Dr. Cheong Koon Hean
Chief Executive Officer
The HDB story began in 1960, when we were set up to address the acute housing needs of a young nation. Today, as Singapore’s largest housing developer, we have come a long way from providing basic housing to transforming the living environment and skyline here through public housing.
Cherished Homes for Life
Through the decades, a key priority for HDB has been to provide quality and affordable homes for Singaporeans at every stage of their lives. In this FY, we delivered on our building programme as planned, launching about 14,500 Build-to-Order (BTO) flats and 7,500 balance flats under the Sale of Balance Flats exercises and Re-Offer of Balance Flats exercise. We also introduced a new sales mode to help buyers get a home quicker, when they book a flat from a pool of unselected flats at any time of the year.
To make public housing even more affordable and accessible, we raised the monthly household income ceiling from $12,000 to $14,000 for families and from $6,000 to $7,000 for singles. We also introduced a new Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (EHG), which replaced the Additional CPF Housing Grant and the Special CPF Housing Grant. The EHG provides up to $80,000 in housing grants for eligible first-timer families, when they buy a new or resale flat of any flat type, in any location. First-timer singles can also enjoy up to $40,000 in housing grants under the EHG. With more choices, buyers stand to benefit from this grant.
We continued to refine our policies to meet diverse housing needs. The Silver Housing Bonus was simplified and enhanced to further help elderly households supplement their retirement income when they unlock the value of their property by moving to another 3-room or smaller flat. Unmarried parents aged 21 and above can now buy a 3-room flat in a non-mature estate, compared to only a 2-room flat previously. By expanding their housing options, we hope to support them in their housing needs, providing their children with a stable home to grow up in.
Towards Better Public Housing
Even as we delivered on our building programme, we have not let up in our efforts to design, plan and build modern, self-sufficient towns and estates. Guided by our Roadmap to Better Living, we continued to create well-designed, sustainable, and community-centric homes that are relevant to Singaporeans’ lifestyle needs.
Recognising the evolving tastes of home owners, especially in the last 10 years, HDB introduced BTO flats with more modern and better quality fittings this FY. The improvements include water-efficient bathroom sanitary fittings, laminated timber doors and sleeker steel entrance gates with thumb-turn knobs.
HDB also continued to pursue innovative solutions to ensure our towns remain highly liveable and sustainable.
This FY, we achieved a breakthrough with the setting up of the largest 3D concrete printer in South-east Asia. Successful printing trials have produced room-sized volumetric components in just 13 hours. Building on these efforts, HDB will look into technologies to enhance the print quality and automate the end-to-end processes from printing to finished product. This will help to improve the overall productivity and reduce the number of workers needed to produce room-size prefinished volumetric components.
As we strive to build greener and safer homes for Singaporeans, we have also embarked on other research collaborations with industry leaders and partners. These include a collaboration with Evonik (SEA) Pte Ltd to study how to mitigate heat gain in HDB buildings and another with V-Key Pte Ltd to develop the infrastructure that can support a variety of smart home solutions in HDB’s smart-enabled flats.
People at the Heart
A vibrant, cohesive community is the lifeblood of our towns, and forging strong ties among neighbours is key to our mission. This FY, we continued to create myriad opportunities for residents to mingle and bond, such as events held during HDB Community Week 2019 as well as MyNiceHome Roadshows. Residents who wish to initiate community projects can tap on the re-branded Lively Places Programme for funding, or participate in other outreach activities to promote gracious, harmonious, and responsible heartland living under the Friends of Our Heartlands (FOH) network.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has kept us physically apart and changed the way we interact with one another, we continued to engage with our residents by moving our roadshows online, ensuring they are still able to learn more about their future homes and pick up useful information on HDB living. Even as we continuously innovate and drive our digital transformation, we will ensure that our residents remain at the heart of it all.
2020 is a significant year for HDB as it marks our 60th anniversary—60 years of planning, designing, and building quality homes for Singaporeans. Behind the scenes, countless people—from staff to residents—have worked hard in helping us achieve our vision of world-class public housing. From HDB staff Shimin, who guides rental tenants to progress to a home of their own, to 15-year-old community volunteer Dhanya who conducts eco-tours around Punggol for her schoolmates, they tell us of the homes they envision, may it be within the four walls of the HDB flat, or the world beyond. You can read some of their stories in this year’s Annual Report.
As we turn the page to a new chapter and look beyond 60, HDB reaffirms our commitment to push the boundaries to take public housing to the next level and provide the best homes for Singaporeans. We will continue to seek out new and bold ideas, innovate and improve, to create homes for life that Singaporeans will cherish and be proud of.