A parliamentary Freudian slip

If we read more into this little statement “they are comparing apples with lemons”, it sounds like a Freudian slip by National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan. He was fending off queries in Parliament on why studio flats are more expensive than 2-room flats of the same size, despite the much shorter lease of 30 years. Why not just say apples with oranges like everyone else? I wonder if it was a slip of tongue or just a fancy choice of words. Do mind your language please, or your colleague Indranee Rajah may end up twerking in disapproval. Whatever that…

Supporters cheered when Mr Mah woke from a long slumber

Mah Bow Tan: I retired after wife urged me to sleep at home instead

Former minister for national development Mah Bow Tan has revealed in an interview that he had retired from politics after his wife had urged him to sleep at home instead, and not because he was caught doing so on the job as widely believed. Two years after stepping down from his post, the MP for Tampinese GRC said he had left office with no complaints or regrets. When he retired after the 2011 General Election, there was widespread surprise that he had actually been around for the preceding decade. Many were under the impression he had retired in 1999, when…

Hold or fold?

Relying on rental income for retirement

A perennial question some Singaporeans have is why HDB owners are allowed to hold on to their HDB flats after upgrading to private properties, but private property owners are not allowed to hold on to their private properties should they buy a HDB flat. Not fair, cries the latter group, while others say the first group shouldn’t even be allowed to do so to begin with. In an interesting reply to The Straits Times Forum a few weeks back, HDB clarified that the rules are actually very consistent. This was their explanation, which I had to reread a few times to…

Now, the bad news: BTO prices outpace resale market

Now, the bad news: BTO prices outpace resale market

Before we start, have you read the good news yet? If not, you might want to check it out first. Here I am going to raise some serious questions on pricing in the current July BTO exercise. For this, I must thank a reader for bringing it to my attention. One very interesting aspect about this BTO exercise is that it includes flats from three previous BTO projects that were launched between 2010 and 2012. These flats on sale currently are 2-room flats that are now open to singles; whether they are leftover flats or had been excluded from the…

New proud owners of a HDB 2-room flat

HDB BTO for singles: First, the good news

It is becoming customary for me to write about HDB balloting exercises, having previously commented on the Sale of Balance (SBF) exercises for 2-room flats last year, and the recent May BTO exercise. While I do not intend this to become a trend, I do note that my posts on HDB flats tend to attract the highest sustained traffic even long after I’ve written them, showing how much housing matters to Singaporeans compared to issues like political bickering we have seen recently. So, on to the current July BTO exercise, and let’s start with the good news in this post….

(click to enlarge)

One-third of applicants unsuccessful in BTO exercise

On Thursday, MDA-licensed — and therefore we can trust to be factual and not misleading — The Straits Times reported  on the latest HDB Build-To-Order (BTO) exercise that closed on 5 June. The report “One applicant for each BTO flat” declares: There was one eligible buyer for every flat offered in the latest Build-To-Order (BTO) exercise as of 5pm yesterday, one of the lowest subscription rates since the system was introduced in 2001. This meant it was likely that most of the applicants would get to select a flat, analysts said. It is happy days in Singaparadise as almost every one…

You can't see the decor but I assure you it's worth the 100k COV!

The Great HDB Resale Flat Hunt – Part 3: Quirks of HDB Living

By Lorong Cat The Great HDB Resale Flat Hunt is a 3-part blog post tracking the trials and tribulations of a first time flat buyer in her search for an affordable abode in Singapore. Part 1 stitches together the journey, sometimes bewildering and exhausting, of the search process. In part 2,  the author shares her two cents worth of advice and lessons learned to anyone who might fancy it. In part 3, she spills the beans on some quirks of HDB living. Part 3: Quirks of HDB Living The exterior designs of HDB apartment blocks may look somewhat dull and…

Take your pick!

The Great HDB Resale Flat Hunt – Part 2: The Noobs Guide 2013

By Lorong Cat The Great HDB Resale Flat Hunt is a 3-part blog post tracking the trials and tribulations of a first time flat buyer in her search for an affordable abode in Singapore. Part 1 stitches together the journey, sometimes bewildering and exhausting, of the search process. In part 2,  the author shares her two cents worth of advice and lessons learned to anyone who might fancy it. In part 3, she spills the beans on some quirks of HDB living. Part 2: The Resale HDB Flat Noobs Guide 2013 I was living for a dream, loving for a…

What's the COV for this?

The Great HDB Resale Flat Hunt – Part 1: The Search Begins

By Lorong Cat The Great HDB Resale Flat Hunt is a 3-part blog post tracking the trials and tribulations of a first time flat buyer in her search for an affordable abode in Singapore. Part 1 stitches together the journey, sometimes bewildering and exhausting, of the search process. In part 2,  the author shares her two cents worth of advice and lessons learned to anyone who might fancy it. In part 3, she spills the beans on some quirks of HDB living. Part 1: The Search Begins Shakespeare said “the course of searching for the true HDB resale flat never…

Small shops in tight spaces

Restrict investors, not shoebox shops themselves

I’m beginning to wonder if our National Development Minister is claustrophobic. After intervening in the private housing market in November last year to restrict the number of shoebox apartments allowed in suburban residential projects, Mr Khaw Boon Wan is now targeting “shoebox shops” in malls. We can only conclude that he just doesn’t like small spaces. The minister’s beef with residential shoebox apartments was the increasing trend of Singaporeans buying up these units because normal sized private apartments are priced out of the range they could afford. With prices going north of $1,400 psf even in the Outside Central Region (OCR),…

Clamping down on illegal HDB subletting

Clamping down on illegal HDB subletting

I wish there were more information in this Straits Times report on the HDB backing down from a compulsory acquisition of a resale flat for illegal subletting, after the owner had initiated a legal challenge. It is an interesting case that throws up various points of note. Firstly, as pointed out by this letter to Today, there is no proper definition for owner occupation. Reading purely from the ST report, we can’t tell if the owner’s claim that he occasionally stayed with his parents is true. Even if it’s true, does that violate this occupation requirement? We also do not…

Khaw's conundrum in HDB housing

Khaw’s conundrum in HDB housing

A baby step for Khaw Boon Wan, a giant leap for singles — even if it comes with a restrictive set of criteria. I know that’s giving the minister too much credit for a long overdue move, but who can blame him for being so cautious? Whatever major policy change the government enacts on the HDB front is bound to draw flak from certain quarters of the citizenry. A baby step too slow for some is a baby step too far for others. If the minister needs a lesson, he can just look at the recent move by MAS to…