Singapore Sets New Record for Family Car Ownership Certificate Cost


In a historic surge, the cost of acquiring a certificate for ownership of a large family car in Singapore has skyrocketed to an unprecedented S$146,002 ($106,619; £87,684).

Since its introduction in 1990, Singapore's 10-year Certificate of Entitlement (COE) system has served as a pivotal anti-congestion measure. To purchase a vehicle in Singapore, prospective car owners must possess a valid COE. These certificates are auctioned biweekly, with the government meticulously regulating the quantity available.

Coupled with taxes and import duties, this system has solidified Singapore's status as the world's priciest country to buy a car. For instance, a standard Toyota Camry Hybrid carries a price tag of approximately S$250,000 in Singapore, encompassing the COE and associated taxes, rendering it six times costlier than in the United States.

The COE spectrum encompasses distinct categories tailored for smaller cars, motorcycles, and commercial vehicles. Over recent months, COE prices have persistently reached record highs, propelled by a post-pandemic economic rebound and in anticipation of forthcoming government rebates reductions slated for the next year.

The entry-level COE for a car now commands S$104,000, marking a nearly threefold surge since 2020 when the demand for new cars dwindled amid the pandemic.

The "Open" category, distinguished by its lack of restrictions on the type of cars it can be allocated to, has also surged to a historic high of S$152,000.

Alice Chang of Toyota Borneo Motors conveyed to the BBC her anticipation of the COE costs surge, attributing it to the robust demand for new cars. She noted, "Whenever we have luxury cars, buyers are queuing up outside our store."

Despite its modest size, Singapore consistently ranks among the nations with the highest number of millionaires globally. However, for the average Singaporean, with an approximate salary of S$70,000, the COE framework presents a substantial hurdle to car ownership.

The government is resolute in its efforts to promote public transportation utilization, acknowledged as one of the world's premier systems. Just last year, over S$60 billion was earmarked for the expansion and modernization of the nation's rail network over the coming decade.

With a population hovering around 5.5 million, Singapore concluded the previous year with just shy of 1 million privately owned vehicles on its streets. The volume of new COEs offered hinges on the rate at which older vehicles are phased out of circulation.