Cost of private homes and their rent was the highest in Singapore in 2022 while the prices in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) fell to what they were around five years ago, as per a study conducted by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Asia Pacific Centre for Housing.
According to ULI’s 2023 Asia Pacific Home Attainability Index, the median price of a private house in Singapore was USD 1.2 million in 2022 — the highest among the 45 cities surveyed that includes India’s Mumbai and Delhi among others. Singapore also commanded the highest rental prices for private homes, with monthly rent hovering at USD 2,600.
ULI is a US-based non-profit and educational organisation which describes itself as the “oldest and largest network of cross-disciplinary real estate and land use experts in the world.” Its Asia Pacific report provides a glimpse of whether housing is attainable in the region.
The 2023 report covers nine countries — Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, and Vietnam. In all, the nine countries have 45 per cent of the world’s population.
What the 2023 Asia Pacific Home Attainability Index reveals about housing prices
Why is Singapore so costly?
The report suggests that an influx of large numbers of immigrants and young professionals leaving their family homes for their own homes as two of the factors that have contributed to the rise in private home rates.
A lack of new homes due to the pandemic years also contributed to the rise in median prices of private homes, which rose more than 8 per cent in 2022 alone.
Another factor that the report says contributed to the rise is the 15-month wait-out period that homeowners must serve after disposing of their private properties before they are eligible to buy a non-subsidised Housing Development Board (HDB) resale flat.
It is, however, noteworthy that while private home prices and their rent in Singapore are the highest, the city state is also among the most affordable places in the Asia-Pacific as the median prices of the public HDB flats was only 4.7 times the median household income.
And Singapore also leads the way with around 90 per cent homeownership, compared to low homeownership rates in major cities and territories such as Tokyo, Shanghai, and South Korean capital Seoul.
What contributed to a fall in prices in Hong Kong SAR?
The report says that the median home price in Hong Kong SAR fell 8.7 per cent to USD 1.16 million in 2022. The current rates are similar to what they were in 2017.
The decline in costs of private homes has been linked to rising mortgage interest rates and a drop in population.
But even though the home prices in Hong Kong fell, it recorded the highest median home price per square metre at USD 19,768. The figure was almost twice that of Singapore, where the median cost of homes in 2022 was USD 10,715 per sq metre.
What does the report say about India?
The 2023 Asia Pacific Home Attainability Index says that of the eight Indian cities surveyed, Mumbai has the highest median home price per square metre of USD 3,383. By comparison, Delhi NCR, the national capital region, recorded only USD 1,358 per sq metre.
In other words, the median housing price per unit in Mumbai was USD 117,677. Among Indian cities, Mumbai was followed by Hyderabad at USD 101,775, Bengaluru at USD 95,414, and Pune at USD 89,371. The median housing price per unit was the fifth-highest in Delhi-NCR at USD 89,053.
The report also notes that India’s housing price as against the median household income is relatively inexpensive when compared to other developing countries.
What else does the index say?
The index reveals that home attainability is a major problem in Tier 1 and leading Tier 2 cities in mainland China, Metro Manila, Metro Cebu, Ho Chi Minh City, and Danang. In each of these places, the median home prices were around 20-35 times the median household income.
On the contrary, monthly rent in most cities was 30 per cent less than the median household income, with Japanese and South Korean cities having the lowest rental to income ratio.
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