Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Shoebox is (almost) inhuman then no place to call home is even more inhuman


It is the difference between ‘have’ and ‘don’t have’.  If you already have a place for home, then the natural route for you to move up is to look for a bigger home when you have more money. However, if you have nothing, then even a shoebox home is also a valuable and precious asset.

Who is causing the mushrooming of shoebox apartments?  If the government can supply enough HDB apartments in the market, then the demand for shoebox apartments (as well as shoebox shop units) will certainly decline.


The emperor, when seeing so many hungry citizens looking for basic food, asks a stupid question: why don’t they eat fish and meat? Poor and hungry citizens cannot afford to buy rice, how can you expect them to buy fish and meatThe PAP will deny it.  This is not the case, not the situation since shoebox units are private developments and they are for investment purpose.  Few will use it for home or family making as they are ‘almost inhuman’.

However, once we touch on the issue of human or almost inhuman, it becomes personal and even philosophical.  These shoebox homes if they are purely for commercial purpose, then they serve the purpose (and meet the demand) of their owners and tenants.  Why should we care whether they are human or inhuman or not. 


It looks like, in the eyes of our caring government, these shoebox homes are not for living and the space is too small for comfort and perhaps baby making. (Then, why our HDB flats are also smaller then before?). It is because the authority has 2 mouths (官字两个口) so that they can interpret the shoebox concept as they wish.

CapitaLand chief Liew Mun Leong said the government should intervene. He argued that “Singapore's land is very precious and you are wasting your scarce resources" by building shoebox apartments,”BloombergHow true is it? So, the biggest property developer in Southeast Asia is calling a stop to shoebox apartments in Singapore and thinking everyone is rich enough to buy big and bigger apartments.  If not local buyers then the cash rich foreign buyers can afford to buy the expensive condos. 
 Who want to stay in a small space as what Liew described as ‘not good for the welfare of the family.’?   Singapore is one of the most expensive cities in the world. If other major world cities have shoebox apartments, we certainly cannot run away to avoid the supply of it. These apartments are suitable for some people for either their lifestyle or investment preference and affordability.  What the government is afraid is if there is crash in this market, it will affect the whole property market. Then the confidence of Singapore property market will be affected.
 Yes. In certain way, shoebox units are not cheap, especially in terms of sq. ft. It is a ‘high risk high return’ game and it is very sensitive to market sentiments.  In addition, buyers are also having less holding power.  It could be another Leman Brothers for Singapore investors.  But this is capitalist society, isn’t? We should give due credit to those developers whose entrepreneurship leads the birth of shoebox apartments in Singapore.  Not everyone can acquire state lands like CapitaLand, small developers also can play their roles in fulfilling the demand of the niche market.  Of course, if there is any crash in the property market, these small developers will not be saved by the state.  If there are uncompleted units, too bad, it could be a total loss for buyers of shoebox homes.  By then, it will become a liability rather than an asset as the bankers will be knocking on your doors. Ultimately, the best hope and best investment decision, for middle and lower income families, is still the HDB flats.  This is why there is a huge concern about HDB prices; new and resale, areas; smaller than before, and waiting period.            Human or inhuman, the root cause is still the supply of HDB flats. The government knows it too well but they play it poorly, especially politically.


CapitaLand chief calls shoebox homes 'almost inhuman'04:45 AM May 25, 2012SINGAPORE - The Government should curb the rapid growth of shoebox apartments - homes smaller than 50 sq m - because they are "almost inhuman", CapitaLand chief executive Liew Mun Leong said yesterday.

"I am against shoebox developments. The Government should intervene. Singapore's land is very precious and you are wasting your scarce resources" by building shoebox apartments, he said in an interview with Bloomberg at the headquarters of South-east Asia's biggest developer.

"It's almost inhuman. It's not good for the welfare of the family to feel that constrained," said Mr Liew, 65, who grew up in a one-bedroom apartment with nine people and often slept along the corridor.

Mr Liew's comments came after the Government said last week it was concerned over the mushrooming of shoebox apartments in Singapore. Private home sales surged to a near three-year high last month, helped by record purchases of such units.

Mr Khaw Boon Wan, Minister for National Development, said in Parliament on May 14 the Government may introduce measures to regulate the sale of shoebox apartments after a record number were sold in the first quarter. Developers sold 1,764 shoebox units in the first quarter, or 27 per cent of all private home sales .

Apartments that cost less than S$750,000 made up 42 per cent of new home sales in the first quarter, up from 25 per cent in the previous quarter, the data showed. BLOOMBERG

"I am against shoebox developments. The Government should intervene. Singapore's land is very precious and you are wasting your scarce resources" by building shoebox apartments, he said in an interview with Bloomberg at the headquarters of South-east Asia's biggest developer. 
"It's almost inhuman. It's not good for the welfare of the family to feel that constrained," said Mr Liew, 65, who grew up in a one-bedroom apartment with nine people and often slept along the corridor.
Mr Liew's comments came after the Government said last week it was concerned over the mushrooming of shoebox apartments in Singapore. Private home sales surged to a near three-year high last month, helped by record purchases of such units.
Mr Khaw Boon Wan, Minister for National Development, said in Parliament on May 14 the Government may introduce measures to regulate the sale of shoebox apartments after a record number were sold in the first quarter. Developers sold 1,764 shoebox units in the first quarter, or 27 per cent of all private home sales . 
Apartments that cost less than S$750,000 made up 42 per cent of new home sales in the first quarter, up from 25 per cent in the previous quarter, the data showed. BLOOMBERGToday 25 May 2012

1 comment:

  1. Shoebox apartments happen to be the norm in HK. So in one sweeping statement, he is implying that most Hongkongeers are living in inhuman conditions.

    Recognise the common trait in condemning others just like our political leaders ?

    ReplyDelete