Does Singapore have too many property agents?

Robin Low
3 min readOct 25, 2023

I live in Toa Payoh and get almost a tray full of ads asking me to sell my HDB flat. Almost once a week, an agent would knock on the door to ask whether I want to sell my HDB flat to make a profit.

While I get it that maybe people may be interested to buy a HDB flat in the area, having this large amount of ads is really mindblowing. (Average 2–5 a day)

I get it, somehow the government wants people to believe that their overpriced public housing is an asset. And many people has gotten rich “flipping” properties and deal with real estate. However, I was just wondering, how healthy is this, especially when we are driving up prices of “public housing”?

In the news, it is common to see HDB flats selling over S$1M. I don’t even think this is right. I strongly feel that housing is a basic human need, and when people speculate and make money in real estate, making even public housing unaffordable — something is very wrong.

Many household incomes are still not so high, what’s worse is that singles are not allowed to buy HDB flats till the age of 35. And by the age of 35, housing prices have gotten out of hand. Even when they can afford new public housing, they face the limitation of being able to buy only 2-room Flexi BTO units.

With the new ruling of a 10 year MOP period, this causes a problem for singles who decide to get married, because they cannot sell their 2-room BTO units and because of it, cannot buy bigger units (and how are they expected to have kids?)

Something is really broken about this public housing system? I think housing system should not be used for speculation or to cash out. This system is way too abused and benefits foreigners who come over to work and become PR, just to buy a HDB flat, and when they leave, their HDB flat appreciates and they return to their countries with a pile of money and live in a big house.

For Singaporeans, we have no choice, when housing is expensive, yes our property appreciate and we can rent for higher, and sell for more, but for most people who own only 2 property, we will also need to buy another one at a high price, not benefiting from the appreciation, and worse — pay more property tax.

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Robin Low

Author, Traveler, Innovator. Focuses on Social Impact and Innovation.