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Lifetime Income and Housing Affordability in Singapore


  • Tilak Abeysinghe


  • Jiaying Gu



Most commonly used measures of housing affordability are essentially short-run indicators that compare current income with house prices or housing costs. Despite the emphasis in the literature on the importance of long-term affordability, researchers have not developed measures of lifetime income because of data constraints. Many developed countries publish annually household income by age of household heads. Using these data for Singapore, the paper presents a methodology to compute lifetime income from predicted annual household earnings over the working life for each birth cohort in the dataset. The lifetime income of Singapore households by three income quantiles sheds new light on widening income gaps. The affordability index, defined as the ratio of lifetime income to house price, reveals informative trends and cycles in housing affordability in both the public and the private sectors. The paper argues that residential property price escalations need to be avoided.

Suggested Citation

  • Tilak Abeysinghe & Jiaying Gu, 2011. "Lifetime Income and Housing Affordability in Singapore," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 48(9), pages 1875-1891, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:urbstu:v:48:y:2011:i:9:p:1875-1891

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    Cited by:

    1. Tilak Abeysinghe, "undated". "Old-age dependency: Is it really increasing in aging populations?," SCAPE Policy Research Working Paper Series 1601, National University of Singapore, Department of Economics, SCAPE.

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