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What is Ethnic Integration Policy Quota?

For some aspiring homeowners, we unquestionably have come across phrases like “sorry, only X race can buy, or in a more Singlish matter, You what race ah?”

I don’t think these property agents are either being racist or do not want to sell the house to a particular race.

But for sure, the way they communicate needs major improvement.😋

Actually, they are just checking on the race of the potential buyers.

These properties have reached the limit on the number of certain ethnic groups.

For today’s article, we are discussing the topic of Ethnic Integration Policy.

What is Ethnic Integration Policy Quota?

This policy is unique to our country, Singapore.

With 90% of us stay in public housing, more commonly known as HDB, this policy was easily enforced and made mandatory.

More commonly known as “Ethnic Quota” or EIP, Ethnic Integration Policy Quota was first introduced in 1989 by HDB to preserve Singapore’s multi-cultural identity and promote racial integration and harmony.

It ensures a balanced mix of people of different ethnicities living in an HDB estate.

All ethnic groups in Singapore cannot exceed the percentage that is allotted to them.

Mixed-race families can choose to classify their ethnic group into that of the owner.

For example, a Chinese person engaging or marrying an Indian partner can choose between either of the races.

The ethnicity remains the same when the flat owners sell their flat on the open market under the EIP.

Effectiveness and Issues of EIP

The government has been successful in its aim to ensure racial diversity in HDBs with EIP.

Each HDB estate is a melting pot of races, with a certain degree of interactions between races.

However, although some positives have come with the policy, it is not without its flaws.

Arguably the most common criticism of the EIP is that it is too ‘intrusive’ in nature for a democracy like Singapore.

Furthermore, critics of the policy continue to question the effectiveness as mixed-race children struggle to find their identity.

Also, minority races find it more difficult to sell their houses in areas where Ethnic quota restriction is in place.

Thus have to accept lower selling prices or risk a prolonged period without a suitable buyer.

The Government are aware of this issue and are looking at how to help EIP-affected flat sellers.

HDB, on a case-by-case basis., would give flat owners who have bought another HDB flat but are having difficulties in selling their existing one may be given more time to find a buyer.


EIP is an interesting policy that exists in Singapore’s housing market.

There are pro and cons to the overall policy.

However, it is a policy that has allowed Singapore to maintain its racial diversity without much pushback.

What do you guys think? Is Ethnic quota fair? I would love to hear your thoughts. Do drop me a comment on the comment section below.

Andik Imran

Engage a professional Singapore real estate agent

ANDIK IMRAN | BSc Business
CEA Reg No: R061801F

9450 8732
PropNex Realty Pte Ltd

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