iSentia Insights SEA recently participated in the Asia Pacific Network for Housing Research Conference hosted by the Faculty of Built Environment, University of Malaya. The conference focused on pressing housing issues the global society is facing today. Various researchers from around the world came together and shared their findings on topics ranging from the housing crisis faced by middle-income groups, gated communities, housing affordability and sustainable housing development. Senior Portfolio Analyst, Muzamir Manap of Insights SEA, presented a paper entitled ‘Singapore’s Housing Policy in Light of a Growing Foreign Population’. The media analysis paper evaluated press articles between January and June 2013 which covered the 2030 Population White Paper, the FY13 Singapore Budget and Singapore’s wider housing policy discussion.
Our findings showed that the overall discussion was relatively open and balanced, providing views from government as well as the public, and positive and negative views equally. The issues that were discussed in the Insights paper were divided into two main categories: society and economy. Within these broader themes, the analysis delved further into topics such as population growth, housing availability, the construction sector and foreign investors. The analysed coverage discussed announcements and public response to cooling measures for the property market by the Singapore government, which included several initiatives such as housing credit caps, property taxes and additional buyer stamp duty adjustments.
Media interest in the housing discussion peaked in February 2013 with the release of the 2030 Population White Paper that sparked the debate on Singapore’s immigration and housing policies. The media reported public feedback on foreign worker cuts, government subsidies, rebates and incentives for housing as well as the evolving culture and community in Singapore with the increasing population of foreign nationals.
The iSentia paper had a favourable reception during the conference due to its uniqueness in using media coverage as data to gauge the interest and opinions of Singapore residents on the city-state’s housing policy. The application of this research method to a specific topic such as housing yielded useful insight and was recognised as a worthwhile research tool to understand public perceptions. The study also demonstrated again, the importance of media as an influencer in policymaking - in societies that are growing in their social engagement - for educational purposes and sharing of opinion that can be crucial for the development of a country.
The full Insights report is available by request.