through the lease buy-back scheme. People understand the land has to be returned to the government upon expiry of the 99-year lease. You really should watch what you say before you land in further trouble. And please, this is not even an election issue as Singaporeans have other concerns.

    Brad Bowyer can see a lot of things you can’t see or disingenuous of selective attention or inattention.

    Mr. Bowyer is like a lamp post that shines light in the areas of darkest lies told to the public mind.

    That is why I agree with despite Mr. Bowyer is not an accountant.

    Harder Truths: Mr Bowyer – there are a lot of pappy trolls lately who are panicking because of what you say. Stay the course – there is nothing that can replace the truth. Good job and good luck. You have more supporters than you realise.

    Vietnam war incursion into Cambodia to kick out the barbaric Khmer Rouge was called invasion by PAPpypolitics and its publishing but the Cambodians of first hand experience and encounter (the party in the know) calls it LIBERATION.

    POFMA law SAYS WHO IS THE “liar”?

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  • have been having too good:

    // there are a lot of pappy trolls lately who are panicking because of what you say.//

    aiyoh. why should these pesky little white idiots be panicky ? surely all these intelligent good-for-nothing know that their white idiotic gang have been having too good all this while under 151th media environment; and that it is only right that the people (the nation) gets to know the wayang that the white idiots have been dispensing ?

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  • many rounds of 5 years secured:

    //Once elected, his livelihood for the next 5 years is secured. What do you get? A voice in Parliament?//

    aiyoh. are you referring to the white idiots and gang ? for the white idiots, how many rounds of 5 years secured already ? and do average daft sinkies get a voice (well someone did openly mention about aristocrats right) ?

    yes, daft sinkies do get a voice in 4 = 5 and selected = elected ?

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  • Greedy But Stupid:

    oxygen:
    @ Greedy But Stupid

    AFFORDABILITY in housing is a FICKLE ANIMAL. KONG HEE bought his luxurious cave in Sentosa and lost his pants there – beyond his personal entanglement.

    But he is not the only one. A lot of buyers in Sentosa Cove also got burnt.

    which is why me thinks this is misjudgment of contempt for HDB dwellers.

    If you do your financial maths, you will come to the correct easy conclusion that you make very little if you bought a private property for $2 million and sold it for $4 million 18 years later.

    Your gross yield is 4% capital gain. What about your mortgage interest costs of 2% to 2.5% conservatively in the same period?

    Your net gain is 1% to 1.5% – not much dissimilar to buying a long term bond.

    But your risks is another Hyflux death or Lehman Brother bonds.

    So that little not-so-clever JP Morgan boy swearing at security guard of his $x.xx million zoological habitat, not HDB, was a huge embarrassment of bucket of his own excrement on his own head for all to see and laugh.

    PAPpypolitics asset enhancement politics is a ROTTEN SCAM – transferring wealth from the masses of poor to the rich and fabricate a huge bubble economy of asset bubble unsustainable.

    Bro, that’s what happens when one is greedy and bought with intentions to earn profits. To me ‘home is sweet home’ regardless of whether its’ monetary values. Just thankful for it.

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  • oxygen:

    @ Greedy But Stupid

    THANKS FOR SHARING, at least we are on same page of not succumbing to the silly Sinkie obsession of buying property to ‘EARN PROFITS”

    IT IS STUPID TO RIDICULOUS.

    Greedy But Stupid: Bro, that’s what happens when one is greedy and bought with intentions to earn profits. To me ‘home is sweet home’ regardless of whether its’ monetary values. Just thankful for it.

    I never buy bonds either – the higher the bond yields, the more dangerous is the gamble. Me like shares (except property) because I am buying into productive capacity to earn growing business profits from enterprise.

    I believe in this – if your life is lucky, you die on the bed you usually sleeps on peacefully at home. So nobody needs two homes and two beds or more. If you are unlucky, you die anonymously in hospital, hotel or in an accident spot or walk silently into a forest to never return in suicide.

    Property-mad Sinkies are crazy lot – greedy but stupid.

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  • Greedy But Stupid:

    oxygen: I believe in this – if your life is lucky, you die on the bed you usually sleeps on peacefully at home. So nobody needs two homes and two beds or more. If you are unlucky, you die anonymously in hospital, hotel or in an accident spot or walk silently into a forest to never return in suicide.

    One never can tell. One never can tell. Even if you gain the whole world and God meant to take your life now, your next breath is your last.

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  • Art of Deception:

    many rounds of 5 years secured:
    //Once elected, his livelihood for the next 5 years is secured. What do you get? A voice in Parliament?//

    aiyoh. are you referring to the white idiots and gang ? for the white idiots, how many rounds of 5 years secured already ? and do average daft sinkies get a voice (well someone did openly mention about aristocrats right) ?

    yes, daft sinkies do get a voice in 4 = 5 and selected = elected ?

    “aiyoh. are you referring to the white idiots and gang ? for the white idiots, how many rounds of 5 years secured already ?”

    Nope. I am referring to “those idiots” who give them the mandate of the “many rounds of 5 years secured” Why complain? You get the Govt. you deserved!

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  • oxygen:

    @ Greedy But Stupid

    IF YOU ARE LUCKY, at whatever moment mortality ending comes, you are lucky if you die on the bed you usually sleeps on, AND UNLUCKY IF YOU LEAVE US SOMEWHERE ELSE.

    Greedy But Stupid: One never can tell. One never can tell. Even if you gain the whole world and God meant to take your life now, your next breath is your last.

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  • oxygen:

    @ Greedy But Stupid

    EVEN DEVELOPERS IN LEE-jiapore know it – this time SI LIAO.

    Singapore developers warn new apartment glut could crash prices

    https://www.afr.com/property/residential/singapore-developers-warn-new-apartment-glut-could-crash-prices-20191203-p53ggz

    Civil servants got their worst bonus payout in a decade. Ah Seng warned of “the economic performance this year has been weak, and the economic outlook remains uncertain and challenging with downside risks.”

    Public Service to ‘exercise restraint’ for year-end bonus payment, which will be lowest in a decade

    https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/most-civil-servants-receive-01-month-year-end-bonus-amid-economic-uncertainties

    And yes, Greedy But Stupid Sinkies will buying private property looking to “earn profits” IN THEIR FAIRY TALE DREAMS, MOSTLY.

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  • Greedy But Stupid:

    oxygen: EVEN DEVELOPERS IN LEE-jiapore know it – this time SI LIAO.

    Singapore developers warn new apartment glut could crash pricesAnd yes, Greedy But Stupid Sinkies will buying private property looking to “earn profits” IN THEIR FAIRY TALE DREAMS, MOSTLY.

    @oxygen

    Here to substantiate your claims:

    https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/business/more-than-30-en-bloc-bids-fail-to-find-buyers-cooling-measures-11035028

    https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/housing-loan-cashback-scam-property-sellers-agents-charged-12145650

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  • oxygen:

    @ Greedy But Stupid

    Here is more update.

    Greedy But Stupid: @oxygen

    Here to substantiate your claims:

    from Andy Mukherjee, Bloomberg News.

    Andy Mukherjee, Bloomberg :In July 2018, the city-state imposed additional buyers’ stamp duties and tighter loan-to-value norms to break up the frenzy of en-bloc sales, in which owners of apartments take cash from builders to vacate, permitting redevelopment. Just the previous year, $6.4 billion of such deals took place, the most since 2007.
    As planners had feared, all those bulldozed older buildings are now making way for gleaming new condominiums. The catch is, there are few buyers……..Currently, overseas buyers’ participation is subdued at 5%-7% of transactions, compared with a peak rate of nearly 20% in 2011

    Singapore Keeps Building Until the Buyers Come

    https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-12-05/singapore-property-glut-needs-foreign-buyers-to-return

    BUT IF THEY ALLOW IN FOREIGNERS TO COME IN to buy up the excess of en bloc redevelopment otherwise vacant AND FILL PMET ROLES, MORE UNEMPLOYMENT AMONG SINKIE WILL ENSUE, more private condos will flood the market BUT NO ESCAPE because new buyers won’t buy old condos since they are spoilt for choices in an oversupplied market.

    Buy-property-vote-PAPys is a stupid suicide formula of Greedy But Stupid crowd.

    ASSET ENHANCEMENT POLITICS IS A SCAM TRANSFERRING WEALTH FROM THE POOR TO A VERY FEW LUCKY RICH GAMBLING THE PROPERTY BUBBLE.

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