Housing and Urban Development Company
The Housing and Urban Development Company (HUDC) was set up in 1974 to provide housing for middle-income households in Singapore. At the time, middle-income families did not qualify for Housing and Development Board (HDB) units but yet could not afford private homes.1
HUDC was incorporated in February 1974 as a private company equally owned by HDB, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and the Primary Industries Enterprises Private Limited.Its main objective was to build residential properties for sale to non-property-owning middle-income Singapore citizens as well as certain categories of permanent residents whose total monthly family income did not exceed S$4,000.2 These groups of people were not eligible for HDB flats as the income ceiling for a five-room HDB unit then was S$1,500.3
By 1981, the income ceiling for HDB flats had been raised to S$6,000. However, this was lifted for applicants from the civil service and statutory boards as part of the government’s special housing scheme to give priority to civil servants and employees of statutory boards.4
Buyers of HUDC flats were allowed to use their savings in the Central Provident Fund (CPF), similar to HDB homebuyers.5 At first, they could only use their CPF contributions to pay up to half of the initial 20 percent deposit and up to half of each subsequent instalment. There were six such instalments under the scheme.6 In 1983, it was announced that buyers of new HUDC flats were allowed to use all their CPF savings in the ordinary account as payment.7 This concession was extended to buyers of resale HUDC flats in 1986.8
HUDC units were mostly high-rise and were larger than HDB units. They were usually in good or exclusive locations similar to private condominiums.9 Under its initial programme, HUDC constructed 1,600 units of flats in the estates of Lakeview, Farrer, East Coast, Braddell and Amber.10 Between 1976 and 1982, HUDC sold 2,732 units of housing.11
Transfer of HUDC estates to HDB
In 1982, the estates of HUDC and Jurong Town Corporation (JTC) were transferred to HDB. This enabled HDB to be the national housing authority that was solely responsible for building public flats.12 The integration of HUDC estates into the overall planning of HDB also allowed a better social mix in the development of housing estates.13
HDB built an additional 5,275 HUDC units, but stopped in 1987 as demand for them declined. The property downturn in the mid-1980s also resulted in over 1,000 HUDC units not being sold in 1986. The HUDC middle-income housing scheme was then discontinued.14
Privatisation of HUDC estates
Privatisation of HUDC estates began in 1995 to meet the rising aspiration of Singaporeans to own private homes and to give owners greater control of the management and maintenance of their estates.15 Privatisation also enabled owners to increase the value of their property and to move from public housing to private housing without having to make a physical move.16
At least 75 percent of owners in each HUDC estate must vote for the conversion of the leases of flats to strata titles in order for the privatisation to proceed. Pine Grove and Gillman Heights residents were selected in 1995 for a pilot project, as these two estates had lobbied and shown support for privatisation.17
Braddell View, the largest of the 18 HUDC estates, was the last to be privatised in 2017.18 It was launched for collective sale by tender in 2019.19 Amberville was the first former HUDC estate to be sold collectively in 2006.20
1. Tommy Thong Bee Koh, et al. eds., Singapore: The Encyclopedia (Singapore: Editions Didier Millet in association with the National Heritage Board, 2006), 241. (Call no. RSING 959.57003 SIN-[HIS])
2. “HUDC to Provide Quality Housing,” Straits Times, 6 October 1976, 10. (From NewspaperSG)
3. Sock-Yong Phang, Policy Innovations for Affordable Housing in Singapore: From Colony to Global City (Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), 35. (Call no. RSING 363.58095957 PHA)
4. “HUDC Lifts Income Limit,” Straits Times, 26 January 1981, 1. (From NewspaperSG)
5. Sock-Yong, Policy Innovations for Affordable Housing in Singapore, 36.
6. Wee-Lian Chong, “Payments on HUDC Flats,” Straits Times, 28 December 1974, 23. (From NewspaperSG)
7. “HUDC Flat-Buyers Can Now Use Full CPF Savings,” Straits Times, 1 April 1983, 1. (From NewspaperSG)
8. Mathew Yap, “CPF Limit Removed for These HUDC Flats,” Straits Times, 22 July 1986, 24. (From NewspaperSG)
9. Koh, Singapore: The Encyclopedia, 241; Sock-Yong, Policy Innovations for Affordable Housing in Singapore, 36.
10. “HUDC to Provide Quality Housing.”
11. Sock-Yong, Policy Innovations for Affordable Housing in Singapore, 36.
12. “HDB to Be National Housing Authority,” Straits Times, 25 May 1981, 8. (From NewspaperSG)
13. “HDB to Be National Housing Authority”; Koh, Singapore: The Encyclopedia, 241.
14. Sock-Yong, Policy Innovations for Affordable Housing in Singapore, 36.
15. Ng Jun Sen, “HUDC Era Ends as Last Estate Goes Private,” Straits Times, 18 March 2017, 3. (From NewspaperSG)
16. Belinda Yuen, Teo Ko Pin and Ooi Giok Ling, Singapore Housing: An Annotated Bibliography (Singapore: Faculty of Architecture, Building & Real Estate, NUS, 1999), 6. (Call no. RSING 016.35355 YUE-[LIB])
17. Ann Williams, “Govt to Privatise HUDC Estates,” Straits Times, 25 May 1995, 1. (From NewspaperSG)
18. Ng, “HUDC Era Ends as Last Estate Goes Private.”
19. “Braddell View’s $2.08 Billion en Bloc Tender Closes without a Bid,” Straits Times, 29 May 2019. (From Factiva via NLB’s eResources website)
20. Joyce Teo, “Amberville Sold en Bloc for $183m,” Straits Times, 19 January 2006, 18. (From NewspaperSG)
The information in this article is valid as at December 2020 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.
Singapore. Housing and Development Board