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When the Government Intervenes Too Much….

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DSC_1743[1]I saw a HDB infographic at the MRT station at Boon Keng today and thought about whether the change in policy was thought through thoroughly enough by the policy makers.

I refer to the change in rules governing purchases of HDB flats from maximum 30 years to 25 years loan tenure.

On one hand the government seemed to have taken some of the messages of the last election in 2011 to heart and communicate its policies more, witness the infographics, the ads of the pioneer generation package in the form of TV advertisement using soccer analogy instead of its usual mailer with cartoons.

However, when policies are rammed through without consultation, feedback and proper studies, their overall effect is to make the ordinary Singaporean less well off.

If you refer to the two scenarios below, you will understand why:


Scenario A  
housing loan int 2.60%
index funds 5%
term 25
no. of mths 300
loan amount 420,000
housing loan payment each month -1,905.41
Investment term no. of months


Investment from 25-30 years 129,579.60

Scenario B  
housing loan int 2.60%
index funds 5%
term 30
no. of mths 360
loan amount 420,000
housing loan payment each month -1,681.43
Use difference for investment -223.99
Investment from 1 to 30 years 186,413.57


Scenario A is the one the government has changed to, where the tenure of loans cannot exceed 25 years. The rationale is to force people to buy flats within their means and then use the money that they will have saved from year 25 to 30 years into their retirement.

If we assume that,

1. The people taking the loan are rational and does what the government wants and will not use it for other purposes like fund their children’s education etc instead of funding their retirement.

2. The rate of return for investment is conservatively estimated at 5% with the assumption that the people will chose an index fund or exchange traded fund like the STI ETF which has yielded above 9% as at 16 Jul 2014.

In Scenario A, the family who finished their loan at year 25 and immediately invested the same housing loan amount to an index fund yielding 5% will have gotten about $129,579.

Which is not too bad.

What about Scenario B?

The folks who was under the old policy of a housing loan tenure of 30 years will have fared better by getting $56,833 more, if they had invested the difference of $223.99 each month to the same index fund earning 5% per annum.

The folks who was under the old policy will have fare better. Anyone who studies economics or finance will understand the effect of compounding interest.

So when the government forces the loan tenure to be shorter, it is in effect reducing the incomes of couples starting their families and reducing their ability to invest and finance their own retirements at the very start, when it matters THE MOST as early compounding means that the money pile at the end is much bigger,



1. http://www.spdrs.com.sg/etf/fund/fund_detail_STTF.html as at 16 Jul 2014 at 9.05%

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Modificacion de hipoteca said...
July 18, 2014 at 9:46 PM  

When the government intervenes too much, it makes businesses hard to earn more because of various taxes.

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