Home Improvement Programme (HIP) by HDB for Mature Flats

There used to be this belief in the property industry that older properties were less favoured by buyers. This is no longer true today. According to The Business Times, the number of older resale HDB flats sold in 2022 more than doubled over the last decade: in 2012, the proportion of older flats sold were only 15% out of all the HDB flat types sold, and it jumped to 37% in 2022.

It is now clear (as data shows) that buyers are interested in older flats, despite common fear about its reduced property value as a result of a shorter remaining lease.

Older flats do have value, especially when they are located in mature estates and are typically larger. Also, the government has continuously worked on improving the quality of public housing for everyone.

There’s this one magical programme that actually seeks to make older flats look good as new.

Source: HDB

Introducing the Home Improvement Programme (HIP)

The Home Improvement Programme (HIP) is one of the measures in place to maintain the quality of older HDB flats.

HIP was originally introduced in 2007, replacing the previous Main Upgrading Programme (MUP). Originally, it was meant for flats that were built up till 1986.

During the 2018 National Day Rally, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced that the programme would be extended to another 230,000 flats that were built between 1987 and 1997.

The main focus of the programme was to ensure an improvement in the quality and design of HDB flats, with a focus on upgrades within the flat. This also helped address flat owners’ common maintenance problems with ageing flats.

It is key to note that HIP will only proceed if at least 75% of a block’s eligible Singapore Citizen households have voted in favour of it. Singapore Permanent Resident households are not eligible to poll.

If your block votes in favour of HIP, you will enjoy Essential improvements that are important for public health and safety. At the same time, you can add on Optional and Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE) improvements.

Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the general time taken for HIP to be completed for an estate of 8 to 10 blocks is about 1.5 to 2 years. Each flat unit will take 10 working days or less, depending on the improvements chosen.

The scope of HIP consists of 3 components – Essential, Optional and EASE improvements.

Here are some examples:

  • Essential improvements – replacement of cast iron waste/soil pipes, replacement of existing pipe sockets with new clothes drying rack (pictured in the first featured image)
  • Optional improvements – New refuse chute hopper, toilet upgrading
  • Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE) improvements – Grab bars within the flat, slip-resistant floor tiles

3 benefits of HIP

1. Improving quality of life

The purpose of the HIP is to assist residents to have a better quality of life in their aging flats,by ensuring that common maintenance problems are resolved. This includes issues such as spalling concrete, ceiling leaks and damaged pipes.

2. Catering to the needs of the elderly

Source: The Straits Times

The EASE improvements enhance the mobility for senior citizens. For instance, if you have selected grab bars and slip resistant tiles in the toilet as an option, this will allow the elderly to move around more easily and also reduce the risks of falling.

3. Affordable payment scheme

Furthermore, the HIP is affordable as it is heavily subsidised. For instance, the essential improvements are fully funded by the government for Singaporeans. Up to 95% of the optional and EASE improvement cost is subsidised, so benefitting Singaporean households need only pay a small fraction of the cost for the upgrading works. Owners will pay between 5% and 12.5% of the cost for any chosen Optional improvements, depending on the flat type, and it will be capped at $1,375.

Flat Type1/ 2/ 3-Room4-Room5-RoomExecutive
Cost-sharing ratio5%7.50%10%12.50%
Amount Payable*
(Full EASE package with single-step ramp)
Amount Payable*
(Full EASE package with portable ramp)
Amount Payable*
(Full EASE package with customised ramp)

*Maximum amount if all the items are opted for. All amounts stated are estimates and are subject to GST. The final amount will be determined only upon completion of the upgrading works.

For elderly residents living in HDB rental flats, the improvement items will be fully funded by the Government.

EASE is also highly subsidised by the government. If a resident selects all the EASE items, the cost would be about:

  • $2,500 (with single-step ramp at main entrance)
  • $2,940 (with portable ramp at main entrance)
  • $3,840 (with customised ramp at main entrance

You can go here to calculate how much you’ll need to pay for HIP.

Upswing in value of resale flats

Addressing wear-and-tear of HDB flats is pivotal in the long run, as maintaining the quality of the flats will improve the value as well. For example, in 2015, the HIP was announced for blocks 166 and 169 at Bedok South Avenue 3 and was successfully completed in 2021. If we look at the resale prices of the 4 room flats in these 2 blocks, there was a price surge after the HIP was completed.

For instance, the transacted price of the 4 room flat (1,119 sqft) before the HIP was $428.9k in 2011. But upon the completion of HIP, the same flat was transacted at $470.0k in 2021. This was a 9.6% increase in value of the flat.

Let’s take a look at another example:

Block 145 at Bishan Street 11 was earmarked for HIP in 2012, with upgrading subsequently completed around 2017. If we look at the resale prices of both the 4-room and the 5-room flats in block 145, resale prices increased after the HIP was completed.  For instance, the transacted price of the 4 room flat (904 sqft) was $420.0k. But upon HIP completion, the same flat was transacted at $458.0k in 2018 – a 9.0% rise in the flat’s value.

This article was originally published on Ohmyhome.

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