Hougang is the pinyin version of Aū-káng, a Hokkien and Teochew name meaning “river end”, as Hougang is located upstream or at the back of Sungei Serangoon. In the past, the name connoted the area stretching from the fifth milestone junction of Upper Serangoon Road and Upper Paya Lebar Road/Boundary Road to the seventh and a half milestone junction of Upper Serangoon Road and Punggol Road. The area just beyond the seventh milestone along Punggol Road was formerly considered part of Punggol but is now within Hougang Town and that section of Punggol Road is now Hougang Avenue 8, with Punggol Road starting further north.
Pig farming was carried out in Punggol, including the area of Punggol that is now part of Hougang Town. The last of these pig farmers were relocated by the late-1990s to flats built in Hougang. Today, Hougang is an HDB new town with over 40,000 housing units interspersed with pockets of private residential areas.
There was also a fishing port at the end of Upper Serangoon Road beyond the seventh milestone.
At Hougang Street 21, there was a well that is still identified as the tua jia kha (大井脚) well structure. This well identified the Teochew village of tua jia kha which means the “foot of a big well”. In the past, the village was a popular place for food, street wayangs, itinerant Chinese medicine men and story tellers spinning yarns.
Hougang has been developed since 1977 with the construction of Tampines Way. Further development has been made for the development of new neighbourhoods in Neighbourhood 1 – 3 by 1983, Neighbourhood 4 – 7 by 1992. Neighbourhood 8 is the city centre of the Hougang, completed in 1994. Neighbourhood 9 has been in the recent and has been completed by 2000.
In 2015, project named Hougang Capeview, a Build-To-Order project at Upper Serangoon Road, is the first public housing project to receive the CONQUAS Star, an accolade administered by the Building and Construction Authority. Hougang Capeview, which comprises 781 residential units in six blocks at Upper Serangoon Road, received a Construction Quality Assessment System (CONQUAS) score of more than 95, above the national average of 88.2. The CONQUAS score is BCA’s measure of construction quality across Singapore.