International experience: the housing dilemma — from Vienna to Singapore
How do different countries tackle the issue of providing affordable quality housing, and is their experience applicable to Russia?
Why don’t people in Vienna aspire to own apartments and prefer to carry on renting instead, in which country are only residents allowed to purchase houses, and which problems can be solved with the help of the so-called «flexible standards» that are widely applied around the world? Strelka Magazine has prepared a comparative overview of the best international practices based on a study by the Spanish company CTA: City Transformation Agency, which was prepared as part of a larger project dedicated to the development of the «Guidelines for Complex Development of Urban Territories in the Russian Federation,» and carried out by Strelka KB and The Foundation of the Single Development Institute in the Housing Sphere (created by Agency for Housing Mortgage Lending, AHML).
In most countries, affordable housing is a kind of housing that provides the minimal amount of dwelling space per person with all the basic facilities, as well as access to employment and social services. Monthly housing expenses must stay below 30% of family income. Five factors contribute to the affordability of housing: the construction cost per square meter, the level of household income, mortgage rates, maintenance costs, and the current demand and supply ratio on the market. It’s these parameters that the government is most eager to influence.
HOW TO PROVIDE AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN OVERPOPULATED CITIES: RENTAL HOUSING UNITS, GOVERNMENTAL CONTROL, AND SOCIAL HOUSING
It’s predicted that by 2030 nearly 5 billion people will be living in cities, while overpopulation is already a reality for many megalopolises around the world. Most cities that are successful in their housing policies choose not to expand their borders and focus instead on the development of the existing districts. Several mechanisms are employed here. In Vancouver, where vacant housing amounts to only 0.6% of the total housing stock, while 65% of all housing is privately owned, new experimental forms are being introduced. For example, temporary modular housing units or co-housing: condos with a large proportion of common space. The city also offers investors concessions on land purchases, on the condition that 100% of future apartments will be offered for rent only, and that their prices will be 20% below market price.