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Affordable homeownership policy: implications for housing markets

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  • Sock Yong Phang

    ()
    (School of Economics, Singapore Management University)

Abstract

Affordable homeownership is a policy that is often accorded a great deal of policy attention by governments of many countries. In this paper, we examine the market implications of setting a housing price to income ratio target for a market segment by the government. The policy requires active intervention by the government with regard to the targeted sector. We use a simple model of the housing market with a homeownership affordability target to derive the market implications of such targets. In the presence of uncertainty and resource constraints, the objective of homeownership affordability is achieved for the targeted group at the expense of greater volatility in residential construction activity. When the size of the targeted sector is significant in size, there are spillover price and crowding out effects on the non-targeted housing market segment. This results in political pressure on the government to expand homeownership affordability targets to increasing segments of the population. Housing price to income ratios tend to be fairly constant over time and across targeted groups, the housing supply is relatively price inelastic and the income elasticity of housing demand is less than one. The Singapore government intervenes extensively in the housing sector to ensure homeownership affordability, with a resulting homeownership rate of 91 percent for the resident population. The above hypotheses regarding the implications of setting housing price to income ratio targets are tested using the Singapore housing market. The experience and data for Singapore were found to support the above hypotheses.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Singapore Management University, School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 14-2009.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2009
Date of revision: Nov 2009
Publication status: Published in SMU Economics and Statistics Working Paper Series
Handle: RePEc:siu:wpaper:14-2009

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Keywords: Affordable homeownership policy; market implications; Singapore;

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  1. Mark Robinson & Grant M. Scobie & Brian Hallinan, 2006. "Affordability of Housing: Concepts, Measurement and Evidence," Treasury Working Paper Series 06/03, New Zealand Treasury.
  2. Chiuri, Maria Concetta & Jappelli, Tullio, 2003. "Financial market imperfections and home ownership: A comparative study," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(5), pages 857-875, October.
  3. Donald R. Haurin & Toby L. Parcel & R. Jean Haurin, 2002. "Does Homeownership Affect Child Outcomes?," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 30(4), pages 635-666.
  4. John Krainer & Chishen Wei, 2004. "House prices and fundamental value," FRBSF Economic Letter, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue oct1.
  5. Matteo Iacoviello, 2002. "Hedging Housing Risk in London," FMG Discussion Papers dp415, Financial Markets Group.
  6. Murray, Michael P, 1999. "Subsidized and Unsubsidized Housing Stocks 1935 to 1987: Crowding Out and Cointegration," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 18(1), pages 107-24, January.
  7. John M. Quigley & Steven Raphael, 2004. "Is Housing Unaffordable? Why Isn't It More Affordable?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 191-214, Winter.
  8. Sinai, Todd & Waldfogel, Joel, 2005. "Do low-income housing subsidies increase the occupied housing stock?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(11-12), pages 2137-2164, December.
  9. Edward L. Glaeser & Joseph Gyourko, 2003. "The impact of building restrictions on housing affordability," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Jun, pages 21-39.
  10. John Harding & Thomas J. Miceli & C.F. Sirmans, 2000. "Do Owners Take Better Care of Their Housing Than Renters?," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 28(4), pages 663-681.
  11. Yong Tu & Grace K.M. Wong, 2002. "Public Policies and Public Resale Housing Prices in Singapore," International Real Estate Review, Asian Real Estate Society, vol. 5(1), pages 115-132.
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