ERA Daily Research - 21 June

More Singapore residents living in condos; rise in households with fewer members

The Straits Times, 18 Jun 2021, Fri

By Justin Ong

More Singapore residents are living in condominiums and apartments today compared with a decade ago, while household sizes are trending towards having three or fewer members, according to a population census released on Friday (June 18).

In the second of two publications by the Department of Statistics (DOS) - with the first issued on Wednesday - it was revealed that there were 1.37 million resident households in 2020, up from 1.15 million in 2010 when the census was last conducted.

The proportion of resident households living in condominiums and other apartments increased from 11.5 to 16 per cent.

But most - about four in five, or 78.7 per cent - remained in Housing Board flats, down from about 82.4 per cent.

Of these, nearly one-third lived in four-room flats, keeping it as the most common type of home over the last decade.

Read more at:

Household incomes, share of condo dwellers rise over last decade

The Business Times, 19 Jun 2021, Sat

By Janice Heng

HOUSEHOLD incomes continued to rise in both real and nominal terms over the last decade, with a significant spike in households at the top end, according to data released on Friday by the Department of Statistics.

A greater share of resident households also live in condominiums and other apartments compared to 10 years ago, in a trend that analysts and academics expect to continue. The figures were in the second of two releases from the Census of Population 2020, based on registered data and a survey of 150,000 resident households conducted from February till end-2020. Household income figures include employer Central Provident Fund contributions.

Over the past decade, the median monthly household income from work rose 3.3 per cent per annum - or 1.9 per cent in real terms - to S$7,744 in 2020, up from S$5,600 in 2010.

The increase was even more pronounced for median monthly household income per household member. This rose 4.2 per cent per annum - or 2.8 per cent in real terms - to S$2,463 in 2020, from S$1,638 before.

Notably, there was a sharp rise in households earning S$20,000 and more. These now account for 13.9 per cent of households, more than doubling from 6.6 per cent previously. The share of households with no employed persons also rose, to 13.3 per cent from 10.5 per cent before.

But the report noted that this was in tandem with the rise of households comprising only persons aged 65 and older. These form 9.3 per cent of resident households, more than doubling from 4.6 per cent in 2010. More than half of married couples are now dual-career ones, at 52.5 per cent, up from 47.1 per cent in 2010.

In about a quarter of married couples, only the husband was employed, down from about a third previously. In 7.4 per cent, only the wife is employed, up from 5.8 per cent. The share of dual-career couples is much higher in younger groups, accounting for 78.3 per cent of married couples aged younger than 35, and 72.3 per cent of those aged 35 to 49.

There were 1.37 million resident households in 2020, up from 1.15 million in 2010. But the average household size fell to 3.2 persons, from 3.5 persons before.

More resident households now live in condominiums and other apartments, with 16 per cent doing so, up from 11.5 per cent in 2010. The proportion living in Housing Development Board (HDB) flats fell to 78.7 per cent, from 82.4 per cent before.

Singaporeans still aspire to stay in private housing, said market watchers such as OrangeTee & Tie senior vice-president of research and analytics Christine Sun: "The younger generation tends to be more educated and many are university graduates. More and more of them may aspire to live in condos for the lifestyle, facilities and long term investment return."

"Apart from rising affluence, the supply of residential units could also be a contributing factor," she added, noting more condominiums built in recent years, particularly after the last en bloc cycle. By comparison, the number of build-to-order flats being launched has not risen significantly.

CBRE director of research for South-east Asia Catherine He noted the role of demographics, with earlier census data showing that more people are staying single, and not having children or having them later. "This means they have more disposable income to spend on housing and are able to afford private housing."

National University of Singapore (NUS) associate professor Yu Shi-Ming offered another view of how this demographic trend might affect housing demand: "More would be looking for smaller flats or looking to rent." In 2020, 6.5 per cent of resident households stayed in one- and two-room HDB flats, up from 4.6 per cent in 2010, an increase that Prof Yu sees as unsurprising given the rise of singlehood.

The decline in HDB dwellers correlates with strong private housing demand in the last decade, which the government has had to tackle with a slew of cooling measures, said Sing Tien Foo, director of the Institute of Real Estate and Urban Studies at NUS. But how far this proportion may decline is unclear.

The ratio of public to private housing depends on long-term private housing price trends, changing housing preferences, and the fiscal budget allocated for housing, he said.

While the government will still support home ownership, in the long term, the proportion staying in public housing might be expected to settle closer to 70 per cent, said Prof Yu.


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