The economy that is Singapore

At S$86,889 ($67,000) just for a permit, the total price of a Volkswagen Passat in Singapore is about the same as the median U.S. metropolitan home. A 25 percent jump in residents in seven years, coupled with the world’s highest proportion of millionaire households, has fueled a 10-fold surge in license prices over three years. The government said last week it will postpone plans to cut the number of permits available and slow traffic growth, responding to the outcry over soaring prices.

…A new 2012 Passat sedan made by Volkswagen AG (VOW), the world’s second-largest carmaker, costs about $152,000 in Singapore, including the license, according to classified ads website The median price of a U.S. metropolitan area home is $158,100, National Association of Realtors data show.

So-called open-category permit, which can be used to buy any type of vehicle, reached S$92,010 in April, the highest since the end of 1994 when a record of S$110,500 was reached. At the latest auction May 23, the licenses went for S$86,889, compared with S$8,501 three years ago. The permits give the right to own a car for 10 years. The next auction is tomorrow.

Besides having to bid for certificates at auctions that are held every two weeks, Singaporeans also pay registration fees and taxes that can amount to 150 percent of the market value of a vehicle, according to the Land Transport Authority website.

There is more here, and for the pointer I thank Ken Feinstein.


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