Our wishes for Singapore on SG50!

By The Folks @PropTalk - August 10, 2015 No Comments

The wife and I have finally gotten the time to sit down and write about our wishes for Singapore on its 50th year of independence. We had initiated this "wishing" column last year and while taking a refresher on what we had written then versus what we have in mind now, we were rather surprised to find that quite a few similarities had remained:

1. Do the LABB

What we had wished for in 2014: LABB, which is our acronym for "Let Able Buyers Buy". We are not seeking a total removal of ABSD for Singaporeans buying a second private property. But with the TDSR already showing its "teeth" in restraining buyers from overstretching themselves financially and SSD putting a curb on speculative activities, maybe the government can consider reducing the ABSD from the current 7% to say, 3%?

What we wish for in 2015: LABB is all the more relevant given the deluge of new private home units that had come on stream over the past year and with more expected to TOP over the next year. With the continual effectiveness of TDSR and SSD, a reduction or even abolishment of ABSD may help to reduce the increasing stockpile of new units in the market. 

2. Upsize the shoebox

What we had wished for in 2014: The government had already tried to manage the proportion of shoebox units in suburban areas by insisting an average unit size of 70sqm gross floor area for new developments. We say let's do one better by putting a minimum size requirement for all "small format" units and set this at, say 400sqft. With the demand for such unit type waning in both the sales and rental fronts, we are probably already in an excess supply situation. Maybe buyers and tenants have finally realised that a space of around 300sqft (some even less) is really a tad too small? 

What we wish for in 2015: As the hype for shoebox units continued to wane over the past year and situations of over-supply and lack-of-rental had started staring us in the face, the wife and I would extend our wish for the government to not only upsize the shoebox but also set a limit on the actual number of such type of units for each new development. 

3. Strengthen our MRT, not just the SAF

What we had wished for in 2014:  While residential projects near/next to a MRT station is still a big draw, this notion is increasingly being challenged these days with the more-than-frequent train break-downs. Although the occasional "walking tour of our MRT train tunnels" sounds fun, it may not be so once this becomes a regular chore. So if the one-point-something million fine that the government had imposed so far is no deterrent enough, maybe we can consider increasing this to, say 10 million?

What we wish for in 2015: What could we say? Even the latest Circle Line had been giving commuters "break-down pains" and with 12 stations of the Downtown Line 2 (DTL2) scheduled to start operation in December, one could only pray that all the maintenance and water-proofing works would be completed in time to provide Singaporeans with more reliable train rides. And we remain convinced that the government should have taken us up on the $10 million fine...

4. Better water/glass proofing at our Shopping Malls

What we had wished for in 2014:  And we aren't talking about those old and dilapidated ones rather the glittering (literally speaking, from water and glass fragments) new mega malls that have commenced business recently. While an interior water fountain may be an attraction, a "waterfall" from bursting water pipes is not. Same goes with shattering glass roofs or doors. And speaking of glass door, this is meant to keep the air-conditioning in and not as a form of amusement for toddlers - we sure hope that parents with young children can keep this in mind.

What we wish for in 2015: We like to add sewage water and rat proofing to the list. Getting rained on by sewage water or serving rats in hot-pots are not exactly the kind of "Uniquely Singapore" dining experience that customers would desire.

5. Cut back on "bunching" of GLS especially in new towns

This one is new and what we mean is the launching of numerous Government Land Sales (GLS) sites within the same area at consecutive tenders. While this might have provided buyers with more options, it also mean a higher chance of low take-up for some projects due to severe competition happening on/about the same time. We have already seen this happening with new EC launches in places such as Punggol and Woodlands.

Finally, if the wife and I might add one of our PERSONAL wish on SG50: That there would be more professional courtesy shown by parties who write to us asking about possible collaborations.

The wife and I had been contacted by two separate parties recently and after we had responded to their emails with our suggestions/proposals, they suddenly gone MIA! We had initially thought that maybe our replies had fallen through the cracks somehow and thus had proceeded to send another "By the way, did you receive our reply and if so, can you please let us know?" email to the parties concerned a couple of days later. But all we had gotten so far is deafening silence. 

We could have live with a short and simple reply such as "thanks but no thanks". Or maybe one that says "we are currently digesting your email and will let you know". Or even an outright "your proposal is way off the chart so kindly bugger off" rejection. But we find it rather unbecoming (actually downright rude) for them to simply ignore the people who had taken time and effort to respond to their emails. And what we find most incredible is that one of the party is actually the media agency (which we understand to mean that they specialize in communication) representing the largest private developer in Singapore while the other had proclaimed itself to be quite the guru (whom we were surprised at its lack of professional courtesy) for the real estate market! 

Maybe the wife and I are just too old-schooled and had been brought up in a generation whereby we were taught to acknowledge and respond back to people as a matter of courtesy so that everyone could have the necessary closure to move on. This is especially if we had initiated the communication in the first place. Have times really changed that much, or is this just part and parcel of the ills of progress? 

And what is YOUR wish (property-related or otherwise) on SG50?

Click on the link to read our wishes for Singapore last year: Our wishes for Singapore on its 49th birthday!


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