Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Housing Prices Vs Household Income – Alternative ways of viewing the statistics

With reference to today’s Straits Times article where Mr Mah Bow Tan said it is not true that HDB resale prices have outstripped income growth. He supported his statement with the following statistics:



This is the data behind the graph:




























I would like to point out that the choice of the base year can be very significant.
Let’s see what happens when we change the base year to 2000 and 2001:





















And if we look at it since the last General Election:














Resale prices up by 45.6%, while median household income is up 21.3%.

Choosing a suitable base year to support your conclusions is quite a useful trick that we should all learn.













68 comments:

  1. Hi, we need more people like you.

    It is very hard or may I said "daft"---MM lee to be an opposition. But like I always tell my Friend, sit down and blame the government and worst I don;t want my opposition to lower my property price! What a Singaporean we have become!

    let me share my thoughts on HDB price.

    The PAP had to restore to property to finance our retirement or may I said pension.

    Very sad, they know we have used up 60% of the CPF in Housing, most people left with 20 to 30% for CPF life and the rest is in Medisave.

    If they don;t not let this 60% of eggs appreciate over times, we are all in trouble as inflation creeps in.

    We are in Deflation after the 1996 housing bubble until PAP started to use the FR to fill up the demands. the problems are same as Japan.

    a. Birthrate 1.2
    b. population aging
    c. housing stagnant 1997 to 2004
    d. Competitive age loss to China and India

    Use the FT large influx never mind about the discomfort and subsequent social issues.
    They achieve it, 5 million in 10 years. tell me which country can grow their population 20% in ten years.

    Cheap FT everwhere, demand for house is up, economy will growth and when 2020 to 2030 come, the baby boomers can collect their pension,CPF or sell their house to the new wave of FT to turn to Singaporean.

    Problems solve for the next 10 to 20n years.
    IF not from the netcitizen- they will continue to growth until 6.5 million in 2020. that;s their plan.

    Now people complaining , slow down a bit and once election over, they will continue.

    So, HDB will never dropped their price because, they can collect more money from the new Singaporean or young Singaporean and once the old Singaporean sell their old mature estate house, they can fetch a good price and got money to retire.

    So, Using property to fund the immediate 10 to 20 years pension needs of the old Singaporean!

    Who is going to pay for it? Young Singaporean or FT
    who had converted to Singaporean and buying HDB.

    Thats is it. I hope my children is not gong to pay for it.

    We need just another crisis to test the resolve of new Singaporean and see how HDB is going to keep rising price.

    Look at the COE, if not from the change in formula
    COE cannot going for about 50K. the agent already said last month it will go up!.

    PAP solution is using money as the best way to solve problems. Market forces with them controlling the supply.

    Pls I dont pay millions to them to tell me that I need to pay 50K for COE or price is Ok in housing.

    Now if you vote for them in next election. they will do something to the HDB. Once you sell your house, they lock up the profits and you can only use it if the minimum sum and medisave are topped up to the ever uprising targets. I suspect it will hit 200k and 50K in 10 years time respectively.

    After election is the payback time.
    What happen to our CPF......

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  2. some should send this graph back to the newspaper....the government seems more and more desperate trying to convince people that they are going the right thing.

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  3. Thank You. Please continue to open our eyes. Appreciate your valuable work

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  4. Thank you Ms Hazel Poa.

    It is high time for intelligent and patriotic Singaporeans to strip away the propaganda BS spouted by millionaire-ministers, and "astro-turfed" by the 133th-ranked Sh*tty Times.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Good job debunking the MIW's propaganda with this analysis. Unfortunately, the vast majority of Singaporeans will just take the MIW's nice graphs at face value, without even thinking about questioning their figures or motives. You and the RP should get the word out to as many ordinary voters as possible, especially the non-Internet savvy generations.

    Looking forward to reading more of your "exposes". All the best.

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  6. Well done Ms Hazel. Thanks for showing how creative our Minister Mah is

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  7. Hi. Good work. Need more of these to expose the 1/2 truths and untruths.

    But definite need to get these out there to the masses to eductate them

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  8. is it possible to start the base year from 1965 or anywhere earlier?

    I think it is common knowledge that property price has risen way much higher than household income.

    You can can get me via newcastle408@yahoo.com. I would like to publicise it on my Facebook Status so more people will know.

    my FB/MSN/email: newcastle408@yahoo.com

    Lim Chih-Yang

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  9. wa lau. I am really disappointed cos it seems the government actually tried to mislead the fellow citizens. A sign of desperation....

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  10. we need to expose more of their damn lies and statistics.. good work!

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  11. To Lim Chih Yang,
    Sorry, at the moment all the data I have got is up to 1999.

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  12. A very incisive analysis. Suggest widen your footprint by posting it on soc.culture.sg
    dt

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  13. Had to believe that the median income really rise 20%

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  14. Why dont you migrate out with all yr families ?? better for you so that PAP wont hear you whinning like an old heck, coward, loser singaporean...Long Live PAP ! Huat ah! I love PAP!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Good effort. Same data set but different graphs.

    When intuition tells you that something is wrong, they have graph to show you that something is right. No wonder they keep on saying that it is affordable. They rely on their own graph too much.

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  16. Thanks for revealing Mah's lie!

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  17. Hi Hazel,

    Thanks for doing the maths and illustrating it. It was most interesting. Just wondering if you can explain the concept of base year and why base year matters? I was trying to figure it out, but it seem to elude me. Thanks very much!

    RW

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  18. Hazel,

    I did the same chart going back to 1990 in my blog I'm missing a few years of data, but still it shows how over 2 decades the cost of housing spiraled up much faster than household income growth. It is not untrue when someone says HDB is much more expensive compared with the 'old days'...

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  19. RW,
    The base year is when you reset both the indices (in this case the MHI and RPI) to 100. This makes both lines in the graph start at the same place in the base year. There is a hidden assumption that the base year is a neutral year. Looking at the graph with base year 1999, we see the 2 lines going back to meet each other in 2009. This would be fine if 1999 is a year whereby the relativity between income and home prices is acceptable. However, if 1999 is a year where there is great disparity between income and house prices, the graph simply shows that we are back to that same disparity. In other words, to most non-mathematically-trained people reading the graph, it leads them to conclusions based soly on how the latest data compares with the base year. Therefore changing the base year can lead to different conclusions.

    When 2 indices truely move in tandem, we tend to see more crisscrossing of the two lines. In that case, changing the base year does not alter the picture much. But when you see a big lobang in between, then be suspicious.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Good work. Also good to see a new person rising up to challenge Mr Mah's use of funny numbers.

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  21. Dear Hazel,

    I need more knowledge before I can go on. What is the purpose of indexing figures to a base year? I don't understand the concept of "indexing" and the purpose of "indexing". Could you kindly explain please?

    How did you manage to generate further graphs when you changed the based year? Basically, how did you plot your subsequent graphs?

    I love your blog!

    Many thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  22. is this wat the officers and executives in the ministry do? Do they try to see the data with different years as baseline and then post the "best" one? and manipulate other stats to deceive us?

    If so, shouldn't we question the integrity of our civil servants?

    ReplyDelete
  23. Hi Hazel,

    I think I got it!

    ReplyDelete
  24. hi, i have post up the CORRECT method of interpreting the statistics at my blog: http://invest111.blogspot.com . thank you.

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  25. Ko Liang is right. You should look at the derivatives i.e. the change in the slope of the graphs, the changes in the gradient - the steepness or gentleness of the lines. MBT is misleading when he offers an interpretation in conjunction with a graph that plots for absolute figures. What he must do was to plot out the derivatives and then offer the correct interpretation based on those derivative points. At face value, absolute charting of the points won't explain why the cost of HDB flats are continually rising at a much higher RATE than the rise in a family's income.

    It is unbecoming for a minister to offer whitewashed and flimsy reading of figures in this manner. Such an intention needs to be further examined.

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  26. Dude,

    You should plot out the definitive derivatives graph from the various base years. Then you raise the level of critical inquiry.

    You should plot that hidden derivative graph.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Excellent blog! It's the same conclusion I've arrived too. It all depends on relative to when for the graph. So,

    Relative to 2006, HDB RPI inc by 17%, median household income increse by only 9%

    Now say, you were in 2008:

    Relative to 2006, HDB RPI inc by 35%, median household income increse by only 24%
    Relative to 2007, HDB RPI inc by 15%, median household income increse by 13%

    Now say, you were in 2009:

    Relative to 2006, HDB RPI inc by 46%, median household income increse by only 21%
    Relative to 2007, HDB RPI inc by 24%, median household income increse by only 11%
    Relative to 2008, HDB RPI inc by 8%, median household income decrease by -2%!

    The question we want to ask ourselves is, does it make sense to compare with data relative to 1999 or even 2003? Those who have bought their HDBs would have now already had a roof over their head. The problem now lies with the young couples or people who recently found love and wanted to get married now. Hence, it makes more sense to compare data with respect to the base of the last few years, not eons ago... clearly, Mah is pretty unscrupulous to have chosen 1999 as the base.

    Anyway, Hazel, understand that you and your husband are joining RP to stand for the next election. All the best and I can safely say you have at least 33.3% of the people behind you now! You just need another 16.7% or less to swing towards you!

    If you have any new insights or rebuttals against PAP policies, do email me and I can disseminate on 3in1kopitam forum (this forum was an offshoot from Sammyboy forum after Sam Leong decided to shift out of Delphi host).


    Cheers!

    Kojakbt (kojakbt@gmail.com)
    Moderator
    www.3in1kopitiam.com

    ReplyDelete
  28. This is Hazel's best entry. Simple, CLEAR and almost exhaustive. Kudos to the commentors as well.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Now I know why the brotherhood rarely ever ascribe any importance to statistics.They even once challenged temasek review once on their readership figures along with taking issue abt the 37 doss attacks TR claimed to have sustained. The TR ppl got so flusterred. They tried to get rid of them by publishing their IP address online. Brotherhood response was sharp, shocking and sad . They relocated all their gaming servers to Germany. This is not new Hazel. We netizens already know abt all these things.

    ReplyDelete
  30. the original reporter for this article, who published Mah's original graph and led to the nation's readers believing Mah's graph shape - Jessica Cheam jcheam@sph.com.sg - will probably take great interest in trying to correct this statistical misinterpretation generated by her article.

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  31. is this wat the officers and executives in the ministry do? Do they try to see the data with different years as baseline and then post the "best" one? and manipulate other stats to deceive us?

    ---- honest mistake ----
    they didn't deliberately choose 1999. it so happens that if you used any year from 2000 to 2008 for this graph, it will not work. COINCIDENCE!

    the only year that works using this pictorial is 1999.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Good article, I found your blog from Temasek Review. There are Lies, damned lies, and statistics.....

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  33. thanks miss poa! excellent work.

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  34. Setting the base year after an election is a much better approach. It shows how well the ruling party has managed and steered the country

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  35. Great analysis! Please note that the median income rises too when the Top earners get a lot more money while the salaries of the working people stays the same...

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  36. Are there good reasons many entities here are not transparent and are unreluctant to make critical datas available to the public?

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  37. Singaporean are so daft.. so says MM.. easy to fool them with charts.. takes averages. When TH lost billions.. TH were still self-justifying.. SIN are not that stupid..we just dont have such gumption capable of lying & yet put a straight face.. Poltician are worse, after losing monies & lying with charts , they still insult you. ....

    Greed exceeds all evil.. Grab is on .. GRAB all they can.. children are growing up.. Money is power... grab grab. grab.. launder it... with creative transactions..

    ReplyDelete
  38. ONE MIWs DOG is barking!!! Licking the boots of MIWs....haha.....REAL Losers YOU ARE! COWARD is meant for YOU ONLY!

    Shame on You as a Singaporean..Support them more & being CRUSHED by their 'New Citizen' army one fine day.

    HAHAHAHA

    'Why dont you migrate out with all yr families ?? better for you so that PAP wont hear you whinning like an old heck, coward, loser singaporean...Long Live PAP ! Huat ah! I love PAP!
    April 8, 2010 11:03 PM '

    ReplyDelete
  39. Thank you Hazel to point out the base year. It makes more sense now because all along I feel the income does not keep up with the HDB price. What Mah said in the interview was just rubbish. He was betraying the truth.

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  40. Kojakbt,
    Thanks! Although I think you are being too kind just based on one blog entry, but I am not going to complain. : )

    (I am a Singaporean but not a champion grumbler.)

    ReplyDelete
  41. To Anon at April 9, 2010 5:56 PM who wrote
    "Please note that the median income rises too when the Top earners get a lot more money while the salaries of the working people stays the same..."
    Actually that is not true. The median income is commonly used precisely because it is not distorted by values at the 2 extreme ends. The median income is the level of income whereby 50% of the data fall below it, and 50% above, so if the top 10% move higher but the rest does not, it does not affect the median. The average income, on the other hand, would be affected like you mentioned.

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  42. Anyone of you remember what MM said in one of his speeches about how the increase in property prices made us all better off as we are all more affluent?

    I seriously think that this is a joke because if all of the property prices were to rise, and i were to sell off my property, i will not be richer as the price of the new property will not be cheaper. I would only profit if i chose a smaller house.

    The increase in affluence would only be beneficial for the rich who can sell off their multiple properties and hold the proceedings as liquid assets till the property prices were to fall again.

    I have a conspiracy theory (a.k.a. my random rambling) that the reason land prices and COE is so high now is because Singapore needs a way to fund the losses that TH made.

    Anyway... i love your analysis... if only you sat in during parliament and made those comments... i would LOVE to see the facial expression on our dear ministers' face

    ReplyDelete
  43. this is good analysis. the most important conclusion arising from this is that the median income has not kept up with the pace in rise of the resale prices.

    on another hand, i wonder whether the rise of the median income has kept pace prices of flats bought directly from HDB. while we know that HDB prices their flats based on resale prices, but HDB prices include a certain 'discount'. the question is whether this 'discount' has also increased such that the pace of increase of prices of flats bought from HDB flats is actually much slower than the pace of increase of resale prices.

    this is important because ultimately, if people's median incomes have increased at a pace such that most people are still able to afford housing from HDB, then we should actually be happy that resale prices are increasing rapidly.

    why so?

    who benefits most from the rise in resale prices? obviously it would be the people who sold the flats. and the people who sold the flats would most likely be Singaporeans. so if the resale prices rise, would that not mean that there is a segment of Singaporeans who are benefitting significantly?

    so the crux of the issue is wether we can reach a balance between benefitting the people who are selling the flats and ensuring that people are buying flats for the first time are able to afford to do so.

    ReplyDelete
  44. THANK Y(",)U !!

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  45. Not to say I had to pour cold water over your report. But I was in one of the brotherhood forums. I was just like a fly in the wall. And they seem to be plugging apart your line of logic like no ones business. I am new here. I am also posting as an employee. But if you are interested to know where you might have gone wrong in your analysis. I will be more then happy to link it. If that is possible. As with them not everything is possible. I just thought as a matter of courtesy that I should inform you Hazel to save you any possible embarrassement

    Kong Yee Hian

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  46. Looking at things which happens around Singapore and things in USA, I came to only 1 conclusion.

    The whole world is made up of one ponzi scheme after another.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Hi Hazel,

    Good analysis. I have always learn in economics that there are many ways to interpret statistics. Hence, your base year analysis is a good way to help reader understand the methodology better.

    If it is possible, a better way of analysis housing affordability is to look at the average length of housing mortgage over a longer period of time.

    I remember that my parents take loans of around 15 years in the mid 80s. This extended to a max of 25 yrs at the peak of 1997 and now 30 yrs repayment term is the norm.

    Yesterday's Sunday Times feature of asset bubble and its impact on various Asia Pacific economies appeared to be a issues facing governments of these countries.

    If indeed, it is asset inflation that is pressuring social economic conditions of these countries, then highly paid (hence capable) PAP government seemed to have been riding on the asset inflation trend while trying to convince Singaporeans that the conditions remain acceptable to them. Indirectly, they are blaming Singaporeans' for their inability to contain their expectations and also been implying that Singaporeans are not wrking hard enough to meet their own expectations.

    CK
    Overseas Singaporean

    ReplyDelete
  48. Hi Hazel!

    You made excellent points! Welcome to the Club!

    I run a topic-specific blog at:
    www.singaporeenbloc.blogspot.com

    I'd like to share the plethora of graphs I extracted in this blog entry:
    http://singaporeenbloc.blogspot.com/2010/03/trilogy-part-c-pm-said-i-am-saying.html

    As for Mah Bow Tan, I similarly took issues with what he said in two of my recent postings:

    - On HDB Cash-Over-Valuations:
    http://singaporeenbloc.blogspot.com/2010/03/trilogy-part-president-said-i-said.html

    - On pushing his Tampines constituents to Woodlands:
    http://singaporeenbloc.blogspot.com/2010/03/trilogy-part-b-they-said.html

    It is rare for top honchos and ministers to get into a public spat.
    - REDAS vs MND:
    http://singaporeenbloc.blogspot.com/2010/03/foxes-outfoxed.html

    The Pariah, www.singaporeenbloc.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  49. Kong Yee Hian,
    Yes I have heard of the brotherhood through reading some of their members' comments at various places. So far, I think I have identified 3 - Singaporedaddy, Darkness and Gemami. I have been impressed with the quality of their arguement. So if they have been tearing my logic apart I would really really want to read about it. So please, if you can, provide a link. If necessary to obtain approval, help me curry favour them a bit lah - I am a fan and that is not a lie.
    You are not pouring cold water on me, to the contrary, I am flattered.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Hazel,

    yes use of a particular base year does can skew the conslusions but using 2001 or 206 as base year does not prove anything

    house prices tend to mimic average growth in incomes only over a long period, for a specific time frame they may be well out of sync as the ones whose incomes have grown faster will bid up the price, this is how it has happened in virtualy every country.

    Singaporeans should be thankful that there is high quality subisdised housing here , can you name another country that has such a program?

    yet singaporeans grumble...

    ReplyDelete
  51. All the price index is BS just to make them look better. The chinese said the word government has 2 mouth. Look at fresh engineer pay in early 90s' 2300 to 2500. HDB cost for a 5RM was about 70k. Now 20 yrs has passed, fresh engineer pay is in the range of 2700-2900. New 5RM is 320k. So what is this index BS, the reality is young one cannot afford but just to carry a burden of loan throughout their life.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Hi, Hazel, if yr postings can be translated into Chinese to reach a larger audience including those Chinese educated, your chances of winning in the GE will be much higher.
    This is critical, between win and lose, you must go all out to win....and must win to topple the M****** that had been sitting there for too long...

    ReplyDelete
  53. Dear Miss Poa Koon Koon,

    I am a student at the university of Amsterdam. At this moment I am in the end phase of my study and have started to conduct research for my thesis to complete my master in political science. In my thesis and related research I aim at analyzing blogs in Singapore that focus on Singaporean politics, including for instance political issues, political system critics etc.

    I would be very grateful if you could send me the links of the most authoritative or well known and well regarded blogs writing about Singaporean politics you know next to your own blog. Maybe you have friends who also write on these matters. If you could forward my e-mail to them and ask them to respond to me, that would be great. Alternatively you could send me their e-mail address or url so that I can contact them myself.

    I have one more request. Is it possible that you would cooperate with me and that you answer some questions I will send to you in next week? The questions will be about blogging in Singapore.

    Thank you very much for your help!

    Yours sincerely,

    Sarah Nienke van Voorthuisen
    S.N.vanVoorthuisen@student.uva.nl

    ReplyDelete
  54. Thank you so much for highlighting the truth! I wish more Singaporeans could see it too and not be hoodwinked by untrue graphs. Please write a letter to the newspapers etc! :)

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  55. mah bow tan tried to rebut but again in a very weak manner. he now plots a graph showing 1997 is a good base year to support his point too, besides 1999. he has no income data for 1996 and 1995, that poor thing.

    hazel, if you plot graphs with base year 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008, you will have more graphs than him which does not support his point.

    and he only has 2 graphs. which makes him and his argument very, very sad.

    yet he has the cheek to insist on justifying this statistical manipulation in today's newspaper.

    ReplyDelete
  56. a further expansion on this statistic, which takes a bit more effort, is to divide the Resale Price Index by this number:

    average size of a 4-room resale unit (5 years old since the TOP 5 years ago)

    this will yield a relatively lower resale price index in the past because the same 4-room unit was larger previously, and will yield a high resale price index in present day because to disguise the fact that nothing has changed, size was reduce. p.s.f. pricing went up but is deliberately not published.

    there can only be one motive for a property-related organisation to avoid mentioning p.s.f. in all publications across the board. HDB seems to be the only organisation that has this behaviour. the motive must be to avoid showing the public what are the p.s.f. implications.

    ReplyDelete
  57. 1stly its not about the "number of graphs", its about the datasets.

    Hazelpoa chose a very bad data set from 2006 or even b4. Sad to say MBT's data set from 1999 is a better graph, unless a better base year is chosen, there is no point in all these

    ReplyDelete
  58. mah zoomed in on the worst data sets, but that's the only way he can draw the graph in his manner. if he did not deliberately choose those 2 years, any other year would have turned his point upside down. very often we see such distortion of data and graphs in academic journals etc but to make it to the national newspaper.... my god...

    ReplyDelete
  59. Whatever it is, Can all the oppostion party start to snatch the seats in the parliament? Pls try to snatch and bankrupt the Pappies.

    By the way, i have been renting a room outside for almost two years. I could not even afford to buy a HDB flat even though i have cross over 35yrs old, and also cant afford to buy a resale flat. Now tell me what should i do? And rental is very high side on me, i almost very tired already.

    Hazel ,can you help me? If you can, please email me at this: news77@hotmail.com

    Thanks
    Hope to see you at my email inbox soon.

    ReplyDelete
  60. Dear Hazel,

    You are a champion.

    A Joan of Arc of Singapore!

    Please keep these great analysis coming.

    True Singaporean

    ReplyDelete
  61. Thanks for your mathematics illustration, appreciate that.

    just to recall, year 1999 was the time of the internet bloom where jobs and salaries are out of reality.

    taking this as a base year, i felt ridiculous.

    ReplyDelete
  62. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.
    Thank You
    http://frankieespinoza.livejournal.com/1593.html

    ReplyDelete
  63. Hi,

    Was just going through TR and found this article, interesting read. Actually I would feel that YoY relative change will be more appropriate to show the changes. I did up the chart in excel but didn't know how to upload it.

    But the idea is from 1999 to 2000, we can say that MHI is outperforming RPI (104% to 95%), i.e. MHI is increasing 4% from 1999 to 2000 while the RPI is falling 5% at the same period, meaning HDB are relatively more affordable for the population from 1999 to 2000.

    However, from 2008 to 2009, RPI is at 108% compared to MHI of 98%. That is to say, the household income for SG actually dropped while the HDB prices continue to hike from 2008 to 2009, which is the fact that is supposed to be presented and alarming as in that year, we earn less but required to pay more if you wanted to get a HDB.

    I'm not overly critical of any party or have a big view in politics, I just hope that there can be a balanced view in SG and more people can have positive and constructive discussion so that SG can grow as a whole. Appreciate that Hazel point out the biased stats provided in this case though.

    forthat01@gmail.com :)

    ReplyDelete
  64. You and your hubby make credible "opposition". However, I would like to offer some words of advise. Always strive to do what is right as a nation, it is easy to champion for some under privilage groups or position yourself to gain grassroot support but what is more important is to talk sense with wide perspective, it is true that the government can never please everyone, have empathy for the ruling party, give credit where is due, never, never oppose for the sake of opposing. Such scrutiny into income and property prices is really academic, we cannot reverse certain situation but we should seek to arrest further increases. Such as the sensibility of continuing embloc in current market situation. Others for eg. healthcare, do away with the naming of A,B,C wards. Improve C wards marketing, don't stereotype it as being meant for low income. So long as this stereotyping persists, great part ofpopulation will refrain due to loss of face.
    Lastly, there are some in the "opposing" side had all along got on the wrong footing and thus the wrong path, stay clear from this people. Alliance in election tactics is fine but apart from this differentiate yourself as different,keep clearfrom idealogy. No point.It is all right to lose the election but never get yourself be written off as trivial empty mouths. Do good stay good talk reasons and talk sense dont go for statistics, that can be done after elected into parliament, for now just balance talks with understanding of the govt's effort and difficulties as well as address grieviences for the general public.

    ReplyDelete
  65. Sit back take a good look at Singapore's wealth, most of it were created by properties. Majority of us have benefitted from property prices, at one time or another we have bought or sold at least one property in our life time.

    We are probably one of those rare countries that could live in a property for 20 years and yet when we sell eventually, we reap a handsome profit. This is possible because many of the housing policies were congruent,stable and longlasting. With a stable political environment, we enjoy the "incubation".

    The HDB housing policy plays a vital role in stabilising the realty market. The people at helm all these years do make mistakes but fact is we progressed.

    Statistics is a good tool to formulate policy and for the opposition it is a good rebuttal point by point.

    But this aside, there are more pressing issues the opposition should take up. One of which, I think is embloc issues.

    This is one single factor that contributes significantly to rise of property prices.

    The original intention of enbloc was good, it meant to ensure optimsation of land use. But, this has changed, case in point is a recent enbloc exercise by Fortdale at Tanjong Rhu Road. The building is less than 15 years old. Well maintained and in fact very new, it is being put up for enbloc because the neighbour, Austral View is doing so and behind the block, 2 rows of terrace houses had been enbloc and this is good for the developer to amalgate the plots.

    Thus, the motive is one of maximising profit.

    Unknown to the residents (maybe, they know), they have just triggered another musical chair.

    There we go again, residents will get the money move on to buy at some other area supporting the prices in these area, while the developer will build on this new acquired land and charged 1900psf for his new project.

    Wala! A perfect case study of how property prices go up. Meanwhile, the neighbourhood enjoys a new round of revaluation.

    Who benefit from this exercise?

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  66. Lets play what-if : say, for instance, the Strata Board bar the sale, what could happen?
    It creates an uncertainty in enbloc, thus not every enbloc exercise would be approved. This sends the trill to all players, discouraging speculators first and foremost, buying old properties for the sake of benefitting from enbloc. Without enbloc,no musical chair triggered, life back to normal.

    Some existing policies have blind spots, eg those in healthcare and transport.

    If you are someone always travelling on a stretch of road, you are aware of the reasons for traffic jams, precisely, blindspots can only be pointed out by people who have went on that path.

    As opposition, it is important to collate all these encounters and identify the policy blindspot and put up a credible case against the ruling parties. Again, theultimate purpose is to smooth out nicks for the betterment of everyone. Your sincerity will eventually show.

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  67. Bear in mind there were 2 downturns during the period, so the growth of the median household income is likely to be lower. What if we take 1996 as the base year then?

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  68. Dear Ms Poa,
    Am impressed with your work. Keep up the effort to expose any intentional misrepresentations. The country belongs to all Singaporeans and we should not be taken for granted anymore.

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