Home extends beyond the four walls of our HDB flat. It is the living, breathing spaces where families and communities flourish, and experiences and memories are shared. In meeting the housing needs of the nation, HDB has set itself a mission to create a high quality living environment, where Singaporeans can live, work and play.
Affordable and Quality Homes for All
This Financial Year (FY), HDB continued to keep public housing affordable and accessible to a diverse group of home buyers through various measures and policies. In addition to delivering on our building programme, we enhanced our housing policies to help more Singaporeans own a home that best suits their needs. In particular, young couples received added support to get their first homes sooner. Lower-income families can also look forward to more targeted assistance to realise their home ownership aspirations.
As of 31 March 2019, 81% of Singapore’s population live in our flats, with about 9 in 10 owning their flats. The public residential market remained stable, with a moderate increase in resale volume and a healthy take-up rate for our new flats.
HDB continued to push boundaries as it strived to build homes that excel in design and quality. The CONQUAS score is the national yardstick to assess a building’s workmanship. In FY 2018, HDB achieved an average score of 92.0, exceeding our target of 88.0 and surpassing even private housing developments.
Smart and Sustainable Living
Beyond the home, HDB has taken bold steps towards creating vibrant and highly liveable environments in new and existing towns.
Plans for new housing areas in Bidadari, Tengah, and Punggol are progressively being realised. Fresh design ideas, new precast methods, and cutting-edge smart technologies will make public housing not only well-designed, but future-ready. In our quest towards greater sustainability, liveability and resilience, we are also creating more nature-centric neighbourhoods. This enhances the urban environment so that residents can enjoy the numerous benefits that nature has to offer.
HDB towns must remain cherished homes for Singaporeans. We are systematically upgrading older flats and renewing ageing towns. Beyond extending the Home Improvement Programme (HIP) to younger flats built between 1987 and 1997, HDB is also putting in place long-term plans for the next phase of our public housing programme. This includes introducing a second round of upgrading under HIP II in about 10 years’ time when flats are 60 years of age. HDB will progressively redevelop selected precincts under the new Voluntary Early Redevelopment Scheme in about 20 years’ time, when flats are around 70 years of age.
Endearing Towns, Vibrant Communities
Community spaces are the lifeblood of our towns. These spaces are where residents come together, build relationships and forge connections. We will continue to encourage social interaction and bonding among the community. HDB has invested much effort to provide a wide range of community spaces, such as the Town and Community Plazas at Bedok, Punggol, Kampung Admiralty, and Yishun. This FY alone, 493 events were organised at these plazas, bringing together over 227,000 residents.
To spur more ground-up involvement amongst residents in enlivening their community spaces, HDB doubled the funding cap for building projects under the HDB Friendly Faces, Lively Places Fund from $10,000 to $20,000. The fund was also made available to shopkeepers to carry out community bonding activities in their neighbourhoods. Since the launch of the $500,000 fund in May 2016, some $360,000 have been disbursed or committed.
Play spaces matter too. We will build on the resounding success of the Build-A-Playground (BAP) pilot in Canberra estate, where residents were actively involved in the end-to-end process of designing and building the playground. HDB will be extending the initiative to 5 existing playgrounds in 4 other towns.
It has been a fulfilling year. I am pleased that our bold strides in transforming the public housing landscape have borne fruit. For the second time in a row, HDB was awarded the Singapore Quality Award (SQA) 2018 with Special Commendation. This affirmed that we are on the right track in providing quality homes for Singaporeans, and putting their needs at the heart of our policies and programmes. This pinnacle award for business excellence is presented to organisations that have continued to demonstrate outstanding performance and global leadership in key business areas.
HDB’s achievements would not have been possible without the support of its people. I would like to thank the HDB Board members and the Management for their strong sense of purpose and conviction. I also extend my heartfelt appreciation to the staff for their commitment and hard work in making HDB an excellent organisation and trusted provider of homes for all.
The Next Chapter
Come 2020 next year, HDB will reach yet another milestone – its 60th anniversary. As we prepare to commemorate this significant occasion, we are mindful that the road ahead will be challenging. An ageing population, and rapidly changing urban and social landscapes mean that we cannot afford to rest on our laurels. I am confident that HDB will continue to innovate and harness technology to deliver well-designed and quality homes for Singaporeans. We will always keep faith with our mission and keep pace with changing aspirations.