SG Buildings

SINGAPORE: A recent annual Channel 8 survey in Singapore has unveiled contrasting sentiments among citizens regarding housing affordability and the effectiveness of government-imposed real estate cooling measures. Although an overwhelming 82 per cent of respondents believe that the property cooling measures are effective, there is a growing consensus that local housing is becoming increasingly unaffordable.

According to the survey, 68 per cent of respondents this year believe that local housing is unaffordable, marking a notable increase from the 64 per cent figure recorded in last year’s survey. Among singles, the sentiment is even stronger, with a significant 79 per cent expressing concerns about housing affordability.

Surprisingly, the survey also revealed that higher income does not necessarily equate to housing affordability. Only 28.3 per cent of respondents with monthly household incomes between $8,000 and $11,999 considered housing affordable, while 36.1 per cent of those with incomes between $4,000 and $7,999 held this belief.

The survey, commissioned by MediaCorp, collected data from approximately 1,000 local citizens and permanent residents. Notably, the top three considerations for Singaporeans when purchasing resale HDB flats continue to be price, unit size, and remaining leasehold years, while factors such as the maturity of the HDB area and proximity to schools have diminished in importance.

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One significant finding from the survey was the desire for policy changes regarding housing options for single individuals.

Currently, singles can only apply for two-bedroom flexible flats in non-mature HDB estates. However, 39 per cent of respondents believe that single people should be allowed to purchase two- to three-room resale HDB flats, and 22 per cent support the complete removal of restrictions on house types. Another 22 per cent expressed approval for the existing regulations, while the remaining 17 per cent believed that single people should be allowed to purchase two- to four-room resale HDB flats.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced at this year’s National Day Rally that, from the second half of next year, the government will revamp the classification of resale HDB flats based on location attributes rather than distinguishing between mature and non-mature areas. This change will include newly built HDB flats in prime locations.

The housing purchase restrictions for singles will also be adjusted, allowing them to purchase two-bedroom resale HDB flats in any location, though the available house types will remain unchanged.