Many Singaporeans are lamenting that the property prices, especially that of government-subsidised Housing Development Board (HDB) properties, have gone up exorbitantly. Looking at iProperty’s HDB Singapore website, a 5-room flat in Kim Tian area goes for $780,000. Just 10 years ago, in 2003, the same property can be bought for around $360,000. For a couple to buy a property of $360,000 now, one has to look at non-mature estates like Punggol and Sengkang. These areas are really far away from city and if one doesn’t drive, it will take around an hour or more to commute into the city area. Couple that with rising car prices, getting a car for easier commuting is out of the question. This is a worrying trend for young people who are about to start a family.
Will rising flat prices and car prices be the new norm for Singapore? Only time will tell. Till then, I guess we can only invest in ourselves instead of doing what most Singaporeans love to do, complain. What do I mean by investing in ourselves? It means amassing the knowledge needed to protect ourselves from rising prices. Someone can take away your physical possessions but no one can take away your knowledge. One way to protect ourselves is investing itself. Investing in stocks has proven to be the long-term hedge to rising prices. The Straits Times Index (STI) has returned around 13.62% per annum from 2003 to 2013. To put things into perspective, during the same period, the Kim Tian flat mentioned above has risen only 8% per annum. By investing and not just relying on our salary, we can counter the rising prices of goods in Singapore.
Therefore, instead of undertaking our favourite pastime of complaining, we should take things into our own hands and invest for our future. We cannot control the rising flat and car prices but we can control one thing – the amount of knowledge we want to amass to protect ourselves.