Your lottery winning prize

HDB to allow singles into BTO balloting game

As promised quite some time ago, Minister Khaw Boon Wan announced yesterday that singles will be able to buy flats direct from the HDB starting with the next BTO exercise in July. Welcome to the great national lottery! While many have been clamouring for this for so long, the news has so far been greeted with muted response. The cheers were dampened by the qualifying criteria and flat size restriction. The age restriction of 35 remains, which is to be expected, and income must be $5,000 or less. Also, singles are only eligible for 2-room flats. Personally, I’m not surprised…

Ingredients to more babies

I got you babe, in our marriage & parenthood package

The recent flurry of announcements from the government, ranging from property stability policies and new MRT lines to birth rate boosting measures, shows why we care so much about elections, even if it’s in a constituency with only 31,649 voters. When PAP starts dishing out carrots on a national scale, despite insisting that local issues are what concern Punggol East voters, it is every Singaporean who stands to benefit. On the whole, the freshly announced marriage and parenthood package is a good move on a wide-ranging scale. It won’t do miracles to our abysmal birth rate, but is a step…

Guy Fawkes

HDB, the ball is in your court

Talk about staying competitive. If this were a competitive market, the HDB would have been trounced and rendered obsolete faster than you can say obigood. I’m referring, of course, to the housing policy paper launched by the Singapore Democratic Party that proposes major reforms in the public housing market. Meanwhile, in other news, the HDB is still battling internal demons and dragging its feet over whether to allow singles to buy flats direct… The proposal will be welcome by Singaporeans who despair of the relentless rise in property prices and difficulty in acquiring a simple roof over the head. Like…

Application rates for 2-room flats in the SBF (Data: HDB)

The unwanted HDB 2-room flats

The table above shows the application rates for 2-room flats for both the September and March sale of balance flat (SBF)  exercises this year. Data is available from the HDB website. Highlighted in red are the towns that were under-subscribed. Looking at these statistics leaves me puzzled – am I missing something here? – but I will come to that later. The first question, looking at these numbers, is why are 2-room flats so unpopular? These two exercises were conducted after the income ceiling increase from $2000 to $5000 for mature estates, allowing not just lower income but also more lower-middle…

Top of the Pops

Top of the Pops

Pardon our Prime Minister – he was on live TV after all when he muttered those words. I had a hard time deciding whether it was another one of those Marie Antoinette moments that our leaders are prone to lapse into, or if our PM was just being brutally honest (a hard truth as his old man calls it) when he was asked on Singapore’s future population. “Six million or so should not be a problem”, he said. No doubt, you can’t fault his logic. We can build taller flats, reclaim more land and build more train lines. And after…

Void Decker (bottom left) with friends staying over

Shoebox Living – Are you a size 7?

Here in central London, particularly within zones 1 to 3 on the tube map, flats are either too small or too expensive, or, in most cases, both. Just like in Tokyo, Hong Kong and many other high density cities. The wife and I have been living in an approximately 45sqm flat for the past year or so. Before that, we stayed over two years in a 35sqm flat. It was primarily the failing condition of the previous flat that prompted us to move, rather than the lack of space. Thus, I read with bemusement the mini-debate in the local media…