Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Stubborn Mah Bow Tan insists that HDB is still affordable

From: reborner
Subject: Stubborn Mah Bow Tan insists that HDB is still affordable

In spite of the prevailing public sentiments, National Development
Minister Mah Bow Tan repeated his stance yesterday at Parliament that
HDB flats are still “affordable” to Singaporeans.

Mr Mah used a formula called the debt service ratio (DSR) which
compares the monthly mortgage installment to the monthly household
income to substantiate his claims.

The DSR ranges between 17 to 25 percent for new flats and around 30
percent for mature flats in central locations.

“These figures are within the international benchmark for housing
affordability, which ranges from 30 per cent to 35 per cent,” Mr Mah
was quoted as saying in the Straits Times today.

Mr Mah also admitted that “it is possible that prices of resale flats
have risen faster than incomes when indexed against different years.”
in response to a question by PAP MP Lim Biow Chuan.

In an extensive interview with the Straits Times a few weeks ago, Mr
Mah used two sets of figures from the years 1999 and 2009 to show that
the relative pace of income has “out-paced” that of HDB flat prices.

The statistics were disputed by Reform Party member Hazel Poa who
wrote on her blog that the results would be different if the base year
is different, causing much embarrassment to Mr Mah.

The increasingly unpopular Mr Mah has come under fire of late from
Singaporeans for his failure to control runaway HDB flat prices which
have hit a record high in the last few months, caused partially by
rising demand fueled by mass immigration.

Though PRs form some twenty percent of the buyers in the resale
market, Mr Mah insisted that they have “negligible” impact on the

He also lashed out at first time home buyers for being “fussy” and
having “unrealistic” expectations.

Mr Mah earns around $2 million dollars a year, or more than 4 times
the annual salary of U.S. President Barack Obama.

PAP strongman Lee Kuan Yew castigated Singaporeans for being “daft” (stupid)
should they cast a protest vote against Mr Mah in the next general
election over sky-rocketing HDB flat prices.


  1. baldeagle wrote:

    MBT is telling Singaporeans cock and bull stories. He tried
    to spin (lie) with statistics.
    Poor Singapore know better...

    HDB flats were truly affordable decades ago,..when a
    four room flat was sold at less the $20,000. All poor
    Singaporean then could repay their housing loan within
    10 years or less.

    In contrast, the same 4-rm flat (built 40 years ago), is now
    selling at $250,000 to $300,000. New HDB is not much
    The buyer can hardly repay the housing loan in 30 YEARS...
    They have to forgo a decent life style..cutting off all expenses
    (apart from essentials)...have to watch every cents they spend...
    for the next 30 years.

    Is the HDB affordable !?

    Only MBT and PAP say that it is still affordable.

    Poor Singaporeans will tell MBT the TRUTH ...with their votes
    in the coming GE.

  2. From: baldeagle
    Maximillian Caugilia wrote:

    .> Just got back from Dallas Fort Worth USA. A brand new house
    .> there with 4 bedrooms, two storey detached, 3 bathrooms, about
    .> 2500 sq feet, and a big piece of freehold land with garden to boot
    .> is about less than USD200,000 if you are "not fussy" with good
    .> districts.

    A Arizona good friend of mine (I stayed in his guest room during my
    trip to the USA last year) bought a new house (detached) early last
    year for $185,000.
    Within the 330 sq metres built-in space, it has 4 bedrooms with
    bathroom attached, (huge when compared to those in HDB flat), a large
    living room and a large kitchen, ….all fully air-con and central
    heating, and a garage for 2 cars.
    The front garden and back yards occupied an area of over 500 sq
    metres. His house is located near Arizona State University…in Tempe, a
    university township.
    He earns about $100,000 a year and his wife earns about $80,000 a
    year. With their combined income they could repay their mortgage
    easily within 10 years.
    They are not wealthy but working class…and they are typical of
    American professionals. The houses in the USA are truly affordable.

    Can a working professional buy a detached house in Singapore ?
    Definitely NOT. He can hardly afford a HDB flat.

    A couple in Singapore has to pay over S$300,000 for a 3 bedroom HDB
    flat…and even with their combined income, it will take them 30 years
    to repay their housing loan…For the next 30 years they will have to
    watch every cent they spend…strictly on essential ONLY. Not much of a

    The HDB flats cost is NOT only the $300,000 price,…but also a very
    tough life.. forced to forgo all the better things in life…and live
    like a pauper.

    Is this affordable ?

  3. yansimon52 :

    The other area where PAP is short sighted is......they want to let the
    population (with more foreigner) grow larger so that they could up the
    collection (into the govt's coffer) from MRT/buses, FT buying up HDB
    resale flats, spending monthly expenses on household provision where
    GST are collected ....rest of problem (hardship) face by jobless sgian
    can wait.

  4. From: Zanzibar
    Many people who bought HDB flats have to subscribe to 30 years lease.

    In the last 15 years, the lease on which HDB buyers subscribed had
    exteneded from 20 years to 25 years and now extended to 30 years.

    The bulk of 60% of the HDB monthly repayments for a 30-year mortgage
    went to paying interest only. But this MBT still says the purchase is
    affordable, when the bulk of the monthly repayment went to repaying
    interest charges.

    And this bulk of the interest repayment has to go on and on repaying
    for the next 10 years before the bulk of which this interest repayment
    on the HDB monthly repayment is then reduced to 50%.

    The interest repayment is then further reduced to 40% on the bulk of
    the monthly repayment from the last 10 years of the 30 years lease.

    Based on that, the price of the flat actually becomes more the double
    by the time they finished paying of their flat in 30 year's time.

    So how could MBT still argued that flats here are still affordable,
    when he had not been able to explain to the public on how the bulk of
    the interest charges on the monthy repayment was actually went the
    profit account of the HDB's account, and in turn went to paying
    bonuses to the then and to the MIWs.

    It is time to replace him.

  5. MBT does not have it in him ...to look at the long haul.

    When even the lowly uneducated know that HDB flat
    are over-priced...large numbers of Singaporean are
    waiting for a flat... like a stubborn kid, he tried to say
    that HDB flat is 'affordable'...using selective statistics
    to lie to the people. Ignoring the angry public who can
    vote him out...is not a smart thing to do.

    He is not thinking about the long haul...if he did, he
    would have changed HDB policies,... quickly reduce
    the selling price...and build tens of thousands more
    HDB units..to cater for those who need a flat and for
    those foreigners who have become PRs.

    With such short sightedness, he is likely to lose
    his seat in parliament, and therefore lose his ministerial
    pay ..in the next election.

  6. We rather be stupid!

  7. Rising prices are one thing. But now, we cannot even get a chance to select a flat when the BTOs are many times over-subscribed.

    Just wondering, foreigners/PR come here to buy their properties, and we (singaporeans) have to defend their properties in times of war. And where do these foreigners/PR disappear to during a war? And Singaporeans like myself don't even have a property to my name, and I have to defend some foreigners/PRs properties when they are hiding in their own country? Something, is terribly wrong.

  8. He have no other choice too....His intelligence can only put him in this job.

    He is actually also a victim. Spending his life doing things like this is very painful too.

    Every human being wants to leave a good name behind, so that our decendents will be proud of us.

    But Mr. MBT really have to forgo this privillage.

    I actually pitty him a lot.

  9. Singapore property will become more expensive when you put in 6.5 million people in it....the victim here will be the future generation and the first time buyer, the price of the flat will be XXXXXXXXXX time of your salary.

  10. I hear this joke.
    One group of old mens was seating in a food market chatting.
    One mens say to another " Wah... MBT is also Hai Lum Lang(hokkien for hainanese) like you.."
    The other men say "No ! I am Hai Lum Lang..., He is "Hai Lang" (hokkien)...