In a media interview with radio 938live, the CEO of real estate agency Propnex Mohd Ismail want HDB public housing prices to keep increasing like private properties. The multi-millionaire claimed that poor people are getting poorer because HDB prices are not keeping pace with inflation, and that Singaporeans will not be able to retire by downgrading when they get old.
“Yes, it is a home, but the investment angle comes from the perspective that it must be appreciating in a reasonable way, because at the end of the day that is your biggest asset at your retirement. You cannot have public housing that, after 20 years, has not even kept pace with inflation. For most of us, the bulk of our commitment is in subsidised public housing. Do you want this asset to be of zero value after 20 years, versus your friend who could afford to buy a private property that appreciates? Why should the poor become poorer? People shouldn’t speculate, but the product that we buy should keep pace with inflation, with growth, such that you can have options for yourself, when you want to retire, downgrade, so there is a safety net.”
As a real estate agent, the higher the property prices the more commission real estate agents like Mohd Ismail gains. Housing prices in Singapore are however not affordable to the middle class and poor, who have been priced out by exorbitant HDB prices set by the government.
The Singapore government refuse to disclose land prices of HDB flats and their construction costs. Every year, the Singapore government made undisclosed billions in terms of HDB BTO sales and stamp duties from the HDB resale flats. The Singapore government however claimed to “incur billions of losses” because of government subsidies, in a ruse to convince Singaporean first time home buyers that they are getting a bargain.
In the latest Gallup survey, Singapore ranked the 4th most expensive housing in the world. Property prices in Singapore are largely inflated before the decline in 2013, by debt resulting from low interest rates and loose lending regulations.
Property developers like Far East and real estate agents have been badly hit by the declining property prices. As purchasing income of the population stagnate, lesser Singaporeans are committing to big purchases like a house.