HDB will construct its one millionth flat capping 50 years of achievements

Is there a role for Singapore’s Housing and Development Board (HDB), now that the entire population has been housed?

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the answer is “Yes” as the HDB is still responsible for providing good public housing and fostering social integration.

Speaking at its 50th anniversary, Mr Lee also revealed the board will celebrate half a century of achievements by building its one millionth flat this year.

The HDB is a central part of the Singapore Story said Prime Minister Lee. Over half a century, it housed a growing population and was integral in nation-building.

PM Lee said: “Two generations of Singaporeans have grown up in HDB flats. Public housing helped to mould our unique national identity and collective experience as Singaporeans. It created and shaped our commu¬nities and provided the foundation for our social stability and economic growth.”

But Mr Lee notes the environment has changed and the aspirations of Singaporeans risen sharply.

He added: “Finding a roof over our heads is no longer the pressing requirement. The HDB flat is not just a shelter but also a key investment asset. People have many considerations in choosing their flats – they want the right flat, in the right locality, at the right time and at the right price.

“Such high expect¬ations are understandable since buying a flat is a major commitment for a young couple setting up a home together.”

And HDB is committed to providing high quality housing, even though it cannot accommodate every preference or expectation.

The Prime Minister also emphasised a point expressed several times by other Ministers and very much an ongoing concern amongst flat buyers in the rising property market. And that is the government’s commitment to keeping HDB flat prices affordable for Singa¬poreans.

But Mr Lee said the government has less control over prices in the resale market.

He explained: “These resale prices are set by individual households who transact flats on a willing-buyer, willing-seller basis, and are affected by movements and sentiments in the wider economy, including in the private property market. Hence, resale prices of HDB flats will fluctuate from year-to-year. But over the long term, the value of HDB flats depends on the strength of the Singa¬pore economy.”

So provided Singapore continues to do well, Mr Lee’s confident the flats will maintain their value and Singaporeans can enjoy an appreciating asset.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 26 Jan 2010

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