Naturally, we attach strong feelings to our first: our first date, our first kiss, our first job, our first child etc. Our first experience lingers on and evokes strong nostalgia. They often make lasting memories.
Among the many firsts, our first HDB flat, which for most Singaporeans, is often also our first home, occupies a special place in our heart. This is where we build our family, bring up our children and from where we build our network of neighbours and close friends.
In most other cities where most people rent their homes, people often move and shift to new places as they change jobs. In Singapore, we are unique because of HDB and its highly successful “Home Ownership for the People Scheme” which entered its 50th Anniversary this year. Home owners, unlike tenants, largely stay put in one place. The stability allows us to build deep community ties and lasting friendship and memories. Our first HDB flat therefore takes on special role.
How many Singaporeans today live in their first flat and their first home?
Today, 6 out of 10 owners of 900,000 flats in Singapore live in their first HDB flat. This is a remarkably high percentage of 61%.
Among the 26 HDB towns/estates, the percentage ranged from 53% (Woodlands) to 77% (Tanjong Pagar/Chinatown/Bugis). The other high-scorers are Marine Parade (74%), Kallang/Whampoa (68%), Bt Timah/Geylang (67%) and Ang Mo Kio/Bishan/Punggol/Serangoon (66%). Not surprisingly, the attractions of (central) location and comprehensive facilities make most owners living in mature estates decide to stay put. (Punggol with its superior layout and design was a pleasant exception, also partly due to its relatively young age.)
Knowing that the majority of Singaporeans will live in their first HDB flat for most, if not all, of their lives, we have to make sure that we put in our best to make all HDB towns an endearing town and all HDB flats a lovely home. This is our promise. This is our pledge.
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