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Singapore indexed among cities with second least affordable housing

Ravi Philemon

– Singapore listed among cities with second least affordable housing in Knight Frank’s Global Affordability Monitor.

– The Global Affordability Monitor which indexed the Republic as being among cities with ‘second least affordable housing took into consideration three key measures – house price to income ratio, rent as a proportion of income and real house price growth compared to real income growth.

– Knight Frank which placed Singapore as being among cities with ‘second least affordable housing, estimates affordable housing gap across the world has reached $740 billion.

Knight Frank, an independent global property consultancy, today launches its inaugural Urban Futures report. According to the report, the affordable housing gap – as measured by the difference between house prices and income – reached an estimated US$740 billion globally in 2018.

least affordable housing
least affordable housing

Image credit: Pixabay

Nicholas Holt, Head of Research for Asia-Pacific, says, “With high levels of urbanisation over the last few years, Asia-Pacific has witnessed house price growth outstrip income growth in the majority of the region’s cities. A major objective for policy makers around the region is to address concerns around affordability. Some measures that can ease pressure on homebuyers include increased support for first time buyers, along with supply side measures and lending restrictions.

“As cities’ economic prospects improve, the importance of supporting affordable housing provision will come to the fore. Innovative solutions, coupled with new ways of city planning, can help to address some of the longer-term issues surrounding affordability.”

Factors influencing housing affordability globally include:

  • Rapid urbanisation: According to the UN, 55% of the world’s population lived in urban areas in 2017, up from 42% 30 years ago. This is expected to rise to 68% by 2050

  • Housing as a commodity: Since the financial crisis, housing has shifted to become a complex investment vehicle attracting huge sums from funds and corporations

  • Politics: The need to create more affordable housing is matched by governments’ desire to raise revenues

  • Supply: Land supply issues resulting from regulatory constraints

As part of the report, Knight Frank has also launched the Global Affordability Monitor, which analyses affordability across 32 cities. It takes into consideration three key measures: house price to income ratio, rent as a proportion of income and real house price growth compared to real income growth.

The data reveals a growing global disparity between house prices and income. Across the 32 cities covered, over the past five years, average real house price growth outpaced average real income growth by 16%.

Results from Knight Frank’s Global Affordability Monitor:

Least affordable

Second least

Second most

Most affordable

Key findings:

  • Some cities bucked the growing disparity trend; New York saw its income growth exceed real house price growth by 3%. Moscow, Singapore, Mumbai and Paris also saw their average real income over the last five years grow faster than real house prices. Moscow saw the largest difference where real income growth outpaced real house price growth by 22%

  • Amsterdam, Vancouver and Auckland saw real house price growth outstrip real income growth by 59%, 46% and 32% respectively making these cities some of the least affordable

  • Affordability in Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur remains a key issue, despite the cities falling into the ‘most affordable’ quadrant. Developers are reducing the size of new residential units to maintain maximum capital value at accessible levels

Liam Bailey, Global Head of Research at Knight Frank says, “The growing pressure on housing affordability is changing the development landscape. It is influencing the types of product on offer; the locations developers are focusing on and even the organisations becoming involved in the development process.”

Knight Frank’s report which indexed Singapore among cities with second least affordable housing comes after another prominent survey placed the Republic’s housing prices as “seriously unaffordable”.

The Survey conducted by urban planning policy consultancy Demographia, said Singapore had one of the world’s least affordable housing as its the median house price is 4.6 times the Republic’s median household income.

When compared with the same Survey conducted by Demographia last year, the Singapore housing prices has improved by 0.2 points. What the index means is that it will take an average household 4.6 years to be able to afford housing in Singapore if there were no other expenses.

The Survey said: “The most affordable major housing markets are in the United States, with a moderately unaffordable Median Multiple of 3.9, followed by Canada (4.3) and Singapore (4.6). Ireland and the United Kingdom both have Median Multiples of 4.8. The major markets of Australia (6.9), New Zealand (9.0) and China (20.9) are severely unaffordable.”

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