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Bertha HarianBertha Harian


Shoo-box flats

Can tell me again what is it about shoebox apartments that’s getting some people all hot and bothered? Latest stats published today attest to its popularity about HDB owners, who appear to be looking at them as a fine investment. So it’s small, but the thinking is that it’s good enough for expatriates who need a place to rent. Will it drive up property prices – which never seem to come down despite cooling measures? MND’s Khaw Boon Wan raised the issue twice, warning that he might intervene. I’m glad he also said that he would be reluctant to do so. What qualifies a politician to make decisions best left to the market? At the end, if those shoeboxes can’t be rented out, they will go out of fashion. Property developers will stop building them, and HDB owners will stop looking at them as a handy sideline. Perhaps, the right thing to do is simply to make property prices as transparent as possible, so buyers can make informed decisions. Khaw did it when he was Health minister, publishing price of medical procedures in both public and private hospitals. He didn’t intervene to keep prices down then – and health affects a lot more people compared to the numbers who want to buy new homes.

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An ex-journalist who can't get enough of the news after being in the business for 26 years

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