REBUTTING LEONG SZE HIAN’S ARTICLE (What’s it like to own a house with a meagre $850 a month?) – a comment from Ray

(TOC : What’s it like to own a house with a meagre $850 a month?)

comment from Ray at the above TOC article. very informative.


Rebuttal No 1: Owning flat is better than renting a flat

In a study by Rowe and Stegman (1994) on impact of home ownership on low income families, it was revealed there are many social benefits in allowing low income families to own a flat. It gave them a sense of pride, and having an impact on their socio responsibility towards the community as a whole. In an article by Donald Lambro, it was stated that home ownership means hope for the poor.

Can Leong Sze Hian provide any evidence or study to support his claim that renting a flat is better? Or did his claim came from out of the blue in his mind, without any proper study?
Contrary to Leong Sze Hian’s claim, I would like to point out that what this case illustrates is perhaps not so much on rather the unique situation that only a $20,732 HDB loan is required, but the commercial services rendered to the buyers by HDB, which commercial banks will avoid to provide.

Rebuttal No 2: Instilling fear in us?

For families facing financial difficulties, HDB provides various form of assistance for servicing the mortgage loan. You can go to

Such services are absent or hardly provided by loans from the commercial banks. Readers should be interested to know that during economic crisis, commercial banks do recall your loan if the property value goes below the loan amount. This will put the house owners in difficult financial situations.

Will commercial banks provide housing loan in the first place to low income earners?
Will commercial banks give out a loan of $19,000 to be repaid over 30 years?
In cases where there is a default in payment, will commercial banks prefer foreclosures or reduce the repayment amount for the borrowers?

The answers to all the above is “No”. But HDB assisted to provide such loans and where a default occurs, foreclosure is not one of the first few options to be implemented.

Rebuttal no 3: Flat taken over by HDB automatically when owner die?

What if the owner die, get incapacitated etc? HDB provides insurance under the Home Protection Scheme. I quote from the HDB website: Should the insured member become permanently incapacitated or die prematurely before age 65, the CPF Board will pay the outstanding housing loan based on the amount insured under the HPS.

What Leong Sze Hian has been doing is to show the imperfectness of our HDB system. Can Leong Sze Hian show any government housing system worldwide that is perfect? Our HDB system is better than most other developed countries, although the high property prices and small living area are 2 main things which I disagree on as the masses are affected.

Are we worse off than other countries?
In the United States, up to 200,000 military veterans are homeless after their service in the military end. In Australia where you have strong welfare and supports for the poor, there are still some homeless people which you can easily find. If you’re in Sydney, just go to the High Court building near Hyde Park in the evening, and see the homeless sleeping in cardboards.

Singapore is not perfect and we have plenty of room for improvement, be it from lowering property prices for newcomers to better living environment. I’ve seen relatives who lived in one room rental flat and moved into a 3 room flat which they proudly owned.

Leong Sze Hian should not pass a sweeping statement and judgement on the poor that they should live in rental flat, nor should he just criticised blindly without checking facts. It shows how bias and shallow the article is.


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