If I ask you to think of
a country where more than 80% of the inhabitants live in state-built homes,
many will surely think of a socialist republic or maybe a former Soviet bloc country, right? But… What if I told you that this figure corresponds
to one of the countries with the freest and most deregulated economies? Possibly the most capitalist country in the
world. Surprised? Well, Singapore is an unusual case, an exception
in terms of housing models. This Southeast asian city-state, famous for
its towering skyscrapers, impossible architecture and for being one of the largest financial
centers in the world, has developed a public housing system that is globally unique. Some of you may be thinking, but Simon, you
already told us, on this very channel, that Vienna also has an extensive public housing
system! Well yes, you’re right. However, we’re talking about two very different
models. Completely different. The great difference between Vienna and Singapore’s
model lies particularly in the percentage of property owners. While the Viennese model is oriented towards
rentals, three-quarters of the population rents city council-owned homes, the Singapore
model is just the opposite. More than 90% of Singapore’s citizens own
their own homes. Of course, 80% own homes promoted, built and
granted by the state. Yes, we’re talking ownership-oriented public
housing. Ownership with a few catches, if we’re being
completely honest. But… We’ll talk about that later. First, we need to ask ourselves some questions: Why does Singapore apparently reject the free
market real-estate model? How on earth can they develop a property-oriented
public housing system? How has this model affected private real estate
developments? And…Is the Singapore model replicable in
other countries? Well, let’s get to the bottom of all these
questions. Listen up. (SINGAPORE, LITTLE LAND AND A HUGE POPULATION) Dear friends of VisualPolitik. First, we need to familiarise ourselves with
the context. Check out this map. (MAP) Singapore is a city-state with just over 700
km2 but with more than five and a half million inhabitants. This has forced more than 70% of the land
to be built on. Those are the red areas of the map. The remaining 30% includes mostly protected
areas or land where one simply can’t build. Basically, the city is overflowing. Faced with such a scenario, it wouldn’t
be unreasonable to think that accessing a home in Singapore would be a headache, would
it? After all, that’s the case in similar places
such as Hong Kong. Well, strangely enough… It isn’t. The reason has a lot to do with Singapore’s
unique urban development model. Check this out, in 1960 the Singapore government
created the Housing and Development Board, a public housing company that’s responsible
for regulating and managing the land, as well as building and developing real estate projects. And that’s because since 1967, most of the
land in Singapore has been publicly owned. In that year, 1967, the so-called Land Acquisition
Act was approved, which enabled the government to take back ownership of all the land. That means, the land marketed for real estate
development is made available under the Housing Board’s criteria. That is, there isn’t a price system in land
commercialization. Let me explain it in another way. This public body determines how many homes
it will build; and at what prices and under what conditions they will be marketed – evidently
always below the potential market price. On the other hand, it’s this same organization,
this Housing and Development Board, which draws land for auction so private developers
can build completely private real estate projects. Of course, in every case, the land continues
to be publicly owned, that is, the homeowners cannot do whatever they want with it – for
example they can’t sell their homes to build a hotel. And the property is more a concession than
a property. Allow me to explain myself. When a citizen of Singapore – and I emphasize
this because foreigners can’t buy new public housing – gets one of these homes, they
aren’t really acquiring the land’s ownership nor the house itself, but only the right to
stay in it, a kind of lease that lasts for 99 years. After that period, the house returns to the
state. This is how the Prime Minister of Singapore
explains it: (AUDIO: “After 99 years, the flat comes
back to the state, the Government redevelops the land, and builds new flats for future
generations. This is the only way to recycle the land,
to ensure all our descendants can buy new flats of their own. If instead the Government sold you the flat
on freehold … Sooner or later we would run out of land to build new flats.” Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister of Singapore.) And, you have to be careful, because in private
developments this period may be even shorter. Of course, during the lease period “the
owners” can do whatever they deem appropriate with the house. If they don’t want to live in it, they can
sell it or rent it. In fact, it isn’t uncommon, if things are
going well, for those who own older homes to sell or rent the “public” homes, which
tend to be very austere – especially the old ones – in order to move into private
developments, which in Singapore’s case are far more luxurious. But the peculiarities of this curious system
don’t end there. Since the body that builds and sells most
homes is public, the government uses it as a social policy instrument. Or rather, an instrument of social engineering. For example, to avoid the formation of ghettos
given that Singapore’s population has a certain racial diversity, a building or development’s
dwellings are allocated in such a way that the proportion of owners has an ethnic distribution
that reflects the distribution in the whole country. The population distribution by ethnic group
in Singapore looks something like this: In each block of homes the owners are distributed
more or less in the same way. If a block or a project has, for example,
100 homes, then we’ll find 74 Chinese owners, 13 Malaysian owners, 9 Indian owners, and
so on. However, that’s not a bad thing. Perhaps the worst aspect of this model is
that the government uses the granting of homes to promote certain life models. For example, traditional couples don’t have
any problems applying for a government property, but single people or same-sex couples… Well, let’s just say it’s much more complicated
for them. Surprised? Isn’t it strange to find such interventionism
in a supposedly capitalist place? Well, it shouldn’t be surprising, we already
told you that Singapore’s political, economic and social model is a kind of mix between
free-market capitalist policies and very, very paternalistic policies where the state
actively promotes certain ways of life and punishes others. In this case, in the area of housing, not
only in housing allocation, but also, for example, mortgage approvals, conditions are
very advantageous for people who meet the state-imposed criteria. If you don’t, well… bad luck. Do you want to live alone? Sorry. Do you want to live with a friend? Too bad. Do you want to live with your same-sex partner? Well… you know… we wish we could help
but… Now, beyond these rather questionable practices,
the truth is that this system has been quite successful. Public housing is much more affordable in
Singapore than in other cities with comparable economic success, such as London, Sydney or
Hong Kong. On average, new buyers spend less than a quarter
of their income on their mortgage. But… just a second. All this isn’t free. (THE ECONOMIC INVOICE DILEMMA) If the government of Singapore is known for
one thing, it’s for keeping taxes and public spending at bay. However, things are different with this whole
housing issue. The system is clearly lacking: (AUDIO: HDB reports $1.47 billion loss in
latest financial year as fewer flats sold – Channel New Asia) 1.5 billion dollars, that’s the difference
between what urbanization and construction work costs the state and the income it receives
from selling the homes. That’s 1.5 billion dollars that is financed
from the public budget. The whole housing scheme is basically financed
with taxes. Regardless of land ownership, this is the
annual allocation that the Singapore government devotes to its housing policy. A perfectly acceptable amount for an economy
as big as Singapore’s. Now, does this mean that the governments of
other countries should take back ownership of city lands and oversee housing development,
just like the Singapore government does? Not at all. Singapore’s case is very particular. We’re talking about a city-state with huge
economic success, a state which is managed almost like a company and where land limitations
are more than evident. The differences with other countries are quite
obvious. Nor is it clear that if it was operating as
a free market – a truly free one – the results would be much different. Not to mention the enormous power that such
systems grant politicians to design societies at will. But what Singapore has really achieved with
this model – and I think it’s undeniable – has been to develop an urban planning
and real estate price scheme that favors the development of many other activities with
greater added value. For example, given that housing prices are
capped, Singaporean citizens have a greater capacity to save and invest in, for example,
new businesses. Anyway, this is Singapore’s unique model,
yet another model up for debate. So, now it’s your turn. What do you think of the Singaporean housing
model? Leave your answer in the comments. So I really hope you enjoyed this video, please
hit like if you did, and don’t forget to subscribe for brand new videos. Don’t forget to check out our friends at
the Reconsider Media Podcast – they provided the vocals in this episode that were not mine. Also, this channel is possible because of
Patreon, and our patrons on that platform. Please consider joining them and supporting
our mission of providing independent political coverage. And as always, I’ll see you in the next
video.

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100 thoughts on “How is SINGAPORE facing the HOUSING problem? – VisualPolitik EN”

  1. You should also make an episode about how Singapore manages car ownership. It can be quite expensive to buy a car there.

  2. So, each time you are talking about Singapure, you are saying it is one of the freest and most deregulated economies, but we constantly hear that they are very regulated. Housing? Regulated. Health care? Regulated. Everything seems to be regulated and supported by the state. In which way are the most free and unregulated economies? What do you mean by that?

  3. What do I think? I think that I still don't know enough about it to comment much. But denying public housing to gay or single couples sounds horrible.

  4. It seems that some minor changes to Singapore's methods could go a long way towards improving personal freedoms without changing the state's authority. Either way, I would love to visit Singapore.

  5. the video should show the types of public housing that 80% of Singaporeans are staying and not the commercial buildings

  6. As a Singaporean, I can vouch that public housing in this tiny city is the best in the world in view of its scarcity of land. The flats built are very decent in quality and the amenities are very well planned, especially in the newer estates.

  7. Singapore is democratic enough for the people to live free, but not free enough for democracy to not work because no1 sees eye to eye on anything. perfect system tbh.

  8. Singaporeans have lost the human quality. They have become robots.
    Do not take any example or follow Singaporeans.
    Physically clean, but emotionally dirtiest.
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/nov/21/singapore-least-emotional-country-poll
    Media has changed the opinion, but not the humans.
    The treatment of the airline also according to colorism.

  9. The homes are 99year lease hold… all owned by the pap gov, I'm Singaporean… if you thought american propaganda was bad, you should check out sg. All land in Sg is owned by the gov. You can't just sell it or rent it, all has to be pap gov approved. racial quota's make it hard to sell as you wish. A "flat" apartment that might cost $20-40K to build and yet is sold to Singaporeans at $400-500K. Yet the gov keeps declaring that it looses money, the math doesn't add up.

  10. Ownership with a few catches, the government owns the land, the owner has the rights to stay in a building; A lease for 99 years. I guess there is no inheritance. … Hmm … A nice place to visit, but no real estate investment possibilities, as taxes pays for housing. And don't forget "don't smoke, chew gum, buy soda, a car, etc." the social police are watching you there. This the future, huh? Is this Capitalistic or organized socialism? Unique model! Let's hope.

  11. Holy shit that’s one massive bullshit pitch…
    Most stolen password information was due to massive data leaks and breaches, NOT due to single users being spied out.
    I wanna see how TotalAV wants to protect my passwords from companies fucking up their data protection obligations…

    Bullshit claim in pitch, highly untrustworthy. Wouldn’t touch that company now even with hazmat gear…

  12. If you buy a flat it can't last much more than 50 years without crumbling, so this system kind of make sense.

  13. Simon seems bitter that Singapore gives preference to heterosexual couples over same-sex couples on matters of housing.

    But then, Singapore and other asian countries do not buy into the Western Leftist Intersectionality nuttiness.

  14. The housing model in Singapore is outstanding and should understand some of context in Singapore. This model can be adjusted accordingly to different context.
    For example,
    In Asia traditional values, one is considered “adult” only after married, and children are expected or preferred by parents to stay with them until they are married. Things are changing, and now HDB allows for singles above 35 years old to HDB

    Also there is deficit by HDB because there is huge subsidy for housing to help those young families and generally for citizens who earns below the income ceilings. Citizens can buy 2x subsidized housing where most can expect to double their money. This reduces burden, re-distribute wealth, addresses retirement (reverse mortgage schemes). There are various subsidies and rebates depending on situation, including encouraging child to stay near their parents.

  15. For singles, there is still an option to buy public housing. Just have to wait till one is 35 years old. Though your only option is a 1 or 2 room flat… Places like San Francisco, New York or London can possibly replicate with tweaks to the model Singapore has.

  16. Owning a house here is great and all but first the Gov sents you this letter..

    "You are required under the Enlistment Act to report for enlistment"

  17. excellent model other cities should consider following this. American private sector model is clearly dead. we need to go into new models of housing ownership in this age of globalization. Were unlike in the past we might not work in one country working for the same company for life. We will have to more from country to country depending on the job we get. In such case a model of owning house outright is not viable.

  18. Damn motherfuckers here in Manchester, UK charge us fortune for shitty apartment places. We need to copy singaporean model and tweak a bit to serve the citizens here.

  19. Do some proper research and find better sponsors. Simple and VERY important questions. Population of Singapore vs land area. State it. What is HDB and the history behind it? Was it successful and why? What was the strategy and policies of the government to free up & redevelop land, besides building upwards and underground and the 99 year lease which u mentioned. Man u barely scratched the surface of this topic. What a joke youtuber/channel

  20. Sounds like a pretty good policy. Dont understand his assertion that it probably shouldnt be replicated elsewhere. Seems like it would solve a lot of problems wherever housing bubbles are a major issue

  21. fun facts : once upon a time Singapore is part of Malaysia.That's why they both almost identical in every aspects especially foods.

    p/s : I'm Johorean. 😉

  22. A nice scheme as long as Singapore can stay as a financial hub. But it is a pure socialist system, alike China pursues.

  23. Another typical video made by millennial without ever visiting the city. The subject is about public housing in Singapore but there isn’t a single footage to show government flat.

  24. It's annoying when people merge ethnicity and nationality as one when they clearly are not the same, especially when discussing multi ethnic countries. Just because certain ethnic dominates a country in terms of population doesn't mean that ethnic represent the country as a whole when there are other sizable ethnics (No I'm not talking about single-digit percentage of population).

  25. To anyone who's wondering, you can buy a flat if you're single, but you'll have to wait until you're 35. Also there will be restrictions on the size/type of flat you can own then.

  26. Good model but to tell the truth this would be successful only for a city state with high income
    Or just look at china for example the land is not owned by the people but by the state. So many people have been thrown out of their houses their farms because of different development projects and people can't do anything i mean good luck protesting against the CCP they will throw you in jail and harvest your organs! Personally i would like to own the land where I live if possible but that's just me! The Singapore model is working great for average Singaporeans and that's good!

  27. it works also because it's given only to citizens and not everyone coming tomorrow like it happens with swedenistan

  28. I think the Singapore model is a step in the right direction. I live is london and it's insane. The London property is insane. Most people in London spend around 50 to 75% of their pay on housing. This is terrible for the economy because this leaves little in the way of spending power. In an ideal world people should spend no more than 1/4 of income on housing. Creating a healthier economy with spending power.

  29. 1.talks abt HDB flats,
    keeps showing singapore flyer

    2. Doesnt do the math over an average earning Singaporean to afford a house

  30. I'm an Irishman with family in Singapore. I travel there quite regularly and I've also lived in Penang, Malaysia. Singapore is an astonishing place, clean, safe and stable. What it has achieved in 50 years is amazing. It has economies of scale that other countries don't have but it has something to teach all of us. I love going there.

  31. At 7.50, you mention Malaysian owners. Pls be corrected that Malaysian are citizens of Malaysia. Malay is a race and this is often confused with Malaysia or malaysian(a nationality). Singapore as multiracial comprises citizens who are of various racial descent namely Malay , Chinese, Indian , Eurasian and others.

  32. Is it because housing everywhere is a monopoly? Or is it just the rise in construction price (because the scarcity of building materials)?

  33. It will flood. with rising sea levels. Hence singapore builds new city in china. But telling singaporeans which then tell their children we are building homes for you guys… young descendants…all while they prepare to run away in a land where sea water levels couldnt reach them.Absolutely brilliant.

  34. You have to say this guy is an incredible clown to think the same sort of system would be in place in the case of a free market. How can you be this dumb and have a Youtube platform Simon?

  35. That the price charged doesn't meet cost of production. It basically means that Singapore provides its heterosexual married citizens with a housing subsidy. And given the cost of living there, they will need it.

  36. 2b deficit is incredibly misleading, does not include all factors related to time lag of build/sale of property and land, sometimes between agencies (common left pocket transfer to right pocket practice) also, houses made from same mostly the same designs and materials, and less effort compared to 20 years back, became significantly smaller but more expensive. >90% of population staying in HDB means they are paying a 20+ year debt to the country – 20 years of interest can double the amount paid (to another govt agency). all in all – very much agree that SG govt is very successful in managing the country like a business. despite complaints, its generally an amazing feat and generally beneficial to population nonetheless.

  37. imagine if other economies encouraged residential real estate for housing people, rather than vehicles for wealth creation. So much more investment into productive assets and business ventures, just as in Singapore.

  38. Do check out this article https://www.cbre.com/singapore/about/media-centre/singapore-remains-the-2nd-most-expensive-housing-market-in-the-world-after-hong-kong
    The young middle class of the 2020's will be hard squeezed.

  39. Can you do a video on why are cars in Singapore so expensive? I just went to the motor show recently and was blown away they were selling Kia's for $124,000. It was crazy!

  40. Point of note. Malaysians are the nationals of Malaysia. Malays refer to the ethnic group. Also, there have been attempts to replicate the Singapore model of housing management in part with some limited success.

  41. Ok correction on one of your statements on Singapore's government "punishing certain ways of life", they implement such policies not to punish people but because Singapore is facing a depleting population crisis, so they are promoting as many heterosexual marriages, so as to encourage people to start a family, thus the process of getting ownership of a property is easier.

  42. 2 points that are wrong
    1. Singles are allowed to buy public housing in Singapore, they have to be 35 years old (same sex couple could buy public housings as single)
    2. The deficit of HDB are funded by a convoluted scheme, but the TLDR is that HDB is not running a deficit and all the profits put into Singapore reserves for investment which only the investment profit could be used for public good

  43. Actual public housing in singapore:

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5f/Housing_and_Development_Board_flats%2C_Bukit_Batok_West_Avenue_5%2C_Singapore_-_20050528.jpg

    https://i.ytimg.com/vi/a2_n3FcHhiw/maxresdefault.jpg

    Not bad, but not the curtain glass buildings being shown. Why not them?

  44. The Singapore housing policy is good, especially when you look at Hong Kong. At least Singaporeans can have the opportunity to own a home/ housing once they started working and having a CPF.

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