4-rm HDB flat in Marine Parade calculated to cost S$17,700 on average and sold to public at S$20,500 in 1974

4-rm HDB flat in Marine Parade calculated to cost S$17,700 on average and sold to public at S$20,500 in 1974

According to theĀ archives in the National Library, land reclamation works began at Marine Parade in 1966. Hills at Bedok and Siglap were levelled, and 20,000 cubic metres of earth were moved via conveyor belts to the sea each day.

Sand was also sourced from abroad, and by 1970, some 405 hectares of land had been added to the coastline on the East Coast.

By 1985, 1,525 hectares of land, including the recreational beachfront of the East Coast, had been added to the coastline, enlarging it by some 18 kilometres.

The reclamation works cost around S$613 million. This works out to be S$402,000 per hectare of land cost.

The costs were considered so prohibitive for public housing use that in 2006, Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong ruled out the prospect of another public housing estate created entirely from reclaimed land.

In 1971, the government unveiled its development plan for the East Coast area, which included establishing the Marine Parade estate with flats from the Housing Development Board (HDB).

The plan included the construction of an expressway, known today as East Coast Parkway, to connect Marine Parade and the other housing estates along the East Coast coastline to the city. Public amenities, as well as commercial and recreational areas, were also zoned.

By the end of 1973, HDB had completed the first phase of the estate development. The flats were of the two, three, four and five-room varieties numbering 6,000 units, and a market, shops and offices were also constructed.

The second phase of the project would add more commercial and community facilities, including more shops, schools, hawker centres, a post office, a library and additional public housing.

The first flats at Marine Parade estate were launched in 1974. Three-room units were priced at S$13,500, four-room at S$20,500, and five-room at S$35,500.

By 1976, the estate was completed at the cost of S$124.79 million, according to the archives.

There were a total of 57 blocks of 8,015 HDB flats with shops, office spaces, and recreational and community facilities across 42 hectares, accommodating around 40,000 residents.

Presumably, the cost of S$124.79 million did not include land cost and was referring to only the construction cost. So, the cost of each HDB flat, without the land cost factored in, would only work out to be S$15,600 on average.

Even factoring in the 42 hectares of land at S$402,000 per hectare as determined above, the HDB land housing the 8,015 flats would only cost S$16.9 million.

Hence the total development cost would be S$124.79 + 16.9 = S$141.7 million (including land cost). Then the total cost of each HDB flat with the land cost factored in would only increase to S$17,700 on average.

We do not know the number distribution of 3, 4 and 5-room units of those 8,015 flats built in Marine Parade, but the calculated average cost of S$17,700 per HDB flat appears to be in the ballpark of the price of S$20,500 for a 4-room unit sold to the public at the time.
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