HDBs more unaffordable than private homes

Housing and Development Board (HDB) resale homes in Singapore are more unaffordable than private homes, PropertyGuru can exclusively reveal. They are also classed as being 'severely unaffordable'.

Using a globally-recognised formula where the Median Multiple (median house price divided by the annual median household income) is used to calculate housing affordability, HDB resale flats are also classed as being severely unaffordable using a scale which was most recently published in the 8th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey.

Housing affordability is evaluated based on the quotient deduced from the given formula, where a result of 3.0 and below would imply that houses are affordable, 3.1 to 4.0 (moderately unaffordable), 4.1 to 5.0 (seriously unaffordable), and 5.1 and over (severely unaffordable).

Given that the international report centred on the mid-end market, PropertyGuru focused its attention on private apartments and condominiums within the Outside Central Region (OCR) and Rest of Central Region (RCR), as these areas are home to most of the mid- to high-end properties.

The median multiple is based on calculations using the median household income from Singstat's Key Household Characteristics and Household Income Trends, 2011, and the median price for all types of resale HDBs, ranging from one- to five-room and executive flats, according to data from the HDB and PropertyGuru.

The median multiple for private properties is 6.03 which means they are 'severely unaffordable' but for HDB resale flats, the result is arguably shocking. The median multiple was found to be at a high of around 6.7, which lies within the 'severely unaffordable' bracket – and even more unaffordable than private properties.   While private properties and HDB resale flats hit the 'severely unaffordable' mark, it has to be noted that the monthly household income for HDB dwellers is considerably lower than that of private homeowners.

Tejaswi Chunduri, Regional Analyst at PropertyGuru, offered her insights on the findings. She said: "The data is reflective of the housing affordability issues the country has been facing the past few years. In the last five years the median household income in Singapore has increased by 42 percent whereas HDB resale prices have shot up by 84 percent according to the HDB price index. Private property has risen 58 percent when we look at the private property price index."

She added: "This is a great contradiction to HDB's role which is to offer affordable housing to the masses," however she was quick to add that homes in Singapore are more affordable than Hong Kong which earned a rating of 12.6.

Despite the high prices, private home sales in Singapore continue to skyrocket, rising 29 percent in February from the previous month. "It is yet to be seen if the multiple rounds of cooling measures and other policies introduced by the government will prove effective in making home prices more affordable," added Chunduri.   The HDB was contacted for an official statement but were unable to issue any comment prior to publication.  Related Stories:Buyers upset by BTO launch next to DBSS site

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