August 8, 2018
The Housing & Development Board (HDB) was set up on 1 February 1960 to solve Singapore’s housing crisis. Back in the day, many people were living in unhygienic slums and crowded squatter settlements. Only 9% of Singaporeans lived in government flats, while others yearned for a place to call home.
HDB sprang into action, and in less than three years, a total of 21,000 flats were built. By 1965, the HDB had built 54,000 flats.
Today, over one million HDB flats have been completed across the island, providing affordable housing options for generations of Singaporeans throughout the decades. But just how much have HDB home prices changed throughout the years?
Source: HDB, EdgeProp.sg
During its first decade of operation, HDB built only one- to four-room flats. To cope with a growing population, five-room flats were then introduced in the 1970s.
By the end of the decade, 36% of the total population were living in HDB flats. Average prices of HDB homes in the 1970s were:
3-room: Avg size - 646 sq ft; Avg price - $15,000 (New sale)
4-room: Avg size - 807 sq ft; Avg price - $20,000 (New sale)
5-room: Avg size - 1,022 sq ft; Avg price - $30,000 (New sale)
Average floor sizes of new flats were increased from the early 1980s in response to the demand for bigger living spaces. Housing types like maisonettes were also introduced during this era.
More notably, HDB eased its eligibility conditions to allow more people a chance at homeownership in 1989, when it relaxed its citizenship criterion to allow Singapore permanent residents to own HDB flats. Average HDB flat prices in the 1980s were:
3-room: Avg size - 646 sq ft; Avg price - $50,000 (New sale)
4-room: Avg size - 807 sq ft; Avg price - $80,000 (New sale)
5-room: Avg size - 1,022 sq ft; Avg price - $110,000 (New sale)
Executive: Avg size - 1,506 sq ft; Avg price - $140,000 (New sale)
The year 1991 saw one of the most significant changes in HDB’s policies for singles when it announced that single citizens aged 35 years and above could purchase HDB flats on their own. However, they were limited to only 3-room or smaller flats outside the central area.
In 1995, an intermediate category of housing to bridge the gap between HDB flats and private properties were introduced. Known as Executive Condominiums (ECs), these projects are built and sold by private developers. ECs offer the standard of private condo living but at lower prices and came with certain restrictions. Average prices of HDB flats in the 1990s fell in the following ranges:
3-room: Avg size - 753 sq ft; Avg price - $120,000 (New sale); $200,000 (Resale)
4-room: Avg size - 1,022 sq ft; Avg price - $170,000 (New sale); $270,000 (Resale)
5-room: Avg size - 1,345sq ft; Avg price - $230,000 (New sale); $350,000 (Resale)
Executive: Avg size - 1,560 sq ft; Avg price - $280,000 (New sale); $420,000 (Resale)
Average floor sizes were decreased for new flats built in the 2000s. In the early part of the decade, further revisions were made to HDB’s policies for singles to allow Singaporeans to purchase flats of any type in any location.
It was also during this era that the Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) was introduced to add variety to public housing types in Singapore. Under DBSS, designated sites were sold to private developers, who are then responsible for designing, building and selling the flats.
Pricing increased significantly towards the end of the decade due to rising construction costs. The average prices for HDB flats during this decade were:
3-room: Avg size - 699 sq ft; Avg price - $110,000 (New sale); $180,000 (Resale)
4-room: Avg size - 968 sq ft; Avg price - $180,000 (New sale); $255,000 (Resale)
5-room: Avg size - 1,184 sq ft; Avg price - $240,000 (New sale); $340,000 (Resale)
Executive: Avg size - 1,399 sq ft; Avg price - $300,000 (New sale); $410,000 (Resale)
5) 2010s – present
Since peaking in 2Q2013, the HDB resale price index has been on a continuous descent for five consecutive years. However, we might be at a turning point as the HDB resale index showed a 0.1% q-o-q pickup in 2Q2018.
Today, a four-room resale HDB flat in Queenstown – one of the most expensive HDB estates to live in - comes up to a median transacted price of $718,000 in 2018. In comparison, three-bedroom condo units in a similar location typically costs at least $1 million. Average prices for HDB flats in 2018 are:
3-room: Avg size - 699 sq ft; Avg price - $291,000 (New sale); $310,000 (Resale)
4-room: Avg size - 968 sq ft; Avg price - $376,300 (New sale); $435,000 (Resale)
5-room: Avg size - 1,184 sq ft; Avg price - $448,700 (New sale); $530,000 (Resale)
Executive: Avg size - 1,399 sq ft; Avg price - $535,900 (New sale); $780,000 (Resale)
Note: Information is compiled from HDB and various online sources. They serve as guides and should not be used for official purposes.