A Guide to Buying New HDB Flats and Executive Condos in Singapore

18662502 - singapore skyline along singapore river at blue hour
18662502 - singapore skyline along singapore river at blue hour

Singapore is now one of the world’s most prosperous nations, with a high home ownership rate of over 90 percent that is the envy of many developed countries. But did you know that in the 1950s, the Southeast Asian country was filed with slums and squatters, while only a few people have access to quality housing?

That situation all changed thanks to a dedicated government that has made the provision of housing a top priority. In fact, after the authorities created the Housing and Development Board (HDB) in 1960, home ownership rate in the country soared to 85 percent in the 1980s.

So let’s take a look at the Housing Board’s effective and innovative housing policies that are now being emulated across the globe, particularly the new HDB flats it is offering, their prices and specifications, as well as the qualifications on owning such dwellings.

New HDB Flats and their Specifications

 

Size (sq m)
36 or 45
60 or 65
90
Size (sq ft)
387.5 or 484.4
645.8 or 699.6
968.8
# of Bedrooms
1
2
3
# of Bathrooms
1
2
2
Other Features
Kitchen
Storeroom-cum-apartment shelter
Kitchen
Living/ dining area
Common bathroom
Service yard
Storeroom-cum-apartment shelter
Living/ dining area
Kitchen
Common bathroom
Service yard
Storeroom-cum-apartment shelter

 

Size (sq m)
110
115
130
Size (sq ft)
1,184
1,237.80
1,399.30
# of Bedrooms
3
4
3
# of Bathrooms
2
3
2
Other Features
Living/ dining area
Kitchen
Common bathroom
Service yard
Storeroom-cum-apartment shelter
Living/ dining area
Kitchen
Common bathroom
Service yard
Storeroom-cum-apartment shelter
Living area
Kitchen
Common bathroom
Storeroom-cum-apartment shelter

 

HDB offers an extensive array of 99-year leasehold flats with various features to accommodate the diverse needs of small and large families with different income levels.

These residential properties are carefully designed to give quality housing to Singaporean families. For instance, the smallest type caters to small households as well as singles and the elderly as it combines the HDB’s Studio Apartment (SA) Scheme and Two-room Flat Scheme.

Elderly citizens have the option of selecting a lower lease duration for their flat based on their age, choice or requirements. Singles purchasing their first HDB unit can also acquire new two-room flats on a 99-year lease, likewise for first- and second-timer families.

In comparison, the three-room units are perfect for those seeking a compact but comfortable abode. The four-room flats offer comfortable and versatile living space to families. As for households with more members, they are advised to consider the Housing Board’s larger flats. These include the five-roomers and the 3Gen units that are intended for multi-generational families, while executive flats have additional area for a study room.

However, the two-room Flexi flat and 3Gen unit don’t come with any master bedroom. On the other hand, the flats with three to five rooms are each equipped with one master bedroom with ensuite bathroom, likewise for the executive unit. In comparison, the 3Gen flat has two ensuite bedrooms, but its other two bedrooms don’t have their own water closet.

If you want to physically check the different unit types, please visit the HDB’s My Nice Home Gallery, which is open during Mondays to Saturdays from 8:30am to 5:00pm except during public holidays.

The office is located at HDB Hub, Biz Four, third floor 470 Lorong 6 Toa Payoh.  For your convenience, here is the Google Map of the area. You may also visit the online showflat to get inspirations on how to make your unit look great, but please thoroughly read first the Housing Board’s disclaimer on the shown fixtures, furniture, appliances and designs.

 

General Eligibility

Purchasing a new HDB flat requires the applicant and co-applicant(s) as well the unit’s would-be occupants to meet a number of conditions, as these homes are significantly subsidized by the Singapore government.

Among the conditions is that the applicant must be a Singapore citizen, and there needs to be at least one other Singapore citizen or Permanent Resident (PR) among the co-applicant or unit occupant.

Besides meeting the income level of a particular unit type, the applicant needs to have reached the age of 21 and above. However, please note that some schemes require the prospective buyer to be at least 35.

Another important condition is that the buyer must not possess any other property in Singapore or abroad, and have not sold any within the past 30 months. The potential buyer has also not previously acquired more than one new HDB unit, DBSS flat or executive condominium (EC). This means you have only obtained one CPF Housing Grant so far, or none yet.

 

Overview of Eligibility Per Unit Type

 

Eligibility

Public Scheme
Orphans Scheme
Single Singapore Citizen Scheme
Non-Citizen Spouse Scheme
Joint Singles Scheme

Public Scheme
Fiancé/Fiancée Scheme
Orphans Scheme

Public Scheme
Fiancé/Fiancée Scheme
Orphans Scheme

 
 
 
 
 
 

Applicant's age

21 or 35 (I)

at least 21

at least 21

 

Monthly Income Cap

S$6,000 or S$12,000 (II)

S$6,000 or S$12,000 (III)

S$12,000

 

 

Eligibility

Public Scheme
Fiancé/Fiancée Scheme

Public Scheme
Fiancé/Fiancée Scheme

Public Scheme
Fiancé/Fiancée Scheme

 
 

Applicant's age

at least 21

at least 21

at least 21

 

Monthly Income Cap

S$12,000

S$12,000

S$12,000

 

Note: 

(I) At least 21 if applying under Public Scheme, Fiancé/Fiancée Scheme or Orphans Scheme
At least 35 if applying under Single Singapore Citizen Scheme, Non-Citizen Spouse Scheme or Joint Singles Scheme
(II) For elderly buying unit with short lease, the income limit is S$12,000.
(III) Monthly income limit depends on particular project.
The income limit is 1.5 times the above mentioned figures for multi-generational families.

 

As shown it the table above, the two-room flexi unit is the easiest new HDB flat to acquire as it’s the least stringent in terms of eligibility requirements and has more options (schemes), through it they can be purchased. To understand the schemes listed above, we’ve compiled detailed explanations for each of them.

 

Public Scheme

This requires you to have formed a family nucleus with spouse and children (if there is) or with your parents and siblings (if there is). If widowed or divorced, there must be at least one child under your legal custody.

For divorcees, if the child is below 21 and your former partner shares in the responsibility in taking care of the child, you need his/her written permission before you are allowed to list that child as an occupant when applying for an HDB flat.

 

Fiancé/Fiancée Scheme

Under this scheme, you are set to create a family nucleus with your soon-to-be spouse, and it is expected that both of you will be tying the knot. Hence, you need to submit a Xerox copy of your marriage certificate within three months of getting the keys to your flat.

But if the marriage doesn’t proceed as planned, the flat needs to be returned to HDB, unless you qualify for other schemes. For instance, you listed your parents as occupants, making you eligible for the Public Scheme.

If you concluded the marriage prior to key collection, you need to give the copy of the marriage certificate to the HDB Sales Office when getting the keys. If it happened after that, submit a photocopy to the applicable HDB branch.

 

Orphans Scheme

This is only open to orphans who are single, divorced, or widowed. Such orphaned brothers and sisters cannot purchase or lease HDB flats individually. In addition, at least one of the deceased parents was a PR or Singapore Citizen.

 

Single Singapore Citizen Scheme

To qualify for this scheme, the applicant must be a first-timer and is single, divorced, or widowed. However, you can only purchase new two-roomers within non-mature estates.

 

Joint Singles Scheme

To be eligible for this scheme, you and a maximum of three other applicants are allowed to purchase a two-room flat at non-mature locations. However, all of you must be Singapore citizens age 35 and above. Apart from being first-timers, all applicants must be unmarried, divorced, or widowed.

 

Non-Citizen Spouse Scheme

Under this scheme, you need to be a first-time buyer and your husband or wife is not a PR or Singapore Citizen. Your foreigner spouse must also have a valid Work Pass or Visit Pass during the application. However, both of you can only acquire two-room BTO flats in non-mature areas.

 

Other Key Requirements

For the Public Scheme, Fiancé/Fiancée Scheme, Non-Citizen Spouse Scheme and Joint Singles Scheme, any changes in the listed co-applicant or occupants will void the application.

Meanwhile, application for a 3Gen flat is only open those who qualify for the Public Scheme and Fiancé/Fiancée Scheme.  Aside from that, the occupants must form a multi-generational family.

To fulfil this condition, you must be a married/engaged couple who plans to live with your parent(s), one of which needs to be Singapore citizen.

For divorcees and widows, they need to live their parents and must have children under their legal custody. Those with non-adult children need to obtain their ex-partner’s written permission before listing the child as an occupant.

Although remembering all the aforementioned things might be hard, determining your qualification is quick and easy through HDB’s online Eligibility Check.

 

Buying New Executive Condominiums

Executive Condominiums (EC) cater to Singaporeans who are unable to buy HDB flats due to exceeding the income limit, but are unable to afford private residential properties. As you can see in the table below, the requirements for applying for a new EC is basically similar to that of new HDB flats, but it has a higher income cap of S$14,000.

 

Qualifications to Buy a New EC
AgeAt least 21, or 35 if applying via Joint Singles Scheme.
CitizenshipSingapore Citizen
There is at least one other applicant, who must be a PR or local citizen. 
Those applying for Joint Single Scheme must be all local citizens
Monthly Income LimitHousehold Income must not surpass S$14,000
Property OwnershipMust not have any other property domestically or abroad, and have not sold such in the past 30 months.
Must not have previously acquired more than one new HDB unit, DBSS flat or executive condominium (EC). This means you have only obtained one CPF Housing Grant so far, or none yet.
Valid SchemesPublic Scheme
Fiancé/Fiancée Scheme
Orphans Scheme
Joint Singles Scheme

 

A fusion of public and private housing, ECs are constructed and sold by private home builders, but are more affordable as their land cost is partly funded by the government.
But like buyers of new HDB flats, purchasers of new ECs need to fulfil a Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) of five years, during which the unit cannot leased out entirely or disposed off.

After five years, it can be sold in the open market to PRs or Singaporeans. Then after 10 years it can be divested to overseas nationals unlike HDB flats.

In addition, applicants can utilise CPF grants to help offset the price of ECs, which come with amenities similar to that of private condos. These include a gym, clubhouse, swimming pools and gated security.

One highly-anticipated EC project will be built on a 291,235 sq ft site in Sumang Walk with a plot ratio of 3.0 that has been awarded in March 2018 to a joint venture comprising City Developments Ltd (CDL) and TID after they submitted a bid of S$509.37 million, translating to a record price of S$583 psf per plot ratio.

Besides being a short stroll from Sumang LRT Station, it is near Punggol MRT/LRT station and bus interchange. Expected to be unveiled in 2H 2019, the development is expected to comprise 13 residential blocks with a total of around 820 units.

For your perusal, we’ve listed below the latest available EC projects:

Project Name: Rivercove Residences
Location: Anchorvale Lane in District 19
Developer: Hoi Hup Sunway
Total Units: 628
Completion: 2020

Project Name: Sol Acres
Location: Choa Chu Kang Grove in District 23
Developer: MCL Land
Total Units: 1,327
Completion: 2019

Project Name: The Visionaire
Location: Sembawang Road/ Canberra Link in District 27
Developer: Qingjian Realty
Total Units: 632
Completion: 2018

Project Name: Parc Life
Location: Sembawang Avenue in District 27
Developer: Frasers Property
Total Units: 628
Completion: 2018

Project Name: NorthWave
Location: Woodlands Avenue 12 in District 25
Developer: Hao Yuan Investment
Total Units: 358
Completion: 2019

Project Name: Treasure Crest
Location: Anchorvale Crescent in District 19
Developer: Sim Lian Land
Total Units: 504
Completion: 2018

Project Name: iNZ Residence
Location: Choa Chu Kang Avenue 5 in District 23
Developer: A consortium led by Qingjian Realty
Total Units: 497
Completion: 2019

 

To get more guides like this, check out PropertyGuru

Read Next

Get expert advice for every question you can think of!

Explore AskGuru and gain exclusive access to thousands of answers from our expert and agent community. 💬⭐👍