4 Sep 2012
Maintaining a good variety of housing sizes
From 4 November 2012, the total number of dwelling units that can be built on a development site for non-landed private residential developments outside the Central Area will be capped, when new guidelines issued by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) take effect.
The new guidelines will discourage new developments consisting predominantly of “shoebox” units outside the Central Area, but at the same time give flexibility to developers to offer a range of homes of different sizes to cater to the needs of various demographic groups and lifestyles.
A Growing Supply of Shoebox Units
An increasing number of shoebox units are being built in some new private housing projects. The stock of completed shoebox units will increase more than four-fold from about 2,400 units as at the end of 2011 to about 11,000 units by the end of 2015. This trend has raised some concerns, especially in the suburban areas where larger households and families typically reside, and where the demand for shoebox units remains untested.
URA has been monitoring public discussions and feedback on shoebox units. The feedback indicates that shoebox units appeal to some people from small households such as singles, couples without children and retirees. However, others are concerned that shoebox units do not meet the needs of larger households and are not conducive for couples to have children.
On balance, URA agrees that having a certain proportion of shoebox units in our housing stock does indeed help to cater to people with different needs and lifestyles. The situation that we should avoid is for shoebox units to form a disproportionately large portion of the housing stock in Singapore. Increasingly we are seeing some new housing developments consisting predominantly of shoebox units – as high as 50% to 80%. A large concentration of such developments can strain the local road infrastructure as the number of housing units ends up much higher than what was originally planned for.
Moderating Shoebox Developments Outside the Central Area
Taking the above into consideration, URA has adopted a calibrated approach that moderates excessive development of shoebox units, while still allowing some smaller housing units to be built to meet diverse lifestyle choices.
All new non-landed private residential developments in suburban areas, namely outside of the Central Area, will be subject to a cap on the dwelling units (DUs) based on the following formula:
Smaller-sized units can still be developed under these guidelines, but at a more moderate proportion and pace. The new guidelines are applied only to areas outside the Central Area, where housing tends to cater mainly to larger households and families. More details can be found in the URA circular at http://www.ura.gov.sg/circulars/text/dc12-13.htm.
For areas which face more severe infrastructure conditions, a more stringent cap on the total number of dwelling units will apply. These include areas in Kovan and Joo Chiat/Jalan Eunos. A similar cap is already in place for Telok Kurau. More details can be found in the URA circular at http://www.ura.gov.sg/circulars/text/dc12-14.htm.
The URA will monitor and review the guidelines periodically, taking into consideration various factors such as socio-demographic and lifestyle changes.