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Singaporeans Don’t Buy HDB’s Explanation about “Affordable” BTO Flats

The HDB has given an explanation about how Build-To-Order flats are priced, including land and building costs, so that these flats are “affordable” for Singaporeans.

But Singaporeans aren’t buying it.

This comes at a time when BTO flats prices have skyrocketed, and wait times can take up to 7 years.

Many already are not happy with the wait times, with lamenting that with the median age of marriage hovering at around 30 years old, a young couple will only get their BTO flat when they are in their mid to late thirties.

Added to that, with the retrenchment age getting lower and more PMETs getting the sack when they are in their 40s, young Singaporeans wonder how they can afford to continue financing their costly BTO flat purchase.

Loan repayment periods tend to range from 20 to 30 years, and this would mean that couples would have to be financially stable until they reach at least their late 50s.

The HDB says that most Singaporeans spent 25 per cent or less of their monthly income on their mortgage, which has done little to ease frustrations as the perception persists that wages have not increased at the same pace as property prices, resulting in couples digging further into their savings to fund their flat.

Young Singaporeans have also questioned why BTO prices are determined in part by aggregating the resale prices of nearby flats. They believe that this justification does not hold water because of inflationary pressures and the “lottery effect”, and that the HDB must do more to quell profiteering in the resale flat market before pegging BTO prices to these flats.

Factions are calling for a revamp of the public housing market to prioritise truly affordable housing over capital appreciation.

Commenting on Lee Kuan Yew’s televised public declaration that “the value of your HDB flat will never go down”, some have cynically commented that Singapore’s late first prime minister was right for the wrong reasons.

“He must have been referring to sales prices, not value. Those are two different things”.

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