Home ownership in Singapore

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A friend of mine is getting divorced. Her soon-to-be-ex-husband asked whether the HDB apartment can be transferred to his name and she agreed. She didn't have a say the renovation and certainly does not want to live there with all the unpleasant memories. Her mother said that her husband is the "winner" because he will be getting the apartment (of course he will pay her back her share of it). My friend commented to me that she doesn't quite understand why whoever is getting the apartment should be the winner. I nodded in agreement.

Why is owning a piece of property so important, especially when in Singapore nobody actually owns any property? The government owns everything. All we pay for is a lease that can be revoked by the government at any time and without conditions. To illustrate, let's say you're rich enough to "buy" a piece of land and build your house in it, the government can say that they want to cut a road through the middle of your house and there's nothing you can do about it! I've seen a house in Singapore with the 2 sides of the house on a different side of the road. I heard that it's because the government decided to make a road through the garden.

The Singapore government is proud of providing public housing that makes home ownership "affordable". One reason why the government provides "affordable" public housing is so that people who live in them will take the trouble to maintain their apartments. In other countries like Hong Kong, the government tried renting out apartments to people only to see those apartments deteriorate into dumps. Also, it makes it easier for the government to hunt us down if we give them a reason to.

Is there a need to own a home? Why not just rent? The government and society have done a great job at brainwashing everyone into thinking that we need to own a home. Average-income earners will have to slog for 30 years to pay off the loan. This means no quitting our jobs to slack or bum at the beach. Our constant slogging keeps the economy going.

The Singapore government forces Singaporeans to maintain a sizable percentage of their income locked up in savings with the government body, CPF board. These savings can only be used for certain purposes such as the purchase of property. Singaporeans think that since they can't use the money for anything else they might as well use it to purchase property instead of pay rent from the disposable portion of their income. Hopefully the value of the property increases and they can sell it for a killing. This maintains the demand and therefore the value of property so we keep ourselves in the vicious circle of the ever-increasing property prices which we have to work even harder to pay for. (Yes, I know that this is an overly simplistic explanation of why property prices keep going up.)

Is it a good idea for me to purchase a home in Singapore? I'm still in two minds about it. Although it makes no sense for me to purchase one, I still feel that I would like to. There's no doubt at all that I suffer from the effects of being brainwashed.

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