Several questions were posed in Parliament recently after it was reported that a Yishun coffee shop was sold for $40 million, while a Tampines one went for a whopping $41.68 million.
National Development Minister Desmond Lee told Parliament that the resale market for HDB coffee shop transactions is monitored by the Housing Board. Also monitored are the prices of food sold at these shops.
Furthermore, the HDB “will not hesitate to review its policies to address affordability concerns”, if this is needed, he added.
After the sale of the Tampines coffee shop, there were tenants who said that rental prices had surged, The Straits Times reported.
In a written reply to questions from several MPs, including Workers’ party’s Jamus Lim (Sengkang GRC) and Progress Singapore Party non-constituency MP Hazel Poa, Mr Lee pointed out that multi-million dollar coffee shop sales such as the Tampines and Yishun ones are a minority, with 70 per cent of coffee shops sold since 2010 priced under $10 million.
With regard to rent control, Mr Lee said this could end up reducing the incentive for coffee shop owners to invest in improving their coffee shops to provide better services and facilities to customers.”
What the government does instead is to make accessible affordable and quality food in public housing estates by ensuring a number of coffee shops would be accessible, as well as regulating price-quality tenders for coffee shops run by HDB.
People living near the recently-bought Tampines and Yishun coffee shops have access to several others in the vicinity, he added.
Thirty new coffee shops will be opened in the next four years, while 34 others were built in the last four.
The minister said, “Ultimately, consumers must be given the choice to go elsewhere. This applies to stallholders as well. If the rents set by coffee shop owners are too high, stallholders could move to other eating establishments, resulting in vacant stalls and holding costs for the owners.”
And with the regulation of price tenders ensure that affordable meals will be made available, with stall operators offering food starting from $3 prices.
“We are mindful of the need to ensure that residents have access to affordable cooked food options, and of the potential impact of resale transactions,” he added.
Netizens, however, asked why the prices of the Tampines and Yishun were allowed to get so high in the first place.
And despite Mr Lee’s assurance of HDB monitoring coffee shop sale transactions, netizens urged the government to take action now.
Others worried that the multi-million dollar sale of coffee shops would “become the norm.”