90 percent of Singaporeans and permanent residents live in subsidized public housing, of which more than 80 percent own a 99-year lease on the flat in which they reside. The leasehold entitles the sitting tenant to right to sell the rights-to-use of the flat to a third party, who is eligible to public housing. This high degree of public housing ‘homeownership’ is enabled by the extensive use of the social security savings of the sitting tenant to finance the cost of housing. This apparently enviable success of housing the entire nation has over the years accumulated a series of contradictions that are inherent to the system itself, such as built in price inflation that affects affordability of public housing. This presentation will discuss some of the contradictions and their management by the Singapore government.
About the Speaker:
Professor Beng Huat CHUA is Singaporean. Like most Singapore students during his secondary school days, he studied for BSc in Biology and Chemistry in his undergraduate. After completing his degree, he realized that the isolated life of a lab scientist is not for him and switched to postgraduate study in Sociology. After obtaining his MA and PhD in Sociology from York University, Canada, he stayed on in Canada and taught at Trent University, Ontario. He returned to Singapore in 1980 to take up the Director of the Social Research Unit at the Housing and Development Board. He joined the Department of Sociology at NUS in 1986. He was appointed Provost Chair Professor in 2009.
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