Your Letters

Help middle class realise dream of owning private property

I support the call to bar foreign developers from participating in public tenders for residential sites (Keep foreign bidders out of housing; June 11).

Such developers are not only cash-rich, but may also have other non-commercial considerations to invest in Singapore, like wanting to diversify or minimise their political risk by investing outside their home country or moving capital to a safe haven like Singapore to avoid government scrutiny.

Accordingly, they are willing and able to pay high prices for land, which would translate eventually into inflated prices for all residential units, putting them out of the reach of most working-class Singaporeans.

As the middle class grows, boosted by higher educational levels, it is understandable that many in this group will aspire to own and live in private housing, notwithstanding the quality of public housing.

The Government should empathise and make suitable policy changes to ensure that land prices remain stable so that these Singaporeans will be able to realise their dream. This will help increase social mobility and bring about a more equitable society.

Most Singaporeans already cannot afford freehold landed property, especially those in coveted districts. This asset class is almost exclusively held by the wealthy elite, and typically transferred from one generation to the next. Therefore, I urge the Government to act to prevent the escalation in land values and boost our social stability and cohesion.

Even with the current cooling measures, real estate professionals are already expecting a market recovery in the months ahead and saying that home prices "are likely to inch upwards with the strong land-bid prices we are witnessing" (New private home sales fall for 2nd month; June 16).

Ang Ah Lay

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 25, 2017, with the headline 'Help middle class realise dream of owning private property'. Print Edition | Subscribe