Increase cost making Singapore lose competitiveness.

Robin Low
3 min readJul 10, 2022

Why would rents go up when the economy is down?

How do the increase in fuel prices affect rents?

In Singapore, the rents are always going up, when you have so many REITs in town, everyone wants to make money just because they have money.

Sadly, this rent seeking behavior is prevalent even among government departments. Retailers and small businesses see higher risks as rent spikes upwards, and sadly, even the Pasar Malam (Night Market) which are short term events costs anything from $1,500 to upwards of $10,000 a month.

There are a lot of related parties involved. The CC will rent out the space to a commercial company (that set up tents and probably sub-lease the stalls within out to enterprising people) and these people are generally involved in the RC and they have little costs as they own the equipment after running the business for years, yet, they increase rents — because they can.

Yup, nothing wrong with excessive profits right?

Well, it does affect quality and innovation. The high costs prevents young enterprising people from testing out their new food ideas, and instead, go for safe popular foods.

This simply creates a lot of same types of food stores in these pasar malams, and they taste the same as well.

High rents also cause a lot of these vendors to reduce quantity and quality of their food. The recent pasar malam in Toa Payoh had such horrible Ramly burger that I threw out after taking a few bites.

These pasar malams are also not cheap, and as their rents are much higher than even the coffee shops, the food prices are higher as well.

Besides the novelty of going to the pasar malam, there is absolutely no reason to go otherwise.

Just looking at these government created situations, how is innovation going to thrive in the midst of high rent? Not only food is affected, a lot of other industries are also affected.

Robin Low

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