When I got the keys to my unit, I was quite excited and went to unit immediately to have a look. When I opened the door, I was very disappointed because the apartment was much smaller than the show unit. It turned out there were 2 types of units with 3 rooms and I bought the one with the smaller floor area. The unit was much smaller than the 4 room HDB flat my dad bought 20 years for one-tenth the price I paid for the apartment. This kitchen felt like it was half the size of the one in my dad's HDB flat. The children's room was smaller than my own room in my dad's flat. Inviting a few friends over and you feel the squeeze. When we have gatherings, we have to always trim down the list because place is too small. There are I things to want to buy to improve my life but cannot do so because the house is too small.
A few months ago, a friend came to my place to give me his wedding invitation card. He had just purchased an apartment and the down payment wiped out all his savings. When he came into my apartment, he said, "Wow! Your apartment is so big!". He was not being sarcastic, He bought an apartment much smaller than mine and paid double what I paid.
The incredible shrinking homes of newly married Singaporeans due to prices of homes rising much faster income is phenomena that has been with us for the past 25 years. A 5-room flat today is much smaller than the 5 room flat 10 years ago which is smaller than a 5-room flat purchased 20 years ago. Smaller homes affect the quality of life.
"Our families are smaller. In the old days, we have very large families living in a flat. Today, the family is two, three, four (people)." - HDB CEO[Link]
Actually for many Singaporean families, the inability to own a bigger place is the reason why couples have fewer children. It becomes extremely unpleasant to pack 5 kids and 2 parents into a typical 700 sq feet 3-room flat. Kids grow up and you will soon have 7 adults in that small space. Many Singaporean families have fewer kids because property is expensive and all they can afford is a small place comfortable only for a family of 3 or 4 people. The HDB CEO got is logic all wrong. In fact if you look at the places with the lowest fertility rate, it correlates with high home prices. The lowest fertlity rates are in Singapore, Hong Kong and Macau:
|229||Hong Kong (PRC)||1.04|
These are also places where property is so expensive people typically live in small apartments. Our nearest neighbor Malaysia has a fertility rate of 2.70. More than double the fertility rate of Singapore. Malaysians do not love having children twice as much as us. What they have is lower population density and larger homes. In fact studies in the past years have shown that higher population density leads to lower fertility rates:
"Where you have high amounts of high-density housing you have very low birth
rates ... where you have density, you tend to have very few children."- Professor Kotkin, fellow at California's Chapman University and London think-tank the Legatum Institute.[Link]
The HDB's idea of building smaller and higher density housing and PAP's policy to import foreigners increasing the population density on our small island is driving down our fertility rates. Instead of removing the causes of the low fertility rates, they use the outcome of lower fertility rates to justify the need to bring in import more people and build smaller homes for Singaporeans. This mixing up of cause and effect puts Singaporeans in a vicious cycle of falling fertility and increasing foreign influx. Expanding the population by importing people puts a enormous strain on the long term citizens of this country - our numbers will languish and we will end up a minority in our own country.