The Single Singapore Citizen Scheme was introduced in October 1991 to allow single Singaporeans aged 35 and above to purchase Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats. At the time of its implementation, applicants could buy three-room or smaller resale flats in all areas except at densely populated estates such as Bukit Merah, Geylang, Kallang, Whampoa, Queenstown, Farrer Road, Tanjong Rhu, Mountbatten, Outram Park and Beach Road. The programme was targeted at some 67,000 singles aged between 35 and 49. The scheme was implemented soon after then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong announced in his inaugural National Day Rally speech in 1991 that the government was looking into reviewing the housing policy to help singles own or rent HDB flats.
Prior to the liberalisation of the housing policy towards singles, the government was hesitant in extending public housing to them because there was a high demand for flats, and the priority of the HDB then was to house families. The government was also of the view then that the use of space would not be fully optimised if singles were allowed to occupy a whole flat in land-scarce Singapore. In addition, flat ownership by singles was inconsistent with the government’s social policy of encouraging marriage and the preservation of the traditional family unit.
The reversal in policy came about in 1991 when most of the housing needs of families had already been met  The government also acknowledged the fact that some Singaporeans chose not to marry and would prefer to live on their own. After the easing of the home ownership policy, some 3,007 singles bought HDB flats between October 1991 and January 1993.
The rules of the Single Singapore Citizen Scheme were further revised and relaxed over the years. From August 2001, singles could buy flats located in any area in Singapore, and from September 2004 onwards, they were allowed to buy flats of any size. Another milestone was reached in July 2013 when singles were allowed to buy flats directly from the HDB for the first time.
1. Koh, E. (1991, October 18). Singles above 35 may buy HDB flats on their own. The Business Times, p. 2; Easier for singles to buy HDB flats. (1991, October 18). The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
2. Ministry of Information and the Arts. (1991, August 11). Transcript of Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong’s National Day Rally Speech (English) on 11 August 1991 (p. 12). Retrieved December 18, 2013, from National Archives of Singapore website: http://archivesonline.nas.sg/
3. Tan, H. H. (1983, January 3). HDB can’t afford to relax its eligibility rules. Singapore Monitor, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4. Dhana: we won’t change HDB policy on singles. (1987, March 5). The Straits Times, p. 11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; The Straits Times, 18 Oct 1991, p. 1.
5. Why singles can’t own HDB flats. (1988, October 24). The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; The Straits Times, 18 Oct 1991, p. 1.
6. The Straits Times, 18 Oct 1991, p. 1.
7. PM says no to request to relax ownership rules further for singles. (1991, November 11). The Straits Times, p. 22. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Singapore. Parliament. Parliament Debates: Offical Report. (2003, October 27). Home ownership (policy changes) (Vol. 76, col. 554). Call no.: RSING 328.5957 SIN.
8. Kong, L. (1993, January 30). 3,007 singles bought HDB flats. The Straits Times, p. 9. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. Tan, H. Y. (1999, May 29). Housing policy for singles may change. The Straits Times, p. 2; Lim, L. (2001, August 28). 3-room urban flats now for singles too. The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
10. Paulo, D. A. (2004, August 30). PM Lee: Singles can now buy bigger HDB flats. Today, p. 1; Tan, H. Y., & Yeo, J. (2004, September 1). Grants for singles: Income limit cut. The Straits Times, p. 1; New HDB deal for singles. (2004, September 1). The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
11. Chin, D. (2013, March 9). Singles can soon buy flats from HDB. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva..
The information in this article is valid as at 2014 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.