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Right in the Heart of Town
The new Prime Location Public Housing model is a balanced approach towards developing new homes at sought-after central locations while keeping public housing inclusive, affordable, and accessible to Singaporeans.
Perspective of River Peaks I and II, the first BTO projects under the new Prime Location Public Housing model
Downtown living brings to mind high-end apartments with sweeping city views; homes that can command top dollar for the convenience and prestige of a prime address. In the next few years, new HDB developments will be built in Singapore’s Central Region. While these will come at a far friendlier price tag than private developments in the vicinity, they will be no less well-designed and well-built.
The building of public housing in prime locations will give more Singaporeans a chance to live close to the city centre. This is in step with evolving housing aspirations and strong demand, which is why HDB has launched more new flats in mature estates in recent years, offering prospective home buyers with a wide range of homes in various locations.
Public housing can be found across Singapore, even forming part of the city skyline
Building new homes in older housing estates has been part of HDB’s efforts to rejuvenate and renew its towns. Rising 50 storeys from Singapore’s Central Business District, The Pinnacle@Duxton is an iconic development completed in 2009 and built where some of the oldest HDB blocks once stood. In Dawson, developed land was similarly recycled for even more efficient use, as low-rise homes made way for HDB’s new-generation public housing projects.
With limited land available in central areas, urban transformations are to be expected. For example, a public housing project launched in November 2021 in Rochor sits on the site of a once-sprawling flea market, and the Keppel Club site will be redeveloped for both public and private housing, as part of the Greater Southern Waterfront makeover.
Existing public housing within the Central Area have been highly sought after, due to its prime location. These translate to robust resale and rental transactions. Over time, these estates that are constantly in demand could become gentrified and only affordable to wealthier households. To ensure that public housing in prime central locations continue to reflect the diversity of our society, there was a need to develop a new model for public housing in prime locations.
The Greater Southern Waterfront stretches from Gardens by the Bay East to Pasir Panjang
The Prime Location Public Housing model (PLH) model aims to keep HDB flats in central locations affordable and accessible.
It was developed after extensive public engagement, where over 7,500 Singaporeans, including academics and industry experts, shared their views on the housing model. HDB, together with the Ministry of National Development, considered a variety of measures — each with their merits and trade-offs — to formulate the PLH model for new public housing projects in prime locations.
Given their attractive locations and attributes, the market prices of flats in prime areas would naturally be higher than the typical Build-To-Order (BTO) project. To keep these homes within reach of a larger group of Singaporeans, PLH flats will be priced with additional subsidies. To be fair to other BTO flat buyers who do not enjoy these additional subsidies, owners of PLH flats will need to return a percentage of the resale price, commensurate with the extent of additional subsidy provided, when they subsequently sell their flat.
The quota for flats set aside under a priority scheme, which helps a married child and the parents live close to each other, will also be adjusted. This allows public housing in prime central locations to be more inclusive, as it provides more opportunities to Singaporeans who do not have family members living near the area to also live in these neighbourhoods.
To ensure that the estates remain accessible to a broad group of subsequent flat buyers over time — beyond the initial purchase — tighter resale and rental conditions have been applied to PLH flats. For example, buyers of resale PLH flats have to meet the prevailing eligibility conditions for the purchase of a flat directly from HDB. A longer Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) of 10 years aims to safeguard these flats for Singaporeans with genuine housing needs and strengthen the owner-occupation intent. In addition, renting out of the whole PLH flat will not be allowed, even after MOP.
The pilot PLH projects at Rochor received a healthy response when it was launched in November 2021. The most popular flat type was 4-room flats, with nearly 7,000 applicants vying for 680 units; the high demand signalling that PLH flats are a close match to home buyer aspirations.
PLH has bold intentions and is a new public housing model that will be refined over time. While flats sold under this model are expected to make up only a small proportion of the overall public housing supply, HDB plans to launch at least one PLH project per year to create a steady supply and allow more Singaporeans the opportunity to live in prime, central locations.
Living in the City
River Peaks I and II will comprise 6 high-rise residential towers soaring above the surrounding Rochor area. There will also be amenities to meet residents’ daily needs
Located next to Jalan Besar MRT, River Peaks I and II are the first BTO projects to be launched under the PLH model. The two developments feature 6 high-rise residential towers soaring above the surrounding Rochor area. River Peaks I and II are envisioned as green oases with myriad facilities amidst green spaces. Residents can enjoy gardens, playgrounds, adult and elderly fitness stations around their home, while sky terraces will offer spectacular views of the city.
Just a short walk away is King George’s Heights, the second PLH project that was launched in February 2022. It is designed as an urban sanctuary and will include a landscaped trail that leads residents to the nearby Rochor canal for a stroll by the water.
Additionally, within River Peaks I and II, there will be a supermarket, food and beverage outlets, a Residents’ Network centre, elderly facilities and a childcare centre. The introduction of these BTO developments will undoubtedly bring about greater convenience to those who live and work in the Rochor area.
All perspectives used in this article are artists' impressions only; actual developments may differ.