Housing and Development Board

Housing and Development Board

The Housing and Development Board (Abbreviation: HDB; Simplified Chinese: 建屋发展局; Malay: "Lembaga Pembangunan dan Perumahan"; Tamil: வீடமைப்பு வளர்ச்சிக் கழகம் ) 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 government-built housing.


Shortly after independence, 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 Scheme was also introduced to help this group of people to buy instead of rent their flats. 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 [http://www.surbana.com Surbana Corporation Pte. Ltd.]

HDB's headquarters were previously located at Bukit Merah. They were moved to their new premises at the HDB Hub at 480 Lorong 6 Toa Payoh on 10 June 2002 [ [http://www.hdb.gov.sg/isoa031p.nsf/ImageView/AR2003/$file/hdb06.pdf http://www.hdb.gov.sg/isoa031p.nsf/ImageView/AR2003/$file/hdb06.pdf] ] . The existing Bukit Merah premises, known as Surbana One, became the headquarters for Surbana Corporation Pte. Ltd.

Flat eligibility and price

About 80-90% of Singapore's population are currently living in HDB flats, with high-density housing being a solution to the problem of overcrowding. There are a number of eligibility conditions in order for a flat to be purchased. A buyer must be a Singaporean citizen, and be 21 years of age and have a "proper family nucleus". Other requirements concern household status, time requirements, income and other special requirements. [cite web|url=http://www.hdb.gov.sg/fi10/fi10201p.nsf/WPDis/Buying%20A%20New%20HDB%20Flat%20(e-Sales)Policies%20-%20Eligibility%20Conditions%20to%20Buy%20a%20flat%20from%20HDB?OpenDocument&SubMenu=Policies|title=Buying A New HDB Flat (e-Sales) - Policies - Eligibility Conditions to Buy a flat from HDB]

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. Semi-public housing is governed under HUDC instead of HDB and have a much larger floor area. Size is usually denoted by the terms such as "four-room", "five-room" or similar, and is based on the number of rooms in addition to the living room but newer five-room apartments come with only 3-rooms and a dining room. Some newer HDB developed flats in new towns include some condominium facilities.

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.


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.

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

* Build To Order - launched on April 2001 for buying a new flat with a waiting period of 4 years.
* Design, Build and Sell Scheme - launched on October 2006 for buying a new condominium design flat build by private developer.
* Monthly Sale of 3-room, 4-room & bigger Flats, launched on April 2007, is set to replace Walk In Selection.
* Balloting Exercise (BE) - Surplus units of Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS), launched in August 1995.

Upgrading programmes

* Home Improvement Programme (HIP), launched on 19 August, 2007, is set to replace Main Upgrading Programme (MUP) which was launched in July 1990.
* Neighbourhood Renewal Programme (NRP) - launched on 19 August 2007, is set to replace IUP Plus.
* Interim Upgrading Programme Plus (IUP Plus - a combination of IUP and LUP) which was launched on 20 May 2002.
* Lift Upgrading Programme (LUP) - launched 2001.
* Interim Upgrading Programme (IUP) - launched in August 1993.
* Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS) - launched in August 1995.

HDB towns

*Ang Mo Kio New Town
*Bedok New Town
*Bishan New Town
*Bukit Batok New Town
*Bukit Panjang New Town
*Choa Chu Kang New Town
*Clementi New Town
*Hougang New Town
*Jurong East New Town
*Jurong West New Town
*Pasir Ris New Town
*Punggol New Town
*Sembawang New Town
*Serangoon New Town
*Sengkang New Town
*Tampines New Town
*Toa Payoh New Town
*Woodlands New Town
*Yishun New Town

HDB estates

*Bukit Merah Estate
*Bukit Timah Estate
*Geylang Estate
*Kallang/Whampoa Estate
*Marine Parade Estate
*Queenstown Estate
*Simei Estate

ee also

*Public housing in Singapore
*Public housing precincts in Singapore
*HLM (France)


External links

* [http://www.hdb.gov.sg HDB Website]
* [http://www.hdb.gov.sg/fi10/fi10201p.nsf/WPDis/Buying%20A%20New%20HDB%20Flat%20(e-Sales)eServices?OpenDocument&SubMenu=eServices HDB InfoWEB - Buying A New HDB Flat (eServices)]

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