atans1

HDB flat: Dead Capital

In Political economy, Property on 10/11/2017 at 4:39 am

Here I wrote why a good public housing system is good for society quoting the uK’s Conservative party in 1951

Housing is the first of the social services. It is also one of the keys to increased productivity. Work, family life, health and education are all undermined by crowded houses.

I also wrote that in S’pore

things started going wrong when HDB flats on 99-year leases became “assets” to be manipulated for political gain (Think “asset enhancement”). The result: “affordable” public housing now means HDB “owners” having to take out mortgages of 25 years. Not a big problem if one buys a BTO flat from the HDB. After paying off the mortgage, there’s 39 years to go before the value of the flat falls over a cliff.

Here’s another problem: The paid-up HDB flat is an example of Hernando de Soto’s “dead capital” at work.

Hernando de Soto is a big name in development economics. He’s a Peruvian economist known for his work on the informal economy and the importance of business and property rights in development.

While S’pore is a developed economy (notwithstanding what the cybernuts say when they post on TRE or Chris K’s FB page), his idea of dead capital and the problems it causes society applies here too.

If I want a loan – to improve my house, or build a business – lenders need collateral. And land or buildings make particularly good collateral because they tend to increase in value, and it’s hard to hide them from creditors.

But the lender needs to be confident it could take the house away from me if I don’t repay the loan. So, I need to prove that the house really is mine. That requires an invisible web of information that the legal system and the banking system can use.

For Hernando de Soto, this invisible web is the difference between my house being an asset – something useful that I own – and being capital – an asset recognised by the financial system.

‘Dead capital’

In poor countries, a lot of assets are informally held. Hernando de Soto calls them “dead capital”, useless for securing a loan. His estimate was that at the start of the 21st Century there was almost $10tn (£7.5tn) worth of dead capital across the developing world – more than $4,000 (£3,200) for every person.

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-41650606

We are not a poor country, but we got a lot of dead capital because paid-up HDB flats cannot be used as collateral for a bank loan or any other loan.

Question: My HDB property is fully paid up. Can i remortgage/refinance my HDB flat back to the banks for a loan?

Nope. Government rulings prohibit the remortgaging/refinancing of your fully-paid HDB flat for any additional new cash out loans.

http://www.mortgagesupermart.com.sg/resources/frequently-asked-questions

And the PAP administration KPKBs about the need to create an entrepreneurial, risk taking society? Entrepreneurs need funding and banks and other financial institutions need collateral when making risky loans. And property is the best collateral. No collateral, no funding.

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