Saturday 15 December 2012

Public Housing Design 101

Crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) is a multi-disciplinary approach to deterring criminal behavior through environmental design. CPTED strategies rely upon the ability to influence offender decisions that precede criminal acts. As of 2012, most implementations of CPTED occur solely within the built environment. By changing the areas we reside in to deter criminals from committing acts in our communities is the main goal of CPTED. Urban design and the planning that goes in to the creation of new and reformation of older communities, citizens in these neighborhoods and places of business can feel safer at all hours.


Friday 23 November 2012

The rise of social housing movement in Taiwan: dec 06

Unlike the developmental model in Singapore, public housing in Taiwan has been neglected overtime by the government in periods of rapid economic growth.  Most public housing units were built for and sold to the public servants and the people in the military sector instead of socially and economically disadvantageous people. Nowadays, public rental housing for disadvantaged people only occupies 0.09% of the total housing stock.  Therefore it could hardly play the role as social safety net when the Taiwan society experiences economic fluctuations.  At the same time, the skyrocketing price of housing has made purchasing a housing unit an unreachable dream for young people.  In addition, discrimination in the housing market also leads to the difficulties in housing searches for disadvantaged people such as elderly singletons, the disabled, and poor people.

 To address this situation, two years ago a movement urging the government to provide public rental housing emerged.  It could be viewed as a reincarnation of the housing movement in Taiwan from late 1980s to early 1990s.  However, this time the appeal of the movement has changed from government intervention in leveraging housing prices in the private market to more public housing or social housing for rental based on people’s housing rights.  This talk introduces the history of the two periods of housing movements in Taiwan, and gives an overview of the achievements as well as unachieved agenda of the recent movement for social housing in Taiwan.

For more information contact:

Venue: FASS, NUS, at the AS7 Shaw Foundation Building, level 6, in room 06-42, the Research Division Seminar Room.

Wednesday 10 October 2012

Charter Cities by Paul Rommer

Q: Would the government in the city subsidize the housing for the workers? 
A: The government can’t give residents in a city a higher standard of living by charging higher rent for the land and then giving renters their money back as a housing subsidy. People who work can afford to pay rent.

Q: If charter city residents live in small apartments with few amenities, would life there be any better than life in a slum?
A: In a charter city, all residents would have access to utilities like safe municipal water at costs below those that they would pay in a slum. They would not be subject to arbitrary relocation by predatory officials or gang leaders. They would live in a place with no tolerance for violence and crime, a place where people have to follow formal rules, rules that prevent harmful activities like dumping garbage in the street or building unsafe structures.

Q: Would housing in a charter city be constructed according to building codes?
A: Possibly. The people who rent apartments can’t verify after the fact that the building where they will live was constructed to be safe. Building codes are one way to solve the informational asymmetry. Efficient building codes can ensure safety without restricting the supply of small, low cost apartments.

Wednesday 5 September 2012

Growing housing opportunities in Africa: Encouraging investment / Growing the Market

A joint conference offered by the African Union for Housing Finance 

and the Bank of Tanzania’s Housing Finance Programme

 8 – 10 October 2012

Bank of Tanzania Conference Centre, 10 Mirambo Street, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Africa’s rapidly developing economies and cities offer tremendous opportunities, and challenges, for housing development and investment.  Urbanisation rates in Africa are the highest in the world, and positive growth over the last decade has put many countries in a position to assertively address the housing situations of their populations. While the mortgage sector remains small, developments in many countries suggests that this is changing.  Housing practitioners across the continent are beginning to grapple with and understand the opportunities available and are developing precisely targeted products and projects.  Their work begins to chart pathways for new entrants into the sector, and this will contribute towards the growth of the housing sector across the continent.  Governments, too, are recognising the integral role of housing in overall economic growth, and are addressing the regulatory and policy constraints to housing investment, opening up further opportunities for growth.
To showcase and promote these opportunities, the African Union for Housing Finance and the Housing Finance Programme of the Bank of Tanzania have joined forces to offer a conference with the theme “Growing Housing Opportunities in Africa: Encouraging Investment and Growing the Market”. 

It is fortuitous to offer the conference in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, where the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development and the Bank of Tanzania are working together in a partnership with the World Bank, and with the private sector, to grow housing opportunities in a focused way.   Tanzania’s experiences in growing its mortgage market and promoting the delivery of affordable housing, while also actively addressing the market where mortgages cannot go, will be showcased.  The experiences in Tanzania will be of particular interest to other countries exploring the potential of a mortgage liquidity facility, or who have already ventured on this path and wish to consider alternative approaches to the concept.  The first day will focus on ways to encourage investor interest, through the development of sustainable investment models, the collection of data and the development of lender track records.

The focus of the second day is on growing the market through the development of niche market interventions and products that meet the breadth of the housing need. The day starts with a showcase of successful developments in progress – delegates will be invited to choose four, of up to ten projects, which will be presented simultaneously in a “housing developments marketplace”.  This is followed by a session exploring different ways in which the needs of the low-income population can be served – from the provision of micro-mortgages through to sustainable housing microfinance.  The different examples offer housing practitioners useful insight into opportunities for their own growth and development.

This conference will enable delegates to define their own role in growing housing opportunities in Africa.  Whether delegates are government officials, investors, developers, lenders or members of civil society, the conference will offer each participant useful insights and evidence for promoting housing in their own local contexts.

Monday 23 July 2012

Hong Kong plans to ramp up new flats to 50,000 a year

HONG KONG - Space-starved Hong Kongers could see a steep ramp-up in the number of new flats built - to the tune of 50,000 a year, if a key aide to new leader Leung Chun Ying has his way.

If realised, it will be the highest number seen in Hong Kong over the past two decades, and will certainly bring to a screeching halt the spike in property prices, which have soared 80 per cent in the last three years alone.

It marks a huge jump from the 18,000 flats that were built in the last fiscal year ending March, and outstrips the 35,000 goal set by the previous Donald Tsang government for the coming years.

In an interview with The Straits Times, Mr Barry Cheung, who chaired Mr Leung's election campaign and is now a member of his executive council, said: 'I think we have to provide significantly more flats than what we did in the last five years.

'We need to get it up to at least 50,000 a year.'

Mr Leung has made housing a key platform of his government and has pledged to release more land. But he has not said how many homes they will provide for.

Mr Cheung's view - he is also the chairman of Hong Kong's Urban Renewal Authority - provides a hint of the parameters that the new administration is considering.

But flooding the market with 50,000 units a year invokes fears of plummeting property prices.

In 1997, Hong Kong's first chief executive Tung Chee Hwa promised to build 85,000 flats annually - reportedly Mr Leung's idea. But the policy collapsed when market sentiment went south and Hong Kong was hit by the Asian financial crisis.

Mr Cheung says that what is needed this time is for the government to step in with more public housing to buffer private home owners from the impact.

Private homes comprise over half - 52 per cent - of the market in Hong Kong. About 30 per cent live in public rental flats, while the remaining 18 per cent live in flats the government sells at discounted prices.

Of his proposed pipeline of new homes, less than half - about 20,000 - would be private homes. The rest would be public housing.

At the bottom, more rental flats would be built - some 176,000 applicants are now on the waiting list. The government will build 15,000 such flats a year.

The second tier is the subsidised homes under the Home Ownership Scheme (HOS) for low-income families earning below HK$30,000 (S$5,000) a month. There is a planning target of 5,000 a year.

Mr Cheung says that a third tier needs to be created, for what he calls 'the typical middle class' - those who earn too much to qualify for HOS but cannot afford private homes. This way, needs can be met 'without necessarily bringing down the private market'.

It will take three or four years to realise this plan of building more flats, but genuine buyers will be able to enter the market before then, he adds.

'If investors see that down the road, there will be increased supply, they will be less inclined to speculate and that takes demand out of the market today. So more end-users would be able to go in,' he notes.
Such a proposal would benefit the many Hong Kongers - about 100,000 live in homes such as garrets and bed-space flats - on the hunt for affordable homes.

But it raises the ire of developers like Mr Steward Leung, chairman of the Real Estate Developers Association executive committee, who calls it 'irresponsible'.

'If all 30,000 are for public rental housing, we developers of course welcome that. But if they are for HOS flats, then the market will be shaken, definitely.'

Dr Edward Yiu of the Hong Kong University worries about a possible unintended impact of having the public sector expanding its role - a 'polarised housing market'. He says: 'Developers would want to maximise their profits with the less land given, and so will turn them all into luxury flats.'

Wednesday 6 June 2012

Malaysian - My First Home Scheme

Skim Rumah Pertamaku (SRP) - My First Home Scheme was first announced in the 2011 Budget by the Malaysian Government to assist young adults who have just joined the workforce, earning RM3,000 per month or less to own  their first home.

The Scheme allows young adults to obtain 100% financing from financial institutions, enabling them to own their 1st home without the need to pay a 10% downpayment. This is in line with the Government’s aspirations of increasing home ownership amongst the “rakyat”.

In the 2012 Budget, it was announced that the maximum property value be increased from RM220,000 to RM400,000, effective from 1 January 2012.


Wednesday 25 April 2012

Affordable Housing: Middle East

Affordable housing has shot up the Gulf’s policy agenda in the slipstream of the Arab Spring. Over the past year, governments across the region have woken up to the fact that putting roofs over people’s heads is central to the viability of the social compact between state and subject......

Saturday 14 April 2012

California's Community Redevelopment Agency

California’s community redevelopment agencies were created in the 1940s to encourage urban renewal. The agencies could acquire property, including through condemnation, finance infrastructure improvements and sell the land to private owners at below-market prices. Their dissolution has thrown into question the fate of hundreds of projects, including housing developments intended for low- and moderate-income people.

In California, it is relatively rare for developers to be offered tax abatements, density bonuses and other incentives for building in places that are considered risky. Instead, the redevelopment agencies could use the additional property taxes that were generated by enhancing the value of the land, and this so-called tax increment financing became the primary redevelopment tool. This year the incremental tax would have amounted to $5 billion, or 12 percent of all of the property tax collected throughout the state.


Monday 9 April 2012

South Africa Slogan: Houses for Everyone

 Housing is at the forefront of the national agenda for delivery and the government is taking overall responsibility for providing houses to all. The government inherited a critical housing shortage, with the 1996 Census reflecting a housing backlog of 2 202 519. Since coming to power in 1994, the state has built 1,4 million housing units, providing more than 5 million people with secure homes. For indicators on the progress of housing delivery since 1994,

Home ownership
The government’s goal is to create sustainable housing developments whereby people own their properties. This engenders a sense of pride in their homes, streets and areas and advances the entire community. At least 2 million people have benefited from the transfer of ownership of 398 000 houses to their residents since the government came to power. In the past 8 years, the percentage of home-owners has risen from 66 to 77 percent of all household dwellers, despite the fact that the number of households has also increased by 1,5-million since then.

Housing subsidies
The National Housing Subsidy Programme aims to stimulate both rural and urban development. Since 1994, 1 323 205 housing subsidies were allocated, 36 percent of these to women-headed households. National housing policy specifies that all housing subsidies offered be met with a contribution from the recipient – either in the form of funds or labour - to encourage a culture of responsibility and saving for housing. The Housing Subsidy Scheme gives six different funding options for those who are eligible and who earn R3 500 or less per month.

Finance for the poor
For housing developments to be sustainable, contributions are required from all sectors of society – government, communities, NGOs, the private sector and individuals. Access to finance remains the biggest obstacle to housing delivery. Since 1994 the government has attempted to work out solutions with banks on issues like red-lining, bad debts and subsidy-linked bonds. Servcon was established as a public-private partnership to tackle the problem of bond defaulting and has so far cleared 15 000 bad loans worth R612-million. The National Housing Finance Corporation was also set up (in 1996) to give banks access to capital for subsidy-linked and lower income housing. So far the NHFC has given out R1,5-billion to finance institutions for housing.

Job creation and skills development
The government’s low cost housing programme creates jobs by promoting labour-intensive methods, employing local labour and small-time contractors. It also supports those who prefer to build their own homes and provides technical, financial and other support to them.

Human settlement
Around 53,6 percent of the population live in urban areas. The Human Settlement Redevelopment Programme, initiated in 1999, aims to improve the quality of the urban environment and address the imbalances and backlogs inherited from the apartheid government. This involves yearly roll-on housing development plans spanning all three tiers of government. So far the government has spent more than R40-million in 15 areas in all 9 provinces in human settlement programmes.

Read more:

Monday 19 March 2012

Singapore Style: MOM

MOM (ministry of manpower) Guidelines on Worker Housing in Singapore

Steel Frame Housing

Fast to put up and relatively straightforward maintenance.

RSS - indonesian angle

The Indonesians have a name for low-cost housing. It is called “Rumah Sederhana
Sehat, or RSS” (means Simple, Healthy Housing)