COMMENTARY

Affordable Housing: The Singapore Story

How a dual-pronged public–private approach has helped create a nation of homeowners

Over the past decades, we have observed the dramatic escalation of house prices in many cities around the world. What is more serious is that house prices have risen faster than household incomes in some of these cities.

According to Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey, the median multiple—the measurement of housing affordability by linking median house prices to median household incomes—has significantly increased in popular global cities, including Hong Kong, Sydney and London, between 2013 and 2017.

Singapore’s public housing authority has directly provided homes for more than 80 per cent of its resident population

As a result, growing numbers of low- and middle-income residents in these cities have had to pay a higher share of their income for their rental and purchased housing, and in turn, reduce non-housing consumption and compromise their well-being.

Hence, alleviating housing affordability stress is one of the most important public concerns.


LEE KWAN OK
Associate Professor,
Department of Real Estate National University of Singapore (NUS)
Lee is also the deputy director of the MSc in Environmental Management (MEM) programme at NUS.

Her research interests include neighbourhood dynamics, household residential choice, real estate markets and urban policy analysis. Her research has appeared in leading academic journals, such as the American Economic Review: Papers & Proceedings, Journal of Urban Economics, Journal of Regional Science and Journal of Law and Economics.

She currently sits on the editorial boards of the International Journal of Urban Sciences and the Journal of Korea Planning Association. She also served as an international commentator for the Cityscape’s volume on affordable housing programmes in the US, which was published by the Office of Policy Development and Research of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Prior to joining NUS, Lee received her PhD in Policy, Planning, and Development from the University of Southern California and Master in Urban Planning from Harvard University.


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