Singapore: The perils of a gilded age - The Economist

The Economist, 3 Aug 2013
FORGET the stereotypes of Singaporeans as a cautious and conservative bunch. It’s now “spend, spend, spend” in the small but wealthy city-state, where old scruples about going into debt seem to have been cast aside. Singaporeans are among the most indebted in Asia, relative to income. According to Standard Chartered, Singapore’s households have loans averaging 151% of annual income, second only to Malaysia’s in South-East Asia.
Housing debt in particular has soared, rising by 18% a year over the past three years; home loans as a share of GDP have jumped from 35% to 46% over the same period. According to figures released this week by Credit Bureau Singapore, the number of borrowers with at least two mortgages as well as other loans has risen by 78%, to 48,782, since 2008. In a population of just 5m, these numbers count. Full story