Monday, May 10, 2010

Why authorities should rein in Mickey Mouse flats

I think the authorities should focus on the "Mickey Mouse" flats that are increasingly popular in Singapore. "Mickey Mouse" flats by Singapore definition are flats that are no bigger than 800 sq ft. And no, I'm not talking specifically to the URA.

Mickey mouse flats less than 500 sq ft are typically one bedder apartments while those that are slightly bigger are 2 bedders. For 2 bedders, one will typically be the bedroom and the other, the study room. Wait... Do you see something out of the ordinary? No room for the children?

That's the upcoming trend in Singapore. Many hope to own their dream house (non-HDB) and will go to great lengths to obtain one. Just imagine if you spend almost a million dollars on a 2 bedder apartment, will you even think of having kids on top of repaying your mortgage? I leave it to you to answer that.

Why are developers increasingly building smaller flats? Profit of course. Is $600,000 for private housing cheap? What happens if I rephrase that to $1,200 psf for a 500 sq ft apartment? Now is that cheap? I think you get the drift. 

Many things are inter-connected to the decline in birth rate. Stress levels, cost of giving birth, living expenses and housing are just one of the few inter-connected areas and many of which are recurrent costs. If someone makes a big investment in a 1 bedder/2 bedder apartment, I can bet you that they have absolutely no intention of having a kid and most likely, they will have no means to even support a kid. Therefore, the authorities should be too fixated on a certain area but to look at the surrounding factors that contribute to this birth-rate problem. Who says housing has nothing to do with the decline in birth rate?

Do we want the profit-driven "market" to decide the increase/decline in birth rate?


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