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Singaporeans will have to pay tens of thousands of dollars to own a car, as costs in the wealthy city-state have soared amid rising inflation and a slowing economy, Reuters reported.
Since 1990, Singapore has run a “certificate of entitlement” (COE) system to regulate the number of vehicles on its roads. To own a car, individuals must participate in a competitive bidding process to secure a COE, which is valid for 10 years.
Recently, the prices for certificates have skyrocketed to a record minimum of $76,000 – more than four times the price in 2020, CNN wrote.
That amount is only for Category A cars, with a small to medium-sized engine. Singaporeans who want to own a larger car – such as an SUV – will need to pay more than $106,000.
For instance, the price of a new Toyota Camry hybrid can cost around $183,000 in Singapore, an amount that includes a COE, registration fees and taxes.
Observers said the price of buying a car in Singapore is roughly equivalent to the cost of a small, government-subsidized apartment in the country.
They explained that the fluctuation in COE prices was influenced by various factors, including economic conditions and the number of vehicles on the road. During the COVID-19 pandemic, COE prices dropped as fewer people were purchasing cars. However, as economic activity rebounded post-pandemic, car purchases surged, driving up COE prices.
This astronomical cost has made car ownership unattainable for many middle-class Singaporeans, disrupting the aspirational “Singapore Dream” of upward social mobility, which often included owning a car alongside other markers of success, like home ownership.
Some individuals who previously purchased cars when COE prices were lower are now selling their vehicles to profit from the surging demand.
Even so, other citizens remain ambivalent, saying that Singapore still has a good and stable transport system.