12% of car-owning households have 2 cars, less than 3% own 3 cars or more

The proportion of car ownership has been relatively stable over the years, with no major shift in demand patterns. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - There are around 471,000 households that own cars in Singapore, of which 12 per cent – or 56,520 – have two cars.

Less than 3 per cent of these households, or 14,130, own three cars or more.

Giving this breakdown in Parliament on Tuesday, Transport Minister S. Iswaran said the proportion of car ownership has been relatively stable over the years, with no major shift in demand patterns that may have driven up prices for certificates of entitlement (COEs) in recent times.

Workers’ Party MP Gerald Giam (Aljunied GRC) asked if households that own multiple cars are fuelling the rise in COE premiums, noting that “because they tend to come from higher-income households, they have the ability to pay more for their COEs”.

He also asked if the Government will consider measures to curb the demand for Category A COE from households buying their second, or subsequent, smaller car.

The COE for smaller and less powerful cars and electric vehicles ended at $90,589 in the latest tender exercise, not far from the all-time high of $92,100 recorded in January 2013. Records have been set in other categories as well in 2022.

Responding, Mr Iswaran attributed the increase in COE premiums to tight supply instead of demand.

He also warned of “unintended consequences” in the market from adjusting the system.

He noted that vehicle deregistrations are partly affected by the 10-year COE cycle, because of the historical pattern of car registrations as well as existing owners who choose to deregister or renew their existing cars’ COEs.

“On balance, I would say that it does not necessarily follow that any effort to curb car ownership beyond the first car in any household will necessarily have a dampening effect on COE prices,” he said.

Mr Giam then asked if these households add to the demand for COEs, noting that 12 per cent of households having two cars is “not a small number”.

Replying, Mr Iswaran said the percentage of households owning multiple cars has been stable over a period of time, including periods when COE prices were “not so high”.

He also pointed out that Mr Giam’s question implies that higher-income households are the ones that own multiple cars.

“I would point out that households that own multiple cars are not just those that live in private residential housing. There is a distinct proportion that live in public housing.

“We have to have a policy that is informed by data and patterns,” he added.

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