Singapore’s private home prices soar to US$1.2 million, topping Asia Pacific cities

Photo via Unsplash

The median price of a private home in Singapore reached US$1.2 million in 2022, making it the highest among Asia Pacific cities, according to a report by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Asia Pacific Centre for Housing. Singapore is also ranked as the most expensive city in the region for renting a private home. The median private home price in the city-state was 13.7 times the median household income, while the figure dropped to 4.7 for public Housing Board flats.

The report analysed housing attainability in 45 cities across nine countries in the Asia Pacific, including Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, and Vietnam. Over the past year, Singapore’s median private-sector home price increased by more than 8%, while Hong Kong’s median home price fell by 8.7%.

Factors contributing to the price increases in Singapore include a large influx of immigrants and a growing trend of young professionals moving out of family homes for more space and freedom. Additionally, a reduced new supply of housing in recent years was caused by Covid-induced disruptions to the supply chain of building materials and labour.

The Singapore government has attempted to address rising prices with a series of property cooling measures. The latest set, introduced in April, included measures such as doubling the buyer’s tax for foreigners to 60%.

Related news

In contrast, home prices in Hong Kong fell significantly, returning to 2017 levels. This was mainly due to a drop in population and a rising mortgage interest rate. The current median home price in Hong Kong is US$1.16 million, an 8.7% fall from the previous year.

However, Hong Kong led the way on a per square metre basis. The median home price per square metre in Hong Kong was US$19,768, almost twice that of Singapore’s US$10,715. By this measure, Singapore ranks third, after Hong Kong, and Shenzhen.

In terms of home ownership, Singapore continues to have the highest rate of nearly 90% across public and private housing. This is due to the government’s “consistent commitment to enable its citizens to own homes at reasonable prices from the early years of the country’s independence in the 1960s”, said the report.

The median HDB price increased from US$379,000 to US$409,000, a rise of 7.9%, and the ratio of median HDB price to median annual income increased from 4.5 to 4.7, the second-lowest in the list. For private homes in Singapore, the ratio jumped to 13.7. Shenzhen topped the list with a ratio of 35.0, followed by Ho Chi Minh City at 32.5. Hong Kong’s ratio was 26.5, a sharp drop from the previous year’s 30.5.

The report stated that home ownership is generally considered unaffordable when the ratio of the median home price to median annual household income exceeds five. By this standard, only Singapore’s HDB flats and apartment units in Melbourne and Brisbane were considered affordable.

“Home attainability is severely challenged in Tier 1 and leading Tier 2 cities in mainland China, Hong Kong SAR, Metro Manila, Metro Cebu, Ho Chi Minh City, and Danang with median home prices at approximately 20 to 35 times median household income,” ULI said in a press release on the report.

At US$2,596 – an almost 30% jump from the previous year – the median monthly rent for Singapore private properties was far and away the highest among the cities surveyed. The report cited “a sudden surge in the number of migrants, a slowdown in building completion and relatively limited stock of rental properties either institutionally or individually owned” as factors in the surge in rent. Second on the list was Sydney, where the median rent for houses was US$1,958. Hong Kong’s average (the median figure was not provided) monthly rent was US$1,686, a slight drop from the previous year.

In terms of affordability, the median rent for private homes in Singapore was 35% of household income. The report stated…

“However, as most renters of private-sector homes have higher than the median income, the monthly rent amount should be a significantly smaller percentage of the renters’ monthly income.”

It also pointed out that median monthly rents in Tokyo Ku (as opposed to the city’s suburban areas) and Seoul, at US$602 and US$689 respectively, were a quarter of that of Singapore and around 35% that of Hong Kong.

World News


Sara is a journalist and content writer who specializes in lifestyle, wellness, and travel topics. Sara's journey in journalism began as a copywriter, and over time, her portfolio expanded to include articles and features for some of the nation's top lifestyle publications. Outside the office, she enjoys practising yoga and exploring hidden locations in Bangkok.

Related Articles