Design, Build and Sell Scheme was introduced in 2005, giving private developers freedom to build and sell public housing in the way they sell condos. Since private developers are hungry for profit, DBSS flats have smaller rooms and abnormal high prices compared with BTO flats despite of same income ceiling ($8.000 per month, $10.000 per month after 2011). DBSS land sales were suspended in 2011.
Biggest HDB town, biggest HDB block, smallest HDB block, longest HDB block, most segmented HDB, private HDB blocks, most expensive HDB flats, new vertical numbering system (1983), etc.
Properties in Singapore are by two types: freehold and leasehold. Leasehold in case of private residential buildings is 999 years, 99 years (or 103 years with 4 years construction time), or in rare cases, 60 years. Other types of buildings can have shorter leases. All HDB flats except Studio Apartments are leased on 99 years.
HDB InfoWeb Appliation Status page does provide the application rate for last BTO project and SBF, breakdown by flat type. I compiled an Excel table with a summary of application rate for every BTO and SBF launch from 2010 to present and offer it for free download together with HTML pages.
Have you ever wondered what were the HDB flat prices in the past, but have a hard time digging for prices around various news websites and forums? In 2016 I spent about 10 hours compiling selling price ranges of all BTO flats in one Excel database that you can download and compare flat prices by town, by flat type, etc. I update database with every BTO launch (usually every 3 months).
Singapore Improvement Trust set up in 1927 and focused on infrastructure, it also built small scale public housing, such as Tiong Bahru (started in 1936) and Queenstown (started in 1952 and completed by HDB in 1960s). In 32 years, SIT built only 23,000 flats, housing 8.8% of Singapore population in 1959.
If you need a database of Management Corporation Strata Title phone numbers for telemarketing, I made this database for you sourcing data from BCA website > MCST enquiry. Sorry for people looking for email marketing but BCA do not provide MCST agent email addresses.
– ONE city per country, is not mandatory to be the capital or the largest city.
– City should have at least 1 million people, never mind of Venice.
– Should be taken in consideration as many points is possible, but biggest point is for the living conditions. This ranking is like “Best cities to LIVE” not “Best cities to VISIT (as tourist)”.
– The ranking is not related with the photos. I just added one random landmark photo for each city.
United States is a country of contrasts. Skyscrapers in downtown and low-density landed houses in suburbs. Despite of being one of the wealthiest countries of the world and having one of the highest costs of living in the world, American face income inequality and many living under poverty line. This article is valid at some extent for Canada, Australia and New Zeeland too.
According Greenlivingpedia, average sizes of NEW homes as 201.5 sqm in USA (average detached home 217.8 sqm), and 214.6 sqm in Australia (average detached home 245.3 sqm). What is unclear is if these numbers include garage area.
North Korea is an interesting country for being full of mysteries. It is the most isolated country in the world and most of information comes from government media, tourists and defectors, which contradicts each other. All articles about North Korea found on internet have less or more degree of inaccuracy, including my own article.
North Korea is widely considered as the worst place to live. In reality, it is not that worse, living there is just… different than the rest of world. North Koreans have no contact with outer world and live happily as long they do what the Supreme Leader wants and obey stupid laws, brainwashed by government that their country is the best on earth. While the industry is lagging several decades behind rest of world, the population is one of the most educated in the world, reaching a level of order and discipline that should be example for any citizen in the outer world.
At first impression, North Korea looks a developed country, with high literacy rate, beautiful architecture and well-planned cities, but actually it is one of the poorest countries in the world, and the single highly educated country suffering by famine. The economy started rising again in 2000s, but most of money goes to political elite and their nuclear program, while population suffer from malnutrition.
South Korea may be one of the best places to live, being one of the most developed countries in the world, one of the world’s fastest growing economies from 1970s to 1990s, one of the most equilibrated income of the world. South Korea overtook Japan in some ways. I love South Korea more than Japan mostly because of architecture and apartment complexes, the Japanese cities having too many landed houses.
More than half of South Koreans live in massive of apartment blocks, private developers built distinct complexes but with identical buildings arranged in grid all around the city. South Korean society emphasizes the family, not the community, and the apartment design reflect that. Korean developers pay attention to offering best living conditions instead of maximizing their own profits. Apartment blocks are usually 15 to 30 floors and large open spaces between them, not crowded by developers hungry for profit like in other countries. All units come with floor heating and high-tech fittings (details below). People hate the appearance of the apartment complex, but love to live in an apartment unit in that complex.
Hong Kong is the most vertical city in the world according Emporis Skyline Ranking, beating cities like New York, Singapore, or Sao Paulo in the number of high-rises (with over 12 storeys) or skyscrapers (over 100 and 150 meters in height), also beats all records of proportion of population living above any given storey number, but it has been recently defeated by Dubai in terms of supertalls (over 300 meters).
The massiveness of skyscrapers contrasts with the extremely small apartments, typical size is 35-45 sqm for 3-room and 50-60 sqm for 4-room. 3-room is most common apartment type, but today there are more 4-room under construction. Same for Macau too. Minimum ceiling height is 2.5 meters.
Once you leave Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, you enter in a very different world. New Territories include few “New Towns” less dense, but still with massive apartment towers. Unlike Singapore which is fully urbanized, HongKong also have rural areas, low-density village houses in New Territories, that foreigners call them “slums”. Hong Kong have lots of nature, scenic roads, forest walks, hiking trails, etc.
Price of typical, 50 sqm apartments vary from 2 million HKD (250,000 USD) in New Territories to over 6 million HKD in Hong Kong Island, even higher prices in Mid-Levels.
Housing in Europe is pretty similar all over the continent. If you though that ugly panel block public housing exists only in former communist eastern block, you are WRONG. Western Europe have ugly public housing too, but it is hidden at city outskirts and built to improve standard of living of the poor, usually inhabited by immigrants, it became criminal enclaves. In Eastern Europe you see ugly public housing everywhere in the city. Socialists governments demolished most landed houses inside cities including historical monuments and forced everyone, even the rich class, to move in low quality apartments.
The greatest thing of Singapore is the public housing, built by Housing and Development Board, it is the home for 80% of Singaporeans, from low to middle class (the peak was 87% in 1988-1990). Unlike other countries where public housing is mostly rental, HDB public housing is mostly “sold”, helping Singapore to have the highest home ownership ratio in the world: 91%, but the home ownership is actually a 99 years lease to “owners”.
Typical, 100 sq m HDB apartments, are sold on resale market at prices from 400,000 SGD (320,000 USD) at island outskirts to 700,000 SGD (560,000 USD) in Queenstown, as 2013 bubble peak, doubled since 2007 due to undersupply. New HDB apartments are subsided at 20-30% less than market prices, with additional grants for first timers and low-income people.
The remaining 20% of housing stock is composed by private apartments, condos, landed houses and traditional shophouses.
Malaysia have a total of 7,346,910 housing units, of which Detached 2,416,210, Semi-detached 528,408, Terrace/link 2,570,317, Townhouse 32,682, Cluster 63,345, Flat 744,187, Apartment or condominium 716,729, few more housing types do exist (as 2010). Home ownership ratio 72.5%.
Japan is one of the best places to live, the economy boomed after World War II but since 1990s the rising was very slow, it is still one of the most advanced economies in the world, highest standard of living, where everything run as it should, BUT… Japan is also one of the ugliest of all developed countries. They simply suck at architecture and urban planning. Except the downtown with skyscrapers, Tokyo skyline is dominated by ugly dense buildings and lots of cables hanging on streets.
Latin America have a wide variety of housing, from luxury apartment towers to slums, sometimes next to each other. “Verticalization” is a symbol of progress, real estate developers are building numerous apartment towers aimed to middle class, at same time there is massive deficit of affordable housing. Favelas (slums) are home for 30% of Brazil population, some being built on mountain side and overlooking the waterfront crowded with luxury apartment towers for ultra-rich people. Although certain countries have high human development index, the income inequality is huge, high number of people living in poverty generate high crime rate.
The Philippines is a beautiful country until we talk about living conditions and government. One of the poorest countries in the world, ruled by one of the most corrupted governments in the world. Corruption and geography isolation keep foreign investment away, good paying jobs are hard to be found, so about 10% of country population is working overseas, and build beautiful houses when they return home.
Many people are living in slums, of the rest who have legal land titles, many built houses that still looks like slums. In downtown Manila every unused piece of land get occupied by informal settlers, river beds are also heavily built, people living above highly polluted water and in danger of flooding.
Africa is the least studied region of world by me. Known for poverty and civil wars, I though that is nothing interesting there, until recently… Africa does have interesting architecture that worth studying!
In my opinion, most beautiful city in Africa is Luanda. with many modern housing complexes built after 2000. Impressive for such an African country. The biggest housing complex, Kilamba New Town was built in 2007-2012 by Chinese developers and cover 8.8 sq km, it comprise about 750 blocks with only 3 apartment types: 3-bedroom (90-100 sqm?), 4-bedroom (120 sqm), 5-bedroom (150 sqm). For years it was a ghost city with slow selling apartments due to high prices and difficult mortgages.
Housing in India is dominated by low-rise apartment buildings, houses with high land coverage (back-to-back terraced-like houses) and slums. Some houses are inner lots, access being via 1.5-meter wide passages under other houses, and ventilated only by small airwells).
Most houses are being built over many years by multiple family generations, adding extra floors over time, with no architect and engineers. Multi-generation families, 10+ people sharing same house is common, each floor belonging to another branch of family, or even worse, each family branch having just one room.
Chinese cities are monotonous (like South Korea cities), having rows of linear buildings with identical apartments all over the city. From satellite photos I can see that most common block type is segmented block with 2 apartments per floor, with main rooms facing south, typical size 16 m long and 12 m wide, no significant increase over last 10-20 years. Most blocks are 6 floors, probably maximum height allowed without lifts. Most blocks are placed at 15 meters apart, probably minimum by law (quite dense compared with other countries).
Since 2000s number of high-rise buildings increased rapidly, residential towers with more complex shapes, but the construction of traditional low-rise linear blocks continue. Most apartments have 2-3 bedrooms, some 4 bedrooms, and include a balcony for living room.
Vietnam is known for their extremely narrow and tall houses, this happened due to a former property tax based on house frontage (similar law did existed in Netherlands in 16th-18th centuries). People build houses as narrow they could, deep and tall. Originally intended for one family, many houses have been rebuild taller and owners are renting part of their houses to additional families due to rapid urbanization and housing shortage. Today in city center the houses average 3 meters wide, 10 to 30 meters depth, and 3 to 7 floors, they are known as “tube houses” or “rocket houses”.
Hong Kong Housing Authority was formed in 1954, soon after a major file in Shek Kip Mei left 53000 people homeless on christmas day of 1953.
Shek Kip Mei Estate, the first public housing estate, was ready in 1954. The “flats” were just one room of 120 square feet, kitchen and bathrooms were communal, shared by all floor residents. Original plan was to allocate 24 square feet (2.2 square meters) per adult and half that for each child under 12. But due to the extreme shortage in available housing, a flat was shared by more than one family, 10-15 people per room were common in its first years, and during summer months, people were sleeping also on corridors.
Lower Ngau Tau Kok Estate, built in early 1960s, was in the first group of estates built with lifts. All blocks were 16-floor high, elevators were stopping at ground, 8th and 13th floors.
Private housing in Hong Kong include tenement buildings, stand-alone buildings, private housing estates, villas and village houses.
A political loophole between China and Hong Kong created a 2.6 hectare Chinese enclave in Kowloon where Hong Kong authorities had no rights and Chinese authorities refused to take care. Originally a military fort, it developed into a city for refugees, criminals, illegal businesses, drug dealers, unlicensed doctors and dentists, who could operate there without threat of prosecution. Was demolished in 1993 and replaced by a park.
Public housing and private housing estates. Region, district, estate, phase, block, number of floors, units per floor, total units, occupation date.
Hong Kong use an unique system where Gross floor area include a sharepart of common spaces, thus two blocks with identical apartment units but with different number of units per floor had different gross floor area stated for each apartment, because in the block with fewer apartments per floor the common areas were divided to fewer apartments. In other countries Gross floor area meaning is like Hong Kong’s Saleable area.
Enjoy breathtaking panoramas over Hong Kong towers!
Per total, 53% of housing are owner-occupied. Is hard for me to make estimation about average apartment size in Hong Kong or about the ratio sqm per person, due to lack of detailed statistics about housing system, high income inequality, many people living in extremely small 1-room apartments, illegally-divided apartments, as well as boathouses, caged homes, rooftop huts and other forms of inhumane homes.
Philadelphia City Hall (1901), Singer Building (1908), Metropolitan Life Tower (1909), Woolworth Building (1913), Equitable Building (1915), Bank of Manhattan Trust Building (1930), Chrysler Building (1930), Empire State Building (1931), World Trade Center (1971), Sears Tower (1973), CN Tower (1976), Petronas Towers (1998), Taipei 101 (2004), Shanghai World Financial Center (2008), Burj Khalifa (2010), Jeddah Tower (under construction).