Another commenter tried to read Tharman's mind and he did a good job. Tharman's claim is probably based on a combined grant of AHG + SHG [Link] that works out to be $60,000. But to qualify for these grants a man with low income of $1000 has to be married to a PR or citizen - this is an assumption because many low income workers have not been able to get PR for their foreign spouses who are granted only long term visit passes. Assuming he can find a 2-rm flat costing about $100,000 near his workplace for $1000 (it has to be near otherwise transport costs will drain his $1000 income), he will service a 30 yr loan of about $40K paying $160 from his CPF every month.. Assuming none of the numerous problems crop up during this 30 yrs and he lives a spartan lifestyle and doesn't have children(?), he owns the flat after working continuously for 3 decades. So what does he do the day he stops work? He probably has to reverse-mortgage his home back to the HDB because he has no money to retire. So what is the purpose of this whole exercise? ....To show that you can struggle for 30 yrs to own a flat that you have to give back when you finish paying....and prove Minister Tharman right!? To perform this feat with no financial buffer serving as margin for error...many of these families will lose their home along the way due to unemployment, illness, emergencies, inflation in cost of living etc.
You try to make those low wages do wonders when you should be asking why wages are so low - no developed nation has workers who work full time earning $1000 a month except in Singapore. Minister Tharman in making his extraordinary claim simply expose the extraordinary income disparity the PAP system has created.
END OF UPDATE
In an earlier posting, I wrote about a family with an income of $1200 living in a rented flat not having enough money to see the doctor when they get sick. The mother has not seen a doctor for 10 years even when she gets sick according to The New Paper.
Minister Tharman now makes this claim that a family with income of $1000 can afford to own a flat. Maybe he forgot to tell us his assumptions. Engineers will tell you that you can always adjust your assumptions to get the conclusions you want. The family has to live on maggie noodles. They cannot get sick and see the doctor. They have to wear cheap clothes that last for decades. They cannot furnish or renovate the flat they purchase. They cannot have school-going children. If they have children, there is no budget for entertainment - no movies, no electricity for computers, no handphones, etc. They have to walk and not take the bus if the destination is within 2 km to save money. They cannot go out unless it is for work or groceries. They have to bathe once a day (or every 2 days) only to keep the water bill down. If the bread winner break his leg during the 30 years he has to service his housing loan he can set it back himself and go to work the next day because low paid workers are fired if they take too many days of MC.
What are Tharman's assumptions?
Someone commented in an earlier posting that a Canadian MP tried to live on $600 welfare to find out if it is possible to do so in Canada. Somebody from the PAP should take up Minister Tharman's challenge to raise a family ..and own a flat with an income of $1000....otherwise this is a fairytale created with a busload of assumptions.