Friday, April 08, 2016

Housing Options for the Poor

In the recent Budget debate in parliament, some points were raised by MPs with regards to those who face financial difficulties due to various reasons, how would HDB helps them through this difficult time.

On the aspect of "poor“ who cannot pay their mortgage, the Minister of State of Ministry of National Development said that they could sell off their HDB flats and rent. He also opined that HDB is not a bank and it could not help in financing their flats.

First of all, I wonder if HDB could really provide a rental flat for any Singaporean caught in such a situation. HDB has rented out flats for foreign workers via intermediary but if you want to rent any flats from HDB, either you have to wait very long or that you will have to pay much higher price by renting though this intermediary company.

Secondly, such problem could have been avoided if PAP ministers have stopped boasting and encouraging low income earners to buy HDB flats! PAP Ministers have been boasting  about those family household with $1000 income could buy an HDB flat and PAP government is reluctant to rent out flats basically because they want to maintain a high "HDB ownership" for Singaporeans, regardless of the realistic challenges that some of the low income household might face.

Low income earners are mostly from the vulnerable group of people. In Singapore, we do not have minimum wage and naturally, exploitations of such vulnerable group do exist. On top of that, they are vulnerable to job insecurity and most of the time, ended up with odd jobs or basically face steep competition from the influx of cheap foreign labour.

In my opinion, they should not be encouraged or subtly coerced into committing their unstable income to buy HDB flats. They would be better off renting HDB flats instead. The government could in fact help them out more directly if they are living in rental flats.Asking them to sell off their flat when the economy is bad (as this is when they lose their job) will actually make them lose more money. They might even face difficulties in selling off their flat during economic downturn!

Thus, the problem lies RIGHT AT THE INSTANCE when PAP Ministers insist that these people with low household income of $1000 could afford to buy HDB flat and the HDB policy tends to coerce or encourage them to do so during good times, without understanding their vulnerabilities during economic down turn.

In short, PAP Ministers have in fact, unwittingly created this mess of encouraging the vulnerable group to buy HDB whereby putting them in facing a tremendous risk of forced closure later. They should stop doing that, just for their own ego.

I seriously hope that HDB will have enough rental flats to help this group of low income earners else, HDB may have to reverse its flawed policy options by buying back from these low income earners at reasonable prices and then rent it out to them instead. This would be the only practical thing to do now.

Goh Meng Seng


Anonymous said...

Mr Goh, your article summarised the exploitation of low wage earners, whether paying rent or flat installment is immaterial, when the low wage earners losses their job they will be left homeless either way.

Anonymous said...

When HDB & PAP ministers say sell your flat & rent, they are talking about renting from the open market, NOT renting a subsidised rental flat from HDB. HDB still has this rule which says that you cannot even apply for direct HDB rental flat within 2.5 years of selling your HDB or private property.

The problem for low-income is that they have very little equity in their HDB flats in the first place i.e. they still have very large mortgages, such that almost all of the selling price will need to be used up to repay the housing loan.

So these low-income will end up with no flat, little money leftover from selling their HDB flat, and being forced to rent from open market which is expensive. The cheapest today is still $550-$600 for a common bedroom in a not so convenient estate. If you have a family of 5, how to squeeze into 1 common room? 99.99% of landlords will also not approve of so many tenants staying (& messing up) in 1 bedroom.

Anyway HDB rental regulations also have guideline of maximum 3 people per bedroom, if you're renting out your HDB flat.

So at the end of the day, practically no landlord will be willing to rent out to these low-income families in the open market.

That's why you see many of such families end up camping at Changi Beach, Sembawang Park, etc etc.

PAP ministers & HDB can save time by simply saying "You die is your own business".

Anonymous said...

It's not realistic to expect that there are no low income families who end up camping at Changi Beach, Sembawang Park, etc etc. These are a minority, or rather a minority of low income families.

70% have a flat or can rent one to live in. That's why they are happy to vote for PAP last election.

Anonymous said...

They're not happy ... they're just daft. Like LKY said ... trained to be obedient dogs.

Anonymous said...

The early concept of executive condo was first introduced initially for those people who aimed high to live in a private property.

First and foremost the land were sold to private developers. Add in the cost of land and the profit of the developers which was than pass to the buyers.

Exec condo is still function under HDB.

Would it be fair to say that the winner is the government as they got the money from the land sales , the buyer bought high plus plus and the developers had to take the responsibility to the buyers.

So the housing market face massive challenges to cool the market?

Anonymous said...

In college we were taught that in every policies there are always 2 sides to an argument.
However some of our ministers have only one line argument " Property price still too high" that is after they sold lands!
If this is the best answer they can come up with than the country is in deep sheet!

Anonymous said...

We don't have to be too hard on ourselves on all the complexities. Its up to us to free ourselves from it.


Housing policies are like a cardboard game of "SNAKES & LADDERS". Only thing here are the snakes just cannot move the goal-post as and when they like. So how come we don't hear about the ministries downsizing its staffs when property activities are at tortoise speed. Wasting tax-payers money. Its only OK that the people in the related industry are downsizing especially couples both in similar industry.

Anonymous said...

Nothing is more dangerous than an idea, when it's the only one we have.

- Alain

Anonymous said...

Last time HUDC built by the old PAP.

Anonymous said...

We concentrated on wealth
creation, not re-distribution. We rewarded excellence more than mediocrity. We
encouraged personal savings and family asset enhancement, not spending on
collective subsidies and welfare. The result has been high growth, low inflation,
no budget deficit, no public debt, high savings, high investments, family asset
enhancement and a strong Singapore dollar. Every Singapore family is worth
more with each passing year. LKY 1995 speech.

Anonymous said...

There are 3 things in life that you should never mess with a man. 1. His family 2. His home 3. His money. Be prepared to be super loathe and if and one have itchy mouths and hands mess with their very own ...........

Anonymous said...

Making the complicated simple, that's creativity.

Anonymous said...

Under any illusions property price will down?
Latest land sales still up.
Development Charges up[ X a few hundreds million X the amount of sites]

Buyers and developers and owners are in unfavorable standings.
The ogres who stood to gain everything with no risk in their iron-fisted laws and polluting themselves collecting huge sums of millions from the COOLING MEASURES.

Save it for the fools Mister. Even a child can do better. Suffering from those splitting headaches.

Anonymous said...

: February is very special, in February there is a small, early spring, New Year's

Eve, Spring Festival, Valentine's Day, rain, Lantern Festival According to a Hong

Kong feng shui master said: February next year will not be in our lives One time.

Because there are four Sundays, four Mondays, four Tuesdays, four Wednesdays, four

Thursdays, four Fridays and four Saturdays in February next year. This will only

occur once every 823 years. This is called a purse. So to share five or five

groups, the money will be four days from heaven. According to Chinese feng shui,

in the 11 minutes to share.

Anonymous said...

When businesses slows demoralisation starts creeping in making it difficult to keep people inspired to provide a good day.

Anonymous said...

White but grey matters tunnel vision.

Anonymous said...

We live in concrete lego sets. Dismal that one can even hear foot-steps and chairs dragging from the unit above. Piano playing can even be heard from next door. Unbelievable.

Anonymous said...

Good evening,

a)Leaders who really are good men and women with integrity and good characters.

b)that the rest of normal mortals are ok to live with Leaders who do not have big hearts and brains.

c)that we are all guided by the compass.

d)surely when attempting to manage the vagaries the property market the persons so tasked cannot constantly rely on scientific or computer models.

e)to solve this conundrum we may need Albert Einstein(it seemed we do not have qualified people with the ability to do so) to come up with some unique freedom to establish the 1) do not kill the property market 2)perhaps at the same breath be it perfectly legitimate to keep prices stable.

f)leaders should not just carry the exercise of changing locks to every opportune all ..............................................

Anonymous said...

The newest& latest housing has been serviced with modernize bells & whistles. It gives one an escape with the headaches free from maintenance being new. Downside, its not suitable for people who suffers from claustrophobia.

Anonymous said...

Luv the Country? ( yes )

Luv Money ? (yes )

Luv Power ? (yes )

Luv Ego ?(yes )

Luv infrastructure ? ( yes )

Luv to be always right ?(yes )

Luv to be white with integrity ?(yes )

Luv the people ? ( )

Anonymous said...

Everything done in moderation is healthy. Smart people will be able to pre-empt measures rather than react after all when it happened. The ability to foretell is a great gift. It is not something that cannot be acquired. Absurdly captivating only to listen to the two Special Lees. Their strength and charisma carries it as a page-turner.

Anonymous said...

If the government truly does feel so strongly about affordable public housing, as we assume they do, it might be helpful if the ‘powers to be’ would establish a more equitable balance between the government funds allocated for the many infrastructure projects , and those allocated for public housing. When it comes down to the allocation of these funds surely public housing should be given priority over the mentioned infrastructure projects which surely do not need to be provided simultaneously .
At the end of the day a truly affordable home is the absolute necessity of every Singaporean, their own personal private place to return to at the end of an increasingly stressful school or work day.

Nicole Kath Wong said...

With regard to the private property market, and in hindsight which is a truly wonderful thing, the days of 100% mortgages helped to give birth to property speculators who in turn caused a flood of panic buyers into the secondary market which sent property prices literally sky rocketing.

Executive condominiums (EC) were then introduced with a view to providing an alternative for those Singaporeans, who aspired to live in private property, however due to the endless rules, regulations and restrictions associated with ECs they are neither private nor public housing just some form of hybrid?

EC hopefully can help those overcome by obsessive compulsive jealousy rage who just cannot stand others being better off than them by owning private properties.

Ministers propagate that BTO are affordable with grants.

Anonymous said...

Speaking the truth, can that be called harassment or not hah ?

Anonymous said...

It depends. Off course one cannot say Nah Jeep bombed the plane into fragments maybe
b'cause pilot friend with Ann Wah. At that time can take away the topic of prisen away from press. It surer harassment or worsest defamation.

[Speaking the truth, can that be called harassment or not hah ?]

Anonymous said...

The people's sacrifices will not be in vain.