Guide to Housing & Development Statistics in Singapore - 2021
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A Guide To Housing & Development Statistics in Singapore – 2021

Key Insights

  • As of 2020, there are approximately 1,372,600 resident households in Singapore. This figure includes dwelling spaces for both Singaporean citizens and permanent residents.
  • The majority of Singapore’s households (22.57%) are 2-person households. On the opposite end of the spectrum, 6-person households make up the lowest percentage of homes in Singapore at 8.95%.
  • Around 655,000 households are made up of married couples with children.  In contrast to this, less than 17% of the Singaporean population lives alone.
  • Across the whole country, the average household size for a dwelling place is 3.22 members.
  • Singapore’s housing sector has seen serious growth since 2000, growing by almost 50% in terms of resident households.
  • Up until 2016, the majority of homes in Singapore were 4-person households.
  • In 2017, 4-person households were replaced by 2-person households as the most prominent household type in Singapore.
  • With the exception of 2011 and 2012, 6-person households were the least common type of household in Singapore from 2010 to 2020.
  • Condominium properties in Singapore saw a 66.7% increase from 2010 to 2020 resulting in the addition of roughly 88,100 new properties.
  • For the second quarter of 2021, 4-room properties were the most sought-after real estate with over 3,000 applications.
  • In 2010, 4-room properties were also the most popular form of real estate, with 11,741 total applications.
  • Since 2009, Singapore’s housing market has seen a near 50% increase in property prices.
  • Despite the economic effects of the pandemic, Singapore’s housing sector remains relatively strong, having seen a continuous upward trend in property prices.

Currently, Singapore has a total population of 5,908,665 people, with about 1.6 million being non-residents.  Taking this into account, the resident population is distributed among roughly 1,372,600 million households.

The majority of residences at 309,800 are made up of 2-person households while the minority at 122,900 are made up of 6-person households.  When these values are made into percentages, 2-person and 6-person households make up 22.57% and 8.95% respectively of all homes in Singapore.

Overall, there are several classifications for households in the Garden City: they range from 1-person to 6-person households.  As a means of comparison, these household types have been graphed below in the form of a pie chart:

Singapore Households by Numbers of Members

3-person and 4-person homes are quite close in terms of population size. The difference is only 4,900 households between the former and the latter.  

This is likely due to the fact that around 655,000 households are made up of married Singaporeans with children.

Over the years, various trends have emerged following the household size of Singaporean homes.  Along with this, the country’s housing market has also seen considerable growth, as evidenced by data gathered over the years.  

To gain a better understanding of these trends as well as the nation’s market growth, one must look towards statistics.  As a means of supplementing this analysis, various figures have also been created with the aforementioned data.

Household Growth Trends in Singapore

Based on a survey by The Straits Times, around 92% of Singaporeans believe family ranks above all else including personal health and financial stability.  Despite this, there is still a relatively large number of 1-person households in Singapore.

As a matter of fact, a recent study by the Housing & Development Board (HDB), revealed that 1-person households accounted for 1 in 8 homes in Singapore.  This is equivalent to 220,300 residences.

In 2003, the number of single-person households was extremely low at 7.1%.  But following a serious jump to 11.9% in 2018, the number of 1-person households has increased steadily, with current projects showing a 125% increase from 2003.

Many experts believe that there are several reasons for this serious increase.  These include a growing elderly demographic and a law change allowing single Singaporeans to purchase two-room properties.

Interestingly, the recent rise in single-person households also coincided with a much higher rate of divorce in the country.  It is likely that this has also played a role in the growing number of 1-person households.  

Though the number of single-person households is higher than in previous years, 3-person and 4-person households are still two of the most common types of homes.  Together, these two household types have a combined total of 556,100 or 40.5% of all Singapore households.

All things considered, it is perhaps only natural for the total number of households in Singapore to rise.  In 2000, the country had a total of 915,100 homes, which is indicative of a near 50% growth given this year’s total of 1.37 million.

Singapore Residences by Household Size 2010 - 2020

Until recently, 3-person and 4-person households were by far the most prevalent in Singapore.  But, following a decline in large, family-based homes, 2-person households became the most common type of household.

Starting in 2017, 2-person households became the most prevalent type of home in the country.  The current total for this household type is 309,800, which makes up 22.6% of all homes.

Along with being the most prevalent household type, 2-person households have also seen the most growth over the past 10 years.  With an increase of 94,800 households since 2010, 2-person dwellings have increased by almost 45%

Though other forms of households have grown over the past 10 years, the number of 6-person homes in Singapore has actually decreased albeit only slightly.  With a total of 127,800 in 2010, and 122,900 in 2020, 6-person households in Singapore have decreased by 3.83%.

This slight downturn is also believed to be a result of the decrease in family-based households in Singapore.  If these trends continue, it is likely that the country will continue to see a drop in its current average household size of 3.22 members.

The current value has already seen a gradual decrease from the value of 3.51, which was recorded in 2011.  Based on this, the average could very well drop to 3 members within the decade.

Average Number of Household Members in Singapore 2011 - 2020

Singapore’s Housing Market

Despite seeing a reduction in average household size, Singapore’s housing market has seen substantial growth over the past few years.  To witness this growth, one can turn their attention to the number of resale applications recorded by the HDB.

HDB Resale Applications 2010 - 2020

After a significant decrease from 2010 to 2014, the number of resale applications for HDB property began to rise steadily.  To be more specific, from 2015 to the current year, the total number of resale applications rose by almost 30%.

Though the year has yet to come to an end, the current number of resale applications for 2021 is already upwards of 14,900 applications.  Barring a sudden downturn, the number of applications for 2021 may very well exceed 2020’s total of 24,748 applications.

It’s worth noting that for both the current and previous year, the type of property with the most applications was 4-room properties.  In the previous year alone, there were 10,261 recorded resale applications for this property. 

For the second quarter of 2021 alone, there were already 6,295 applications for 4-room HDB flats.  The reason behind this particular preference for 4-room properties is the balance offered between size and pricing.

Going beyond the number of resale applications, another reliable indicator of market growth is the resale price index (RPI).  Put simply, this index measures the fluctuation in price for a particular market.

Resale Price Index Values 2009 - 2021

With 2009 as the base for Singapore’s property market, the RPI has seen a serious increase going from a starting value of 100 to 150.4 for the 3rd quarter of 2021.  This indicates a total price increase of around 50%.

As the RPI increases, the market grows and in turn, HDB properties appreciate in value substantially.  This consistent uptake in the RPI is rather unexpected as many other industries took a serious downturn due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic.

Strangely enough, this property market growth is not only limited to Singapore as many other countries are also seeing a rise in the demand for property.  For the island city-state, a large portion of growth has come from wealthy foreigners in search of prime properties.

Public and Private Properties in Singapore

Of the 1,372,600 resident households in Singapore, approximately 1,080,100 are classified as HDB properties.  The remaining 292,500 properties are split amongst condominiums & apartments, landed properties, and other types of dwelling places.

To provide a general sense of living costs in Singapore, the figure below shows the average price ranges for various property types.  

Average Price Ranges for Properties in Singapore

Based on price alone, it is clear that HDB Flats are by far the most cost-effective housing option in the country.  These types of dwelling places provide a space-efficient living space at the cost of extravagant amenities often seen in upscale condos and landed properties.

Setting aside property expenses, a single person living in Singapore will generally require between $1,100 to $1,400 each month.  For university students, this monthly living cost is slightly lower at $700 to $730 per month.

Considering the average monthly income of a Singaporean household is $12,386, saving on property expenses is highly prioritized, hence the prevalence of HDB households.

Households by Property Types
Public Vs Private Housing in Singapore (2)

HDB flats make up 78.7% of all dwelling places in Singapore, which means the majority of homes belong to the public sector.  Alternatively, the remaining 21.3% is mainly made up of privately managed living spaces.

The main reason behind the prevalence of HDB flats is the fact that these properties allow for a decent standard of living at an affordable price point.  Alternatively, private living spaces allow for more amenities and larger spaces – albeit at a higher price.

Condos and Apartments entail a higher cost due to the presence of amenities such as pools, gyms, and communal spaces.  Landed properties are more expensive due to the simple fact that land in Singapore is a limited resource.

Because physical space is so sought after, landed properties are the rarest and most expensive dwelling places on the market.  Since not all citizens can afford to purchase landed properties, there are only 68,400 registered households of this type.

If this figure is translated into a percentage of Singapore’s housing market, landed properties only account for 5% of the country’s resident households.  As the number of sales for HDB flats grows, this percentage is expected to shrink even more over time.

To better understand Singapore’s preference for HDB properties, one can turn to the HDB Sample Household Survey.  This survey studies the attitudes, and mindsets of those currently living in HDB flats in order to identify various trends.

Housing Preferences Among Singaporeans

It should go without saying that HDB properties appeal to a large majority of the Singaporean population.  At current standards, 93.2% of those living in HDB flats are extremely satisfied with their living spaces.

Since 2003, the level of satisfaction among Singaporeans living in HDB flats has remained relatively consistent. As shown by the figure below, this satisfaction level has always stayed above 90%.

HDB Satisfaction Levels

Public Vs Private Housing in Singapore

This high level of satisfaction is largely why many citizens prefer to live in HDB dwellings.  Though there has yet to be a satisfaction rating for the current year, it is largely expected to stay above the 90th percentile due to the growing number of HDB resale applications.

In addition to being relatively satisfied with their living spaces, many citizens also choose to live in HDB estates due to the community.  In the most recent HDB survey, a whopping 99% of Singaporeans felt a sense of belonging to their community.

As HDB flats continue to improve in terms of designs and amenities, more and more Singaporeans are choosing to live in them.  In previous years, amenities were a serious selling point for private properties.

But, recently HDB properties have also begun to incorporate parks, fitness facilities, and common areas.  This has resulted in 98.6% of HDB households being extremely pleased with the amenities offered by their estates.

Why Do Singaporeans Prefer HDB Properties

In terms of geographical location, many Singaporeans turn to Bukit Panjang, Woodlands, Choa Chu Kang, Punggol, Sembawang, and Sengkang to find affordable housing.  This is because all of these locations offer homes that are well below the average monthly rent of $2,120.

To be more specific, these locations offer 4-room HDB flats at a monthly cost between $1,700 and $1,800.  This makes them extremely popular with individuals and families on a strict budget. 

Overall, these findings highlight the effectiveness of HDB properties as living spaces in a land-scarce country.  Despite seeing serious downturns in many other industries, Singapore’s real estate sector has remained extremely healthy.

As time passes, it is likely that HDB properties will only grow larger and larger.  Though they may be physically small compared to landed properties, their space-efficient design, and affordable nature have made them exceedingly popular with a large majority of Singaporeans.