HDB Living in Singapore

HDB estates are the most common types of residential dwelling in Singapore with 81%1 of Singaporeans living in HDB flats. Compared to living in condominiums or landed properties, all HDB flats come with a set of policies and regulations that some of us might not be aware of. This is especially so for millennials and Gen Zs who are intending to opt for Built to Order (BTO) flats or purchase their own HDB resale apartment. For most of us, buying and owning an HDB apartment is one of our goals in life. Therefore, knowing the different policies, understanding current HDB housing situations and learning how this impacts future HDB owners can help us better prepare ourselves to make more well-informed decisions in our HDB acquisition process.

Ethnic Integration Policy 

One of the HDB policies includes the Ethnic Integration Policy (EIP), which ensures that HDB estates have a balanced mix of ethnicities. Under this policy, different ethnicities are limited to a certain percentage of blocks or neighbourhoods. This means that if we plan to sell or purchase a new HDB apartment, it is important to ensure that both sellers and buyers are of the same ethnic group. Ultimately, the EIP was introduced to promote a more multiracial Singapore. It provides opportunities for interaction and socialisation among the different races, preserving racial peace and harmony.

99-year HDB Lease

Did you know that after 99 years of buying your HDB flat, it will be returned to the state? As land scarcity is a pressing social issue in Singapore, not only does this help make way for more space, it also considers our future generations too. It is the best way to recycle land and ensure that our descendants can buy BTO flats of their own. Moreover, HDBs are constantly changing whether it is design trends, mechanical or electrical systems in homes.By redeveloping the land and building new flats in place of old ones, better newer and safer conditions are made possible.

Current Housing Situation 

Presently, the demand for resale and renting of flats in Singapore has seen a significant increase. This is largely due to longer BTO flat waiting times brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to HDB, there is an estimated waiting time of 3 to 5 and a half years for newer BTO projects launched this year and last year. Channel NewsAsia2 (CNA) reported that property analysts expect HDB resale prices to rise in the coming quarters, albeit at a slower pace. Since the start of 2021, due to the prolonged delays in BTO projects, prices of BTOs have increased by 8.9%. As a result, more homebuyers are turning to resale HDB flats. HappyDot.sg’s online survey revealed that 77% of participants disagreed that housing in Singapore is affordable. 

The Future Of BTO Housing 

HDB has released a teaser for the upcoming February 2022 BTO launch. In addition, details of the Prime Location Public Housing (PHL) model was announced recently as well. By adopting this new model, public housing will remain affordable, accessible and inclusive for Singaporeans in prime, central locations such as the city center and Greater Southern Waterfront. 

Apart from the location and type of housing, one important element to note about future BTO housing estates is the shift in focus to sustainable living. With climate change and global warming being ongoing environmental social issues in Singapore, green towns and eco-friendly living will become more common. For instance, Tengah will be the first eco-town in Singapore equipped with smart technologies and green features such as centralised cooling, solar power and eco-boards. With Tengah paving the way for a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle, we are likely to see more BTO houses following in its footsteps and empowering sustainable living.

Tengah HDB Town

When it comes to getting your own HDB apartment, familiarity with current housing situations and knowing what we can expect in the future allows us to better optimise the benefits and appreciate living in HDBs.

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1 https://www.statista.com/statistics/966747/population-living-in-public-housing-singapore/

2 https://www.channelnewsasia.com/singapore/record-high-hdb-resale-price-q3-2021-2215726