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Six out of 10 owners in Singapore still live in their first HDB flat: Khaw Boon Wan

SIX out of 10 owners of 900,000 flats in Singapore live in their first Housing & Development Board (HDB) flat, Khaw Boon Wan, Minister for National Development said on Wednesday.

"This is a remarkably high percentage of 61 per cent,'' Mr Khaw said in his latest blog entry titled "First Flat, First Home, Lasting Memories" where he writes about 50 years of home ownership in Singapore.

He noted that in cities where people rent their homes, there is a tendency to move and shift to new places as they change jobs. But Singapore is 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," Mr Khaw said.

Among the 26 HDB towns/estates, the percentage of owners who are still residing in their first flats ranged from 53 per cent in Woodlands to 77 per cent in Tanjong Pagar/Chinatown/Bugis).

The other high-scorers are Marine Parade at 74 per cent, Kallang/Whampoa at 68 per cent, Bukit Timah/Geylang 67 per cent and Ang Mo Kio/Bishan/Punggol/Serangoon at 66 per cent.

"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.)," Mr Khaw said.

The minister ended his blog with a promise "to make all HDB towns an endearing town and all HDB flats a lovely home" for Singaporeans to live in.

In 1964, the Singapore government introduced the Home Ownership for the People Scheme to give citizens a tangible asset in the country, a means of financial security and a hedge against inflation.

Today, more than 80 per cent of Singapore's resident population live in HDB flats, making the public housing programme one of the nation's most renowned achievements.