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HDB's Main Upgrading Programme ends

By Romesh Navaratnarajah After over 20 years, the Housing and Development Board's (HDB) Main Upgrading Programme (MUP) will end this Saturday, 21 April 2012.

Since it started in 1990, the MUP has enhanced overall living standards at older HDB blocks and benefited more than 131,000 households. It has also spawned other smaller-scale upgrading programmes like the Neighbourhood Renewal, Home Improvement and Lift Upgrading schemes.

"Against this backdrop, the government mooted the idea of upgrading older HDB estates to bring older estates on a par with newer ones," said the HDB in a Straits Times report, adding that the programme cost the government nearly S$3.3 billion.

It was designed with three objectives – to upgrade facilities like carparks, sheltered walkways and amphitheatres on the precinct level; improve letterboxes, facades and lift lobbies at the block level; and retrofit several flats with upgraded bathrooms, new doors and grilles, and a 65 sq ft utility room.

While not every flat owner has welcomed it, analysts feel the programme has been a success.

Mohamed Ismail, Chief Executive of PropNex, said most naysayers were elderly residents who did not see the point of improving their flats, especially if they were already satisfied with them.

However, he said the utility room was particularly welcomed, adding that "valuations are based on size, so that could be a 10 percent increase for a home that's in a more marketable, rejuvenated estate." Related Stories:3 resale flats sold break S$900k mark

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