Singapore, situated at the heart of South-East Asia, is a small island nation. The population is predominantly Chinese diaspora, originating from the Fujian province of China during World Wars I & II, with notable minorities of Caucasians, Indians, and Malays. When it comes to the real estate market, Singapore has generally foreigner-friendly policies for investing in properties. Nevertheless, to prevent a property bubble, authorities introduced stringent restrictions and taxes a few years back in response to rampant property speculation.
Singapore's story is one of remarkable economic development and wealth accumulation, yet it also points to the intense pressures placed on its citizens. Its real estate market is vibrant, with favorable policies attracting international investment, although restrictions have been placed to prevent speculative bubbles. The high income and world-class infrastructure enjoyed by Singaporeans are significant achievements, yet the country's low happiness index score is a crucial concern. Amidst the rush to prosperity, the demands placed on individuals may result in high stress and reduced personal time, suggesting a need for balance. The high percentage of millionaires is impressive, but it also underscores the wide wealth disparities that exist. Overall, while Singapore is an economic powerhouse, the quest for happiness and social equality remains an ongoing challenge.
Compared to its Malaysian counterpart, Singapore stands out as a highly developed first-world country. This advancement allows its citizens to earn high incomes and enjoy world-class infrastructure. The strength of the Singaporean Dollar further illustrates this point, with its value having significantly increased from RM0.80 to SGD1 during the country's early independence years, to the present rate of SGD1 to RM3.30.
The following chart shows the stark contrast of Singapore's stellar economic growth compared to its poor neighbour Malaysia:
On the flip side, Singapore has one of the lowest human happiness index scores globally. Given the limited land mass and natural resources, most Singaporeans have to work hard to thrive, often leaving little time for relaxation. This harsh reality, however, has led to Singapore having the highest per capita rate of millionaires in the world, with three out of ten citizens being millionaires.
Additionally, the property price boom in Singapore has created thousands of "mom and pop" millionaires across the board, with most Singaporean citizens owning at least one Housing Development Board (HDB) flat. The country boasts one of the world's lowest unemployment rates and mortgage interest rates. With a stable job, a person can secure a 30-year home mortgage for as little as 2.xx%.
The following chart shows Singapore's overnight interest rates over the years: