It’s hard for people to compare income and net worth with each other. The easy (and sometimes superficial) way is to compare the stuff they wear, the cars they drive, and the type of housing they stay in.
We know that driving a BMW and staying in a condo both exudes a certain snob factor.
But a car is a big liability in Singapore, a burden. A beautiful car may or may not make you a snob, but it certainly makes you poorer. Without even looking at the value of the car itself, just its PARF and COE become increasingly worthless as time goes by.
So, we’ll not talk about cars. It will be a topic for another day.
What about the housing type one stays in? A piece of property – whether a house, a HDB flat or a condo – is an asset (unlike a car). So, regardless of whether it gives you a good feeling, it’s arguably a reasonable yardstick to compare wealth.
Very generally, and perhaps stereotypically (& controversially), HDB is cheaper than condo, and condo is cheaper than landed property.
According to Singapore 2007, Statistical Highlights (link), 77.8% of all residential dwelling units are HDB flats, 14.3% are condominiums and private flats, and 6.2% are private houses.
The ratio of HDB dwellers to condo dwellers is thus 5.44 to 1. For every family staying in a condo, there are more than 5 families living in HDB flats.
And going by our
generalisation controversial generalisation mentioned 3 paragraphs ago, if you live in landed property, you are in the top 6.2%. If you stay in condo, you are in the top 20.5%.