Publication Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date



The topic of HDB housing is one that is close to the hearts and minds of the majority of Singaporeans. The first part of the presentation will provide a brief overview of price trends in Singapore’s housing sector. The second part delves into the market and policy factors behind the rapid increase in HDB housing prices since 2006. The monograph “Reflections on Housing a Nation” published by the Ministry of National Development in February 2011, contains numerous statements on the goals of housing policy. Briefly, the government is committed to affordable home ownership as a major pillar of Singapore’s public housing policy. It tracks the Housing-Price-to-Income Ratio as well as the Debt Service Ratio for new HDB flats closely as housing affordability indicators. In addition to housing affordability objectives, HDB flats are also assets which the HDB commits “to upgrade (from time to time, budget permitting)” and “whose value can be unlocked, if needed.” It is not surprising therefore that market fundamentals, coupled with credible government commitment to both housing affordability and asset appreciation, have caused housing to be perceived as an attractive asset to buy and hold.The third part of the presentation will discuss the challenges posed by the government’s set of policy commitments to public housing. Amongst these has been the need to discourage speculation and investment in housing. In this regard, during the period from September 2009 to December 2011, there were in all 4 rounds of measures to dampen the housing market.


Treatment of domestic subsidy, International agreement, GATT/WTO rules


Asian Studies | Public Economics | Real Estate | Urban Studies and Planning

Research Areas

Applied Microeconomics


Singapore Perspectives 2012, January 16

City or Country


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


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