S'pore residents living in smaller HDB flats more likely to have aspirations for better housing

In the HDB Sample Household Survey, 35.2 per cent of households said they aspired for better housing. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - Singapore residents who live in smaller Housing Board flats are more likely to have aspirations for better housing, as compared to those who live in five-room or executive flats.

Such aspirations to have a bigger flat, to live in private property, or to live in a purchased flat instead of a rental flat, are also the most prevalent among younger HDB residents, with more than seven in 10 of those aged below 35 wanting to do so.

Meanwhile, close to eight in 10 elderly HDB residents aged 65 and above said they were content with their flat type.

These findings were captured in the latest HDB Sample Household Survey released on Wednesday (Feb 10). It is conducted once every five years.

The report, which surveyed about 7,800 HDB households in 2018, tackled issues related to public housing ranging from residents' housing aspirations to their family ties and aspirations.

Aspirations for better housing saw the highest increase among those living in one- and two-room flats, with more than half saying in 2018 that they wished to have better housing, compared with 37 per cent of respondents in 2008.

The figure increased by 10.8 percentage points from 2008 to 35.6 per cent for those living in four-room flats in 2018, and by 6 percentage points for those in three-room flats.

Meanwhile, this figure remained similar for those in five-room flats between 2008 and 2018, with 27.3 per cent wanting to do so in 2018 compared with 27.8 per cent a decade ago. A smaller proportion in executive flats wished to have better housing. About one in four wanted to do so in 2018, compared with about 27 per cent in 2008.

In total, 35.2 per cent of households said they aspired for better housing in 2018, up from 28.6 per cent in 2008.

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Intentions to move

The survey also found that a majority of HDB residents said they had no intention of moving in the next five years. But there was a slight increase in those who said they wanted to do so, from 12.4 per cent in 2013 to 13.3 per cent in 2018.

Those who were more inclined to move included residents in one- and two-room flats, and families with young children.

About one in five of those living in these one- and two-room flats said they wanted to move, compared with about 10 per cent of those living in other flat types.

About 30 per cent of families with young children (aged 12 and below) intended to move within the next five years, compared with about 16 per cent of those with teenage children, or about 14 per cent of those with married children.

The proportion of HDB households that had moved at least once since marriage increased from seven in 10 in 2013 to eight in 10 in 2018, the report also found.

"Common reasons for moving include life cycle changes and life events," the HDB said in a press release.

About eight in 10 of families with children had also moved at least once since marriage, while about half of families without children had done so.

Mr Nicholas Mak, ERA Realty's head of research and consultancy, was not surprised by the finding that those who are younger and who lived in smaller flats aspired to live in better housing.

"Some young couples may apply for and live in Build-To-Order flats even if they are not keen on the location or flat type, just so they can secure a HDB flat before they exceed the income ceiling," he noted.

They will then sell it for capital gains after the five-year minimum occupation period is up, he added.

Young married couples may also hope to have more space after having children, while those who are older may be more inclined to age in place, said Mr Mak.

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