Hard to get that first flat? Not so

I refer to the Straits Times report “Hard to get that first flat? Not so” dated 8 Oct 2009.

Mr Mah reportedly said that some of the assertions made by home seekers are “not entirely truthful”. According to Mr Mah, it is not that buyers aren’t getting their flats but rather buyers have gotten them but have rejected them. To support his case, Mr Mah cited HDB figures which showed 8 in 10 first time buyers of build-to-order flats getting their flats on their first try.

However, a Straits Times report on 7 Oct 2009 showed 12,728 bids for 2,132 flats with analysts predicting the number of bids to hit 20,000. How can 8 in 10 buyers get their flats first time round when there are 10 buyers for every flat on sale? More likely than not, 9 in 10 buyers will be left disappointed instead. So it is probably Mr Mah himself who is “not being entirely truthful” by focusing only on build-to-order flats which forms only a fraction of the total demand for new flats.

Mr Mah also highlighted the case of Mr Soh Say Kiat, who claimed to have applied 18 times since 2001 but HDB records since 2002 showed only 12 applications. Since HDB records is from 2002 onwards, is it not possible that the 6 unaccounted applications were filed in 2001? So it may be Mr Mah rather than Mr Soh who is “not being entirely truthful”.

Furthermore, in the case of Mr Soh, out of 12 “recorded” applications, only 3 resulted in invitations for viewing. So the success rate is only 3 out of 12, hardly the 8 out of 10 depicted by Mr Mah. So again it seems like it is Mr Mah who is “not being entirely truthful” rather than Mr Soh.

To Mr Mah, as long as a flat has been allocated to you, it means his job is done, never mind if the unit is facing a rubbish dump or on the second floor. Mr Mah should set a good example by choosing one of those unwanted units for himself to show us what it means to be “not choosy”. And in the spirit of “willing buyer, willing seller”, as far as Mr Mah is concerned, whether you’re willing or not you better “take it”. “Leaving it” would be tantamount to giving up your opportunity to a flat.

Mr Mah also advised couples to plan ahead to cut waiting time as though people can plan when to meet their future spouse and when to fall in love. Perhaps we should have build-to-order brides and grooms too.

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