Nov 232012

The Singapore Armchair Critic recently posted an article that hits quite close to our hearts.

Hong Kong vs Singapore: Public Housing

“The annual supply of HDB flats matches the number of newly registered married couples; those with children can upgrade to bigger flats while the aged may monetize existing flats by selling them back to the government and downgrading to smaller ones.

I can already imagine Hongkongers green with envy. But let’s take a deeper look into the two public housing systems before we draw further conclusions.” – Singapore Armchair Critic

It includes a detailed analysis and critique of the common comparisons between the state of housing in Hong Kong and Singapore. But it also highlights issues that we too are concerned about, such as over-reliance on “market value” for supposed public housing pricing, the myopic investor mindset towards public housing and the failings in the HDB rental flat scheme.

“According to former GIC chief economist Yeoh Lam Keong, housing prices that are five to six times that of low to median annual incomes are considered “very unaffordable” by conventional measures.” – Singapore Armchair Critic

In both Hong Kong and Singapore, housing can be classified as not affordable, as the prices are five to six times of the low to median annual incomes of each country. But as so rightly pointed out earlier in the article, Hong Kong’s situation is actually much more dire, given that only 23.7% of her land is developed due to hilly terrain and steep slopes. In contrast, Singapore’s terrain is gentle and offers less obstruction to development, yet our housing seems to be just as unaffordable.

“Although Hong Kong’s population density is lower than Singapore’s, it is in fact way higher if you consider that only 23.7% of its land is developed given the mountainous terrain and other factors.” – Singapore Armchair Critic

In the end, such comparisons are a lot more complicated than they seem on the surface, but can be a good starting point for discussions that eventually lead to solutions for our housing issues. I think it’s safe to say that for both Singapore Armchair Critic, and us here at BLUTA, we’d all like to foster more constructive discussion and debate on this issue.

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  6 Responses to “Hong Kong vs Singapore”


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