Singapore housing prices seriously unaffordable: survey

Romesh Navaratnarajah23 Jan 2019

Aerial view of crowded Singapore highrise apartment skyscraper buildings

The survey results showed that the median house price is 4.6 times the median household income.

House prices in Singapore are considered “seriously unaffordable”, with a median multiple of 4.6, which means that the median house price is 4.6 times the city-state’s median household income, according to an annual survey.

Conducted by urban planning policy consultancy Demographia in Q3 2018, the 15th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey (2019) covered 309 cities in eight countries, including the United States, China (only Hong Kong), the United Kingdom, Australia, Singapore, Canada, Ireland and New Zealand.

More: 88% Of Singaporeans Unhappy Over High Property Prices: PropertyGuru

The survey found that Hong Kong has the world’s least affordable home prices, with a median multiple of 20.9, up from last year’s 19.4. Vancouver came in second, while Sydney, Melbourne and San Jose came in third, fourth and fifth, respectively.

Los Angeles, Auckland and San Francisco emerged as the sixth, seventh and eighth least affordable housing markets, while London (Greater London Authority) and Toronto were tied in 10th place with a median multiple of 8.3.

“Over the past year, there has been moderation of house prices in some of the most unaffordable markets,” noted the report.

“In some markets, prices have stabilized, while in others actual declines have occurred. However, none of the price declines have been sufficient to materially improve housing affordability. These developments could, in the long run, simply be further indication of the price volatility exhibited associated with stronger land use regulation.”

Read the full report here.

Can you afford a condo in Singapore? Check your affordability now. Get more details on the property market outlook for 2019


Romesh Navaratnarajah, Senior Editor at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact him about this or other stories, email
Jan 25, 2019
Agreed. Also, the measure of affordability ("median multiple") tells me this survey is simplistic or misleading as it ignores interest and tax rates. Singapore enjoys some of the lowest interest rates in the world (thank our reserves, etc.) and this means a loan of say $400,000 in Singapore typically costs LESS to finance than in most other countries. A better measure of affordability would be to look at the % of MEDIAN AFTER TAX INCOME required to service the interest on an 80% mortgage. Example: Median household income here was just over $108,000 in 2017 (with typically 2 income earners per household). Each earner would pay about $1,500 in tax plus CPF (of which a big chunk can be used for the mortgage so we don't deduct CPF). So, how much of this $105,000 services the mortgage? 4.6 times the 108k = almost $500k typical HDB property ("median multiple" useful for something!) so assume $400k mortgage. Interest at 3% = $12,000 = 11.43% of after tax income - NOT SERIOUSLY UNAFFORDABLE!
David Weill
Jan 23, 2019
So London, which is in 10th place according to this article, is twice as expensive as Singapore. This article is just trying to troll the property market lower in Singapore as everything is relative - and in the greater scheme of things, Singapore property is actually cheap to other major cities. Why not actually say where Singapore rated in this survey? In the top 20? or 40? Shenzhen is actually much more expensive than our little red dot.

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