S'poreans' love of properties should not drive up prices beyond majority's reach: Gan Thiam Poh

He also chided asset-rich and cash-poor property owners who asked for government assistance despite having the option of monetising their assets.

Sulaiman Daud | February 25, 2021, 12:42 PM

Member of Parliament (MP) Gan Thiam Poh said that many Singaporeans are still focused on gaining wealth through property gains, but he hopes that Singaporeans will consider "other pathways to wealth creation" instead, such as creating a new product or service.

Speaking during the Budget debate on Feb. 25, the Ang Mo Kio representative spoke of Singaporean dreams to make money through property:

"Many Singaporeans dream of being a landlord with at least two properties – one to live in and one to rent out – or making capital gains from selling properties. There is nothing wrong with this dream."

However, Gan added:

"At the same time, we have to ensure Singaporeans' love of properties will not drive up property prices beyond the reach of the majority of Singaporeans. Let us remember that residences are primarily meant to be lived in as homes."

Some homeowners are asset-rich, but cash-poor

He added that Singaporeans should be mindful not to become "property slaves", or in other words, an asset-rich and cash-poor property owner.

Gan said that owners may end up in this situation because of sudden financial difficulties due to job losses or illness.

While these owners might be willing to down-size their homes, they would still need time for the sale of their properties to go through.

He said that there were also other asset-rich and cash-poor property owners who ask for government assistance, even though they had the option of renting out their rooms, or signing up for lease buyback schemes, which don't require them to move out.

Gan chided them, saying:

"Government resources are finite, and financial support and assistance must be targeted at low-income groups who do not have the option of monetising assets."

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Top image from Gan Thiam Poh's Facebook page and Steven HWG via Unsplash.