Housing and Development Board
The Housing and Development Board (Abbreviation: HDB; Simplified Chinese: 建屋发展局; Template:Lang-ms; Template:Lang-ta) is the statutory board of the Ministry of National Development responsible for public housing in Singapore. It is generally credited with clearing up the squatters and slums of the 1960s and resettling residents into low-cost state-built housing.
Shortly after being granted self-governance, Singapore faced a serious problem of housing shortages. In response, the government passed the Housing and Development Act of 1960 which replaced the existing Singapore Improvement Trust with the Housing and Development Board.
Led by Lim Kim San, its first priority during formation was to build as many low-cost housing units as possible, and the Five-Year Plan was introduced. The housing that was initially built was mostly meant for rental by the low income group. The Home Ownership for the People Scheme was also introduced to help this group of people to buy instead of rent their flats. While the new scheme acted as a hedge against inflation, it provided the home owners financial security. Later, the people were allowed to use their Central Provident Fund money for downpayment. These efforts were however not successful enough then in convincing the people living in the squatter settlements to move into these flats. It was only later, after the Bukit Ho Swee Fire, that HDB's efficiency and earnestness won the people over.
54,430 housing units were built between 1960 and 1965 by the HDB. Due to land constraints, high-rise and high-density flats were chosen.
The policies of the HDB were largely in line of the manifesto set out by the Singapore government; the government was promoting social cohesion and patriotism within the country. In 1968, citizens were allowed to use their pension fund (Central Provident Fund) to purchase and own the homes they were renting to give them a stake of the country and as an incentive to work hard. In 1980, a quota was introduced to ensure that no particular racial group concentrated together to prevent sectarianism. To prevent social stratification that may lead to social conflict, the housing of different income groups are mixed together in estates and new towns.
In the 1990s, the HDB concentrated on the upgrading of existing older flats, installing new facilities such as lifts that stop on every floor. Studio apartments were built specially to suit the needs of senior citizens in Singapore's aging society. However, some of these flats were quickly bought up by young working singles.
On 1 July 2003, the Building & Development Division of HDB was corporatized to form HDB Corporation Pte. Ltd. (HDBCorp in short). HDBCorp was later renamed as Surbana Corporation Pte. Ltd. HDB's headquarters were previously located at Bukit Merah, were moved to their new premises at the HDB Hub at 480 Lorong 6 Toa Payoh on 10 June 2002 . Some of their current departments include:-
- HAD (Housing Administration Department)
- EAPD (Estate Administration & Property Department)
- IPD (Industrial Properties Department)
- BQD (Building Quality Department)
- PLD (Properties & Land Department)
- CRD (Community Relations Department)
The existing Bukit Merah premises, known as Surbana One, became the headquarters for Surbana Corporation Pte. Ltd.
Flat eligibility and price
More than 80% of Singapore's population live in HDB flats, with 95% of them owning their HDB flat. There are a number of eligibility conditions in order for a flat to be purchased. A buyer must be a Singaporean citizen, or P.R. and be 21 years of age and have a family. Non-citizens and singles are not allowed to purchase new HDB flats. Other requirements concern household status, time requirements, income and other special requirements.
Ownership in public housing is limited to a 99-year lease. There are several types of public and semi-public housing available, classified on the basis of the number of rooms and size of the flat. Size is usually denoted by the terms such as four-room, five-room or similar, and is based on the number of bedrooms in addition to the living room but newer five-room apartments come with only three bedrooms and a dining room. Semi-public housing like executive maisonette is governed under HUDC last time instead of HDB and have a much larger floor area. Some newer HDB developed flats in new towns include condominium-like finishes.
Most of the residential housing developments in Singapore are publicly built. Thus, public housing in Singapore is not considered a sign of poverty or a lower standard of living; as compared to public housing in other developed countries where land constraint is a non-issue and property pricing is significantly cheaper. Very few people in Singapore live below the poverty line.
For example, an HDB 4-room flat depending on age, environment and surrounding amenities can have a sale value of between S$200,000 to above S$300,000 and an HUDC Executive maisonette above S$500,000. However, in contrast a privately developed condominium type housing can cost as much as S$1,000,000 and above. The largest HDB flats (in terms of floor area) ever built are two-storey Executive Masionettes built in the 1990s which can have floor area ranging from 160 - 190 m².
|sq m (Avg)||S$ (Avg)||S$ (Avg)|
|1970s||3 room||60||$15,000||-||Construction cost-based pricing approach|
|1980s sharp rise@81 (a)||3 room||65||$50,000||-||Construction cost-based and|
land-based pricing approach
|1990s sharp rise@93 till 97||3 room||70||$120,000||$200,000||Construction cost-based and|
market land-based pricing approach
|2000s (b)||3 room||65||$110,000||$150,000|
|2007s sharp rise@2008 (c)||3 room||65||$140,000||$200,000||Construction cost-based and|
market resale-based pricing approach
|2010 (d)||3 room||65||$291,000||Median house price (including approximate transaction cost)|
|(a) Average floor sizes was increased for new flat built from year 1981.|
(b) Average floor sizes was decreased for new flat built from year 2000 but with premium design finishing except 3-rm unit.
(c) Pricing increased in year 2008 are also due to rising construction cost from sand and concrete supply.
(d)Straits Times, 4th August 2010
Singapore maintains a quota system of ethnicities within the HDB program. There are strict requirements as to who can move into an HDB flat, based on whether they are Chinese, Indian, Malay, or that they belong to another race. Singapore maintains that there must be a certain ratio of ethnicities within the HDB blocks, and any move-in or move-out must adhere to this policy. The HDB declares that this is to promote homogeny amongst Singapore's diverse population, in order to prevent racialism and racial segregation and preventing homogeneous racial blocks from forming. Critics contend that the policy is designed to ensure that ethnic Chinese are the majority in every electoral constituency and to prevent the formation of opposition districts.
Other considerations for granting the application of an HDB flat include the priority given to buyers, as well as citizenship and residency requirements, based on the number of children.
New flats programmes
|HDB new flats programmes|
|Registration for Flat||RFS||1980s||Feb 2002||Any surplus units from BTOs, balance BEs or|
HDB buy-back schemes through balloting method
|Walk In Selection||WIS||Mar 2002||Feb 2007|
|Mthly/Qtrly/Hyrly/Balance Sale||E-Sale||Apr 2007||-|
|Balloting Exercise||BE||Aug 1995||-||Only available for initial large surplus units of SERS|
|Build-To-Order (HDB)||BTO||Apr 2001||-||Buying a new flat with a waiting period of 4 years|
|Design, Build and Sell Scheme||DBSS||Oct 2006||-||Buying a new condominium design flat build by private developer|
|HDB Upgrading programmes|
|Main Upgrading Programme||MUP||Jul 1990||-||Interior upgrading programmes for flats built up to 1986, and|
HIP which have not undergone MUP, with added optional improvements
|Home Improvement Programme||HIP||Aug 2007||-|
|Interim Upgrading Programme||IUP||Aug 1993||Aug 2002||The common areas of a precinct were upgraded, landscape upgrading programmes stopped in flavour of IUP Plus|
|Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme||SERS||Aug 1995||-||Flats built up to 1980 which have not undergone any type of upgrading programmes|
|Lift Upgrading Programme||LUP||Sep 2001||-||Direct level access to lift for flats built up to 1990,|
IUP Plus - a combination of two programmes, IUP and LUP
|Interim Upgrading Programme Plus||IUP Plus||May 2002||-|
|Neighbourhood Renewal Programme||NRP||Aug 2007||-||This would include MUP/HIP (interior) and IUP Plus (landscape) as it focus on block and neighbourhood improvements|