Singaporeans maintain a high standard of living and prefer quality homes in prime locations. The Singapore Housing and Development Board (HDB), a statutory board under the Ministry of National Development, has been successful in meeting the residential requirements of its citizens. The board is dedicated to developing quality public housing townships for the people of Singapore. The different types of HDB flats include studio apartments, 2-room units, 3-room units, 4-room units, 5-room units and executive units. In order to buy an HDB flat, a person must fulfil certain criteria that are mentioned below:
It is one of the most important eligibility criteria for buying an HDB in Singapore.
The income ceiling for various types of HDB flats are listed below:
• 2-room flats - Gross monthly household income of the buyer should not exceed $2,000
• 3-room flats - Families whose gross monthly household income does not exceed $3,000 are eligible. This is only applicable when looking to purchase flats in non-mature towns/estates.
• 3-room premium, 4-room or 5-room executive flats :
1. Gross monthly household income of the buyer should not exceed $10,000.
2. Gross monthly household income of the buyer should not exceed $15,000 if the applicant plans to buy the property along with the extended family. The family nucleus will be split into groups, for example, a family of 6 will be split into 2 groups; A and B. Both groups' respective income must not exceed $10,000 and their collective income must not exceed $15,000 in order to be eligible for the 3-room premium, 4-room or 5-room executive flats.
Studio apartment - The gross monthly household income of the buyer should not exceed $10,000.
As of 2011, the income ceiling for all HDB flats has been increased from $8,000 to $10,000 while executive condominiums see an increase from $10,000 to $12,000.
The buyer of a HDB flat should be a citizen of Singapore. One of the members of the family nucleus (FN) should also be a citizen or a permanent resident of Singapore. The same rules are applicable on the siblings, children, parents or spouses of Singaporean citizens who wish to buy a HDB flat.
Those who are applying for a flat in Singapore should be at least 21 years of age or more at the time of applying. A buyer opting for a studio apartment should be at least fifty-five years or more at the time of applying.
Singaporeans who apply for HDB flats should have a proper family nucleus (FN) that can be categorized under three schemes listed below:
• Public: Under this scheme, the applicant along with his/ her spouse, parents, children (if any) and siblings (if any) are included.
• Fiancé/ Fiancée: This scheme covers the applicant along with his/ her fiancé/ fiancée.
• Orphan: Under this scheme, the applicant and his/ her unmarried siblings are included.
In case of studio apartments, the applicant should include the spouse in the application. Those who are widowed, unmarried or divorced, can solely apply for a studio apartment.
Balloting Exercise (BE)
It is related to the exercise that helps interested buyers to purchase a HDB flat within the premises of the existing township. The units that are generally offered for BE are standard surplus units that must meet the re-housing needs of Selective En-bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS). HDB has been instrumental in providing quality homes at affordable rates to the citizens of Singapore. Therefore, for acquiring homes of their preferred choice and location, Singaporeans should be well acquainted with the eligibility criteria set by the Housing and Development Board.
Build to Order (BTO)
In comparison to the fewer available units that are offered by the BE, the Build to Order (BTO) provides a more flexible choice to interested buyers. Potential buyers can obtain related BTO information such as the availability and location from HDB. In other words, it is a process which begins with the submission of applications by buyers for their preferred locations. In case of demand for units at a particular location, applicants are shortlisted and a tender is invited for that unit. The application has to be submitted before the actual construction begins.
DBSS or Design, Build and Sell Scheme flats will be offered for sale under eligibility rules, terms and restrictions similar to new HDB flats.
First-timer households with an average gross monthly household income that falls between $8,001 and $10,000 may purchase new DBSS flats with a CPF Housing Grant of $30,000. This is however, only applicable to DBSS projects that were launched for public sale after 30 Aug 2010.
If the applicant is buying a DBSS flat with his/her extended family, the average gross monthly household income must not exceed $12,000.
The average gross monthly household income of applicants who apply for DBSS flats from Yishun PH1 and Tampines PH2 onwards must not exceed $10,000 while those who apply for DBSS flats in projects that were launched before Yishun PH1 and Tampines PH2 must not exceed $8,000 in their average gross monthly household income.
DBSS flats are only available to Singaporean Citizens or in the event where the applicant is applying with a family, then at least one member of the family nucleus is required to be a Singaporean Citizen.
The applicant must be at least 21 years old at the time of the application.
The HDB website describes Executive Condominiums (EC) as "introduced to cater to Singaporeans, especially young graduates and professionals who can afford more than an HDB flat but find private property to be out of their reach. ECs are comparable in design and facilities to private condominiums as they are developed and sold by the private developers."
Essentially, a private developer designs, builds, finishes and prices the EC after which HDB assumes and shares control with the respective Town Councils over administration and facilities.
Only Singapore Citizens are allowed to purchase an EC. When applying in a family nucleus, at least one member of the family must be a Singapore Citizen.
The average gross monthly household income must not exceed $12,000 for ECs that are launched for sale on or after 15 Aug 2011.
The applicant, his/her spouse and any other occupiers listed in the Application Form must not own or dispose or have an estate or a vested interest in any other flat, house, building or land within 30 months before the date of application and between the application date and the date of taking possession of the EC.
Some of the type of properties HDB prohibits applicants of owning/disposing or having a vested interest in include but is not limited to;
• HUDC flats (Privatised and Non-Privatised)
• Properties acquired by gift
• Properties inherited as beneficiaries under a will or as a result of the Intestate Succession Act
• Private properties
• Properties owned/acquired/disposed through nominees regardless of properties location
There are several schemes that seek to assist families and individuals in purchasing a flat.
Those applying for new flats from HDB may be considered under three schemes if the applicant and all persons listed in the application meet the eligibility conditions and are applying for a flat from HDB.
Those schemes are;
• Married Child Priority (MCP) Scheme - This scheme encourages married children and parents to live within the same estate or neighbouring estate in order to foster care for aged parents. Couples who are courting and had applied for a flat under the Fiancé/ Fiancée (FS) Scheme are also eligible for the MCP Scheme. Applicants of the MCP Scheme will be given double the chances compared to those who are not applying to stay near parents/married child. Applicants are required, upon assuming possession of the flat, to reside in the same flat or estate for 5 years.
• Third-Child Priority (TCP) Scheme - The TCP Scheme encourages families to have more than two children. Applicants under the TCP Scheme must ensure that first and foremost that either the applicant is a Singapore Citizen or a Singapore Permanent Resident. In the event where one parent is deceased, the remaining parent must be a Singapore Citizen. In the family nucleus, there must at least be 3 children (natural offspring from lawful marriage) and the third child must be a Singapore Citizen born on or after 1 Jan 1987. The other children must also be either Singapore Citizens or Singapore Permanent Residents. The last precedent to qualify for the TCP Scheme requires the applicants to not have had previously enjoyed the benefit of buying or selling a flat under the TCP Scheme. If the applicant qualifies for the TCP Scheme, he/she will be included in the first round of ballot with the other TCP applicants. If unsuccessful at the first round, they will be entered in the second round with the other public applicants. Up to 5% of the available flat supply is reserved for TCP applicants.
• Tenants Priority Scheme (TPS) - In an effort to assist tenants of rental flats to own homes, they will be given priority allocation when it comes to selecting new 2 and 3 room flats which are offered for sale under the Build-To-Order Exercise or sale of Balance Flats Exercise. 5% of this type of flats will be set aside for eligible tenants under the TPS. In order to qualify for the TPS, applicants must be first-time buyers that have been living in a rental flat for a minimum of 2 years whose gross monthly household income does not exceed $2,000 for 2-room flats and $3,000 for 3-room flats.
Developers of DBSS projects are also required to give priority to applicants who apply under the Married Child Priority (MCP) Scheme and the Third-Child Priority (TCP) Scheme. The priority quotas will be lifted after the initial project launch however, to avoid hindering the DBSS flats' sales by developers.
Priority Schemes are not applicable for Executive Condominium.