Jun 012012

Recently, an article put forth that the average Singaporean would take 43 years, practically half of his or her life, to fully purchase a ‘luxury home’. It concluded with the statement that “Singapore still has a long way to go before the majority of its residents can splurge on luxury homes”.

In this article, the author defined ‘luxury homes’ as those costing upwards of SGD3,000 per square foot. The average Singaporean was defined as someone with almost SGD75,000 of annual purchasing power. With these numbers, the 43 years required is quite an accurate calculation.

But let’s take a closer look at this claim, shall we? The implication is that Singaporeans should be entitled to a luxury home eventually. But we’re prompted to question why luxury homes are even being considered for the ‘average’ Singaporean. Should there really be an expectation that every Singaporean will reach that pinnacle of success? And somehow, if we fail to attain such aspirations, it is the government’s job to ensure that our path is kept smooth until we do. But the very definition of luxury is that it is out of the reach of the majority! Even if the majority become richer, there will be a new definition of what “rich” is. The majority will still be unable to afford ‘luxury’ homes, because by their very nature of being in rare supply, luxury homes will have even higher prices.

On their part, the Singapore government has done very well in providing basic housing for the population. By the standards of most other countries, just providing a safe roof over people’s heads is a sufficient goal. Home ownership is actually considered a luxury, not a necessity. The government does not need to provide or be responsible for anything more than basic housing for sale or rent. And one does not need to own the property to have a safe and secure home, if rental programmes were developed and managed properly.

Perhaps these expectations have resulted from the overwhelming success of the government’s initiative to allow everyone ownership of their home. HDB’s success in the 1970s and early 80s created a mindset that owning a home is one of the steps to fulfilling the Singapore dream. This seems to have led to the expectation that one’s property will always appreciate, and that will translate into bigger, better and more luxurious abodes, as long as one keeps up the payments. We may now be feeling the crunch of such unrealistic expectations. The stratospheric prices we are seeing now are driven as much by sentiment, as by global forces. The record sales fetched by Sky Habitat are a manifestation of such expectations. The solution is to manage these unrealistic expectations, instead of allowing prices to escalate to the point where even lower end of the market becomes affected by such lofty expectations.

All the more then, that the clamouring for the government to ensure that property assets do not depreciate can be viewed as naive and unrealistic. If unsavvy buyers purchase properties at ridiculous prices, then it is on their own heads. No government can be expected to give a free ride to the top.

The progression from basic, utilitarian properties to high-end luxury homes is not a linear path. One does not simply coast along by expecting your property to always appreciate. The luxury market is defined by the very fact that supply is limited, and not everyone will have access. At that level, the competition is global, as are the forces that come to bear upon it. Enter it at your own risk, and do not expect any government to bail you out when things go badly.



  2 Responses to “Luxurious Expectations”


    There are lawyers for pelope who both consent to divorce without a fight. The only time you end up in court is when you start fighting over possessions. If you have a prenuptial agreement, that should make your divorce the easiest. But even with prenuptials, greedy couples tend to fight. Not saying you’re greedy.I just don’t understand why you got married in the first place. Have you made attempts at all to go to marriage counseling? There’s nothing negative about it, and it might help you get your marriage back on track. Maybe you can’t live together now, but you can still maintain your marriage and see to each other’s needs in a relationship. I understand that you have family commitments but a family should understand that when you get married you go on to build and live your own life while still keeping them in the loop and loving them and taking care of them as needed. Even with a family that requires medical care, you can always find ways to live your lives together without breaking up a marriage. I’m certain you’ve considered these options and marriage just might not be for you right now. I hope everything works out.


      hi:) i have recently been made aware of thgins happening behind “closed” doors in Singapore. I have lived my entire life in this country, believe it or not, I never knew this was happening. I mean, on the outside (or even inside) everything looked so fine and dandy. I did not even have the slightest clue about the other side. I just saw the singaporerebel video on youtube (pardon the lag), and read afew of the comments posted. Funny how Singaporeans these days are satisfied with mere shelter, food and a basic pay. Doesn’t seem like the sort of environment you’d want to be raised in. Where, somehow materialism has taken over. What happened to the people who wanted more than just leading safe lives? Doesn’t anyone here pay attention to the bigger picture anymore?

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