To own a car in Singapore, a buyer must bid for a certificate that now costs $106,000, as a post-pandemic recovery has driven up the cost of its vehicle quota system to record highs.
The city-state has a 10-year “certificate of entitlement” (COE) system. Introduced in 1990, the COE controls the number of vehicles in the country, which is home to 5.9 million people and can be covered by road in less than an hour.
The quota, offered through a bidding process, has made it the most expensive city in the world to buy a car, with the COE more than quadrupling from 2020 prices for a large car on October 4 to S$146,002 ($106,376.68).
Besides COE, registration fees and taxes, a new standard Toyota Camry Hybrid currently costs S$251,388 ($183,000) in Singapore – much higher than $28,855 in the US and a small, government-subsidised flat in the city-state at about S$125,000.
In 2020, when fewer people in Singapore were driving, the price of COEs dropped to about S$30,000. A post-COVID increase in economic activity has led to more car purchases, with the total number of vehicles on the road capped at about 950,000. The number of new COEs available depends on how many older cars are deregistered.