Housing policy of Singapore as a role model in the Asian cities. Also, the efforts and results of housing policy in Singapore are highly recognized and appreciated. Moreover, it increases the legitimacy of the government.
History of the Housing policy in Singapore
After World War II, housing conditions in Singapore were overcrowding, dilapidated, poor hygiene and inadequate infrastructure. There were about 25% of population were living in squatters. Therefore, housing problem became a political and social issue at that time. (Lim et al, 1988).
In the beginning of 1960s, the Housing and Development Board (HDB)1 was constituted as a statutory board to take over the work of the housing in Singapore which solved the problem of housing shortage and improved the living environment of citizens.
In the late 1960s, the government implemented the Central Provident Fund (CPF) (See Appendix 1) which was a form of social security and helped raising the popularity of public housing. The applicants of HOS were allowed to use their money in CPF to pay for the down payments and monthly repayments for their HDB flats. As a result, this gives a tremendous boost to the home ownership scheme.
In the early 1970s, HDB designed comprehensive town planning to solve the problem of overcrowding. It meant that the new towns are planned to be self-sufficient2 with commercial, recreational, institutional and other facilities to cater to the daily needs of the multi-ethnic population. 3Besides, the government allowed owners of HOS flats to resale in market of HOS. It also facilitated the upgrades to second new HOS flats so as to increase the residential mobility within the sector.4 In 1980, HDB focused more on the living environment of local citizens. Therefore, the 'precinct concept5' was introduced which promotes social interaction and close relationship among the residents. The main objective was to create a 'Total Living Environment' for the residents to have better living environment.6
In 1990's, the government provided much more financial support (e.g. housing loan and grants) to facilitate demand sides housing subsidies for resale HOD flats (full name and footnote for explanation). Besides, HDB started building executive condominiums in 1995 which provides private housing to upper-middle income groups. Also, HOD focused on the anti-speculation measure to curb speculative activities and rapid rise in housing prices.
In 2000’s, it caps on CPF withdrawals for housing which reduce risk of over concentration of household assets in housing. After four decade, the HDB has built more than 800,000 flats to house about 85% of Singapore's population and become the biggest housing provider in Singapore (Lee, 2011). And the detail history and development of housing policy in Singapore show in the following table.7
Table: Phases of housing policy in the post-war period
Features of the Housing policy in Singapore
1. Emphasis shifts to HOS flat
The government of Singapore have focused on the HOS flat since the early 1960s, and put much efforts and resources to build HOS flat rather than public rental housing. It is because the government thinks that if citizens have their own flat, they will have more sense of belonging to the country and increase the legitimacy of the government. Due to this reason, the government provides much financial support and Priority Scheme to people buying housing and achieve home ownership goals.8
2. Government controls most of land use
During 1960-1980, the government of Singapore launched a large number of reclamation and forced resumption of land. These increase the total land area owned by government from 40% in 1960s to more than 80% in 1980s.9That means the government control most of land and limit the development of the private housing. These can maintain a stable housing price due to the dominant supply of housing of government.
3. Government as the biggest housing supplier
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