Sustained rapid population growth in the years preceding and following World War II provided Singapore with an acute housing shortage. In 1947, a housing committee determined that, with a squatter problem worsening each year, 250,000 persons required immediate housing, while another 250,000 people would need new housing by the late 1950s. In 1960, the Housing and Development Board was established by the new PAP government. During its first five-year building program (1960–65), the board spent S $230 million to construct 53,000 dwelling units for more than 250,000 people. It was in this period that Queens Town, Singapore's first satellite community, was developed. By the mid-1970s, Queens Town had a total of 27,000 living units in seven neighborhood complexes, housing upwards of 150,000 people.
In the second five-year building program (1966–70), 67,000 additional units, accommodating 350,000 persons and costing S $305 million, were built. About 113,000 more units were erected by the board in the third building program (1971–75), and over 130,000 in the fourth building program (1976–80). Another 100,000 units were constructed in the fifth building program (1981–85), and 160,000 were planned for the sixth building program (1986–90). In 1985, as a result of these government-sponsored efforts, 2,148,720 persons—or 84% of the total population of Singapore—lived in 551,767 apartments under the management of the Housing and Development Board. Some 397,180 units had been sold to the public. As of 1998, there were about 949,000 housing units nationwide. As of 2002, about 85% of the population resided in flats constructed through Housing and Development Board Programs. About 92% of all units are owner occupied. The average household contains 3.7 people.