S’poreans got money meh?

In Economy, Political economy on 06/01/2012 at 7:15 am

The SDP, KennethJ, Lina Chiam and many regular contributors to TOC and TR are forever harping that standards of living for the majority of S’poreans have dropped since the 1990s. I take these comments with a large pinch of salt, even though I am an agnostic when it came to the claims of the PAP and government that living standards had improved throughout the noughties. (What am I supposed to think when the CEO of HDB tells me that shrinking flats means a higher standard of living for occupants? Yes I am misquoting but not that blatant leh.) 

They would say that wouldn’t they?

Still I was surprised yesterday evening when catching up with the local propoganda sheets, I read, While Singapore has 900,000 HDB flats and 557,000 car park lots  [or 619 for every 1000 flats by my calculations], Mr Khaw noted the problem of car park shortages was mostly felt in older HDB estates, which were built under old car park provision norms. In estates with four-room flats for example, 560 car park lots were planned for every 1,000 flats.

“This was adequate in the past but not any more. More Singaporeans now own cars and some own more than one car,” said Mr Khaw, who noted that 5 per cent of HDB households own two or more cars. The equivalent norm now is 710 car park lots for every 1,000 flats. With these new norms, Mr Khaw assured that new HDB flats would come with adequate car parks. Today on 24 December.

This means that despite rising public housing prices and COE prices, more HDB dwellers (remember over 80% of S’poreans live in HDB flats) are owning cars than ever before.

Of course, this could be another Khawism like his S$8 heart operation.

Assuming, Khaw was not fibbing about the numbers, will the SDP, KennethJ, Lina Chiam or the many regular contributors to TOC and TR Emeritus who are forever harping that standards of living for the majority of S’poreans have fallen, explain how come so many ordinary S’poreans are rich enough to own cars (some even two) despite rising COE and HDB prices?

Does this have anything to do with the easy availability of credit? And if so, is it good or bad for S’pore?

Maybe the 60% of voters who voted PAP are not deft? And one LKY is right to wonder why 40% of the voters are not gtrateful to him and the PAP.

Come on PAP critics. The silence is deafening.

  1. It is a fine distinction, but yes, at the end of the day, you can say its due to easy credit? I was surprised by the amount of credit available to people earning, say, $3.5K and above per month? The average newly wed household in past decade is now liable for loans for their HDB flat to a tune between 600K (if you bought a flat when the boom was coming) to 1M (most recent prices) if you take into account interest.

    What’s another $50K ~ $100K to get a new car?

    BTW, I’m not even looking at the more shady loans made out by the newer financial institutions (read legalized “ah longs”) to people who can’t really afford them. Of course, SG is not as advanced since we don’t have those micro-credit banks which masquerade as charitable foundations.

  2. they cld hv bought e cars during 06-09 and the flats earlier. Remember E govt is reacting to old/current problems, not preventing future issues from cropping up.

  3. I see a lot of commercial vehicles (vans, light trucks etc) being parked at HDB carparks (with season parking labels). Sometimes companies allow employees use of the vehicles (esp when a group of FWs are staying together in a flat) While I agree easy credit is also a factor, all the cars in the carparks may not be owned by the residents themselves.

  4. With almost 0 interest from the banks, who wants to save? We all are living like there’s no tomorrow lol.

  5. This can be explained by the GINI index. You can also use the rising percentage of yacht ownership to claim that Singaporeans are getting richer. But anyone using your logic can also claim that that Singaporeans are getting poorer based on the delinquent HDB payments or the percentage of retirement age people still working (cleaning tables at hawker centers.) I assume that you belong to the top earner group and are blind to the pain of the bottom earners.

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