By LM – Lawrence Wong recently said that Singapore’s public housing is affordable and remains the “World’s Best”. Is that really the case?
For many Singaporeans, the harsh reality is that soaring housing costs have made it challenging for the average citizen to own a decent home. However, for Lawrence Wong, it is affordable because our income are rising in tandem with housing prices. Do you agree?
It costs a lot to own a house
According to the HDB, the average price of a BTO flat in Singapore is around $300,000. However, this figure accounts for the price of the flat itself and does not take into consideration additional costs such as renovation, furniture, and many other things. For some, the total cost of owning a BTO flat in Singapore can easily exceed $500,000. This is an outrageous amount.
Additionally, the median price of a 4-room BTO flat in non-mature estates in Singapore was SGD 282,000 in 2016. Fast forward to 2021, the median price has increased to SGD 332,000 – a staggering increase of 17.7% in just five years. In 2021, the median price of a 5-room BTO flat in non-mature estates was SGD 415,000, up from SGD 355,000 in 2016. That’s a whopping increase of 16.9% in five years.
Are salaries growing enough?
Lawrence Wong also mentioned that “BTO flat prices have moved in tandem with incomes”. Based on the Singapore Department of Statistics, the average monthly household income has not been increasing constantly. It decreased from $9,425 in 2019 to $9,189 in 2020.
Compare this with Singapore’s flat prices. The median price of a new 4-room BTO flat in non-mature estates was $275,000 in the third quarter of 2019. This increased to $298,000 in the third quarter of 2020. This represents an increase of 8.4% in just one year.
Although salaries may be going up in general, our cost of living is also going up. Singaporeans now have to spend more and may not get to save as much as we want. It is cannot be simply put that housing is affordable for us because salaries are going up. It does not address the full picture.
Owning a flat is becoming a headache. If Lawrence Wong listens and tries to understand things from Singaporeans’ perspective, he will know that things are more than statistics alone.