Today, Braddell View Housing and Urban Development Company (HUDC) estate will be designated for privatisation. It is the last of 18 HUDC estates in Singapore to be so designated. Symbolically, the designation marks the end of the HUDC era.
The first batch of HUDC estates was built in the 1970s to help middle-income families own their homes. At that time, some found private properties out of reach, but they did not qualify for new HDB flats. There were also few public housing units available for resale in the open market.
The HUDC scheme was conceived, and 18 estates were built. They were very well received by Singaporeans.
I remember HUDC well. I was new to Singapore in late 70s, having just graduated from the University. My wife and I did some house hunting and zeroed in on the HUDC estate at Novena. As it turned out, the purchase did not materialise and we ended up renting from the HDB at Bedok for a number of years.
However, by the 1980s, demand for HUDC flats has dwindled, as by then there were more HDB flats in the resale market. HDB has also introduced the Executive Flats as an alternative housing option, and private properties had also become more affordable after a declining property cycle.
In 1987, HDB stopped building HUDC altogether. By then, 18 estates had already been built. In 1995, HDB started to privatise the HUDC estates, enabling these families to become private property owners, if they so wish.
We have come a long way since we started building HUDC estates in the 1970s. Housing policies are dynamic and evolve with changing circumstances. HDB has since stopped building Executive Flats and Executive Condos have also been born.
The era of HUDCs has ended. However, HUDC estates will remain a testament to the creative ways in which we have housed our people and help them fulfil their dreams.
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