When noted writer and politician Edith Sommerskill visited Singapore in 1954, her observations of Singapore and its landlords was less than flattering. Today, it hardly seems as if she is describing the same city.
At the same time, UK housebuilding has routinely fallen short, resulting in a housing shortage and decreasing rates of home ownership.
There appears to be a lot we can learn from the way this city-state has rebounded. After achieving its independence, Singapore required an effective policy to solve its housing shortage and rejuvenate the economy.
Government bodies were established and given the legal powers needed to implement these policies. In the 1970s housing expenditure was approximately 8% of the GDP and reached up to 15% in the 1980s and 1990s.
In his book, former Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew delivered insights into how the country developed and implemented its housing policy. In the 1960s the government enforced compulsory purchase orders and set a limit on land purchase prices, preventing profiteering and ensuring that the country had enough land to build homes. By the end of 1965, the housebuilding target had been exceeded.