01 April 2010
Fools - and not just for April 1st ...
If you know others and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles;
If you do not know others but know yourself, you win one and lose one;
If you do not know others and do not know yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.
1. Land supply. As part of the effort to “know others”, let’s understand a little about land supply.
In Singapore, there are two sources of land supply:
(a) From en bloc sales – Privately owned freehold land or remaining tenure for leasehold land, most of which are typically in prime, choice, popular, mature areas or districts. Condo owners – NEVER EVER FORGET THIS – Location, location, location. Without you, how can corporate developers ever get hold of such choice sites that are already built-up?
But evaluating the above change FROM ANOTHER ANGLE, it amounts to foreplay with no commitment to go all the way!!! Man, this is no rough horseplay! Rather, it is a slow dance called the foxtrot where G ("G" for "Gentleman" or "Gahmen"?) holds F ("F" for "Foxy lady" or "Fox"?) up close and personal – slow-slow, quick-quick, slow-slow, quick-quick.
Gahmen should take heed that they are mere "custodians", and NOT "owners" of public coffers!!! What is already in there and what could potentially go in there belongs to Singapore citizens! At the expense of potentially compromising our public coffers, the one REDEEMING FACTOR of the "bypass" route is that the tender would NOT be awarded if the Reserve Price (ie, 85% of EMV) is not hit. Whew ... that's a close shave! Even then, as things stand, it could potentially be a 15% haircut! When you are talking about hundreds of millions or tens of billions of dollars, that 15% haircut is more expensive than the Guinness World Records' most expensive haircut by London's Stuart Phillips for Beverley Lateo in 2007 at £8,000 (perhaps records set by royalty don't count as the latest highest is chalked up the Sultan of Brunei)! [Incidentally, Ms Lateo is a retired Italian property developer! See, things just add-up, eh? Vixens (female foxes) enjoying expensive hair cuts ... at our expense, no doubt!]
In connection with the above, it was interesting to note the following views of a Mr Philip Ng Lin Ai, Director, OCSC Global, who wrote in Business Times (22 Nov 2009): "I have written to URA a few times about the need to review the policy of putting sites in the reserve list as I strongly felt that the policy is seriously flawed. URA maintained that the reserve list policy is market-driven. The property market is dominated by a few big players with large land banks. The motivation of the major developers is to maximise profit and value of their land bank and not to maintain price stability. Does it make sense to increase supply and thus lower the value of their land bank by making a bid for the sites in the reserve list? The way the property game is played is intriguing. Developers play with their cards close to their chests. URA not only plays with its cards on the table but also shows its next card. ... URA should consider the impact of its policy on those who buy properties for their own use, particularly Singaporeans. Sharp hikes in prices result in massive transfer of wealth from buyers to banks and developers. It has also serious social ramifications - on population growth, savings for retirement, and leads to discontentment." [Bold emphasis is by The Pariah.]