HDB BTO Eligibility Check, Resale Criteria and the Available Schemes in Singapore (2023)

PropertyGuru Editorial Team
HDB BTO Eligibility Check, Resale Criteria and the Available Schemes in Singapore (2023)
HDB BTO eligibility and resale HDB flat criteria are things that pop up when the topic of housing and homeownership comes up in Singapore. When it comes to housing, most of us will immediately think of HDB flats.
And to qualify for them, individuals must meet eligibility criteria requirements and other regulations set by the Singapore government, which are in place to ensure that these flats go to those who need them most.
HDB flats come in a variety of configurations to cater to the needs and requirements of citizens. These range from 2-room Flexi units popular among the elderly to larger 5-room units and executive apartments. Then, there are also 3-Gen units and jumbo flats, which cater to multi-generational families who live together.

Watch Our Video on HDB Eligibility in Singapore

Read on to learn more about HDB BTO eligibility and resale flat criteria. We also delve into the new HDB Flat Eligibility (HFE) letter, which aims to streamline homebuyers’ assessment of their HDB flat eligibility, CPF Housing Grant eligibility, and HDB loan eligibility into one step on the HDB Flat Portal.
Table of contents:

HDB BTO Eligibility and HDB Resale Flat Criteria in 2023

Eligible applicant/ Family nucleusYou qualify for at least one of the following schemes: Public Scheme, Fiancé/Fiancée Scheme, or Orphans Scheme
CitizenshipAt least one of the applicants for the flat must be a Singapore Citizen, and at least one other is a Singapore Citizen or Singapore Permanent Resident (SPR)
AgeAt least 21 years old (widowed or orphaned) or 35 (unmarried or divorced)
Income ceilingYou are within the income ceiling of the flat you want to purchase
Property ownershipYou don’t own any other property locally or overseas and haven’t disposed of any within the last 15 months

You haven’t bought a new HDB/DBSS flat or Executive Condominium (EC) or received any CPF Housing Grants before, or you’ve only bought one of those properties and only received one CPF Housing Grant before
HDB flats are, first and foremost, subsidised public housing meant for Singaporean Citizens, so not everyone is eligible to buy one.
There are various HDB eligibility schemes that ensure different homebuyer profile types are reserved a certain percentage of BTO, Sale of Balance (SBF), and Open Booking of Flats (OBF) units. This means that certain buyers (e.g. first-timer families with children) who may need to move into their new homes quicker get a higher chance of securing their homes.
But if you’re buying an HDB resale flat, there is no limitation on property ownership, and previously owned properties have to be sold/disposed of within six months of your purchase. For HDB resale flats, there is also no income ceiling you have to abide by.
If you’re thinking of how to own an HDB flat and condo apartment at the same time, here’s how to do it.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of HDB eligibility schemes and other HDB homebuying eligibilities, we want to caveat that the new HFE letter application process now eliminates the need for self-assessment. Simply log onto the HDB Flat Portal and conduct your preliminary HFE check to get an immediate overview of your HDB homebuying eligibility.
Nonetheless, feel free to read on to learn how HDB assesses various homebuyers in Singapore.

1. HDB Public Scheme

To qualify for this scheme, you’ll need to form a family nucleus with any of the following:
  • Spouse, and children (if any)
  • Parents, and siblings (if any)
  • Children under your legal custody, care, and control (if widowed/divorced)

2. HDB Fiancé/Fiancée Scheme

Under this scheme, you’ll form a family nucleus with your spouse-to-be, and if you haven’t already done so, you’ll need to solemnise your marriage within three months of getting the keys to your HDB flat. HDB will require a photocopy of your marriage certificate.
If you’ve solemnised your marriage before collecting the keys, you can submit the photocopy when you visit the HDB sales office to get the keys.
If you’ve done it after key collection, then you’ll submit your marriage certificate to your managing HDB branch.

3. HDB Orphans Scheme

For this scheme, the HDB applicants are orphans and single, and cannot buy/rent HDB flats separately. Furthermore, one of the deceased parents must have been a Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident.

What If I Don’t Fit into Any of the above Schemes?

Perhaps your spouse isn’t a Singapore Citizen or SPR, or you’re not planning to get married for a good while yet. There are a few other schemes that you might be eligible for, however, the choice of flats you’re limited to will be 2-room Flexi flats.

4. HDB Single Scheme (Single Singapore Citizen Scheme)

To qualify for the HDB Single Scheme, you’ll need to be:
  • A Singapore Citizen
  • A first-time homebuyer
  • At least 35 years old
  • Single (unmarried, divorced, or widowed)

5. HDB Non-Citizen Spouse Scheme

This scheme is applicable if you:
  • Are a first-timer applicant
  • Your spouse is neither a Singapore Citizen nor a Permanent Resident
  • Your spouse must hold a valid Visit Pass or Work Pass at the time of your flat application
If you and your spouse have children from the marriage, and they are either Singapore Citizens or SPRs, you can apply for a flat under the Public Scheme instead.
Read more about buying a home together as a Singaporean-foreigner couple and get more information on the Non-Citizen Spouse Scheme.

6. HDB Joint Singles Scheme

For those who don’t want to apply under the HDB Single Scheme because they wish to live with their friends or partner, go for the Joint Singles Scheme. Under this scheme, you and up to three other co-applicants can apply for a 2-room Flexi, provided all of you fulfil the following criteria:
  • All of you must be Singapore Citizens
  • Be at least 35 years of age
  • Apply together as co-applicants

First-timer Vs Second-timer HDB Applicants

If you’re a first-time applicant, it means you’ve never received any form of housing subsidy or a similar benefit.
If your spouse is a second-timer applicant, but you’re a first-timer applicant, you’ll both enjoy first-timer benefits if you apply as a couple.
Here are the privileges for first-timer applicants when applying for HDB BTO flats, DBSS units, and ECs, respectively.

Privileges for First-Timer Applicants

Type of housingPrivileges
HDB BTO flatMore HDB BTO flats are set aside for you

Priority schemes available

More chances in the ballot (depending on which scheme you apply under)

Additional ballot chances for unsuccessful attempts (non-mature estate for BTO application)

May be eligible for Deferred Income Assessment and Staggered Downpayment Scheme
DBSSDuring the initial launch period of one month, 95% of the flats will be set aside for first-timer families
ECDuring the initial launch period of one month, 70% of the flats will be set aside for first-timer families

Privileges for Second-Timer Applicants

Type of HousingPrivileges
HDB BTO flatShort-lease 2-room Flexi flats which are more affordable

You may take up an HDB concessionary housing loan

May be eligible for grants and disbursements

Priority allocation

Income Ceiling for HDB BTO Eligibility

This is one of the most essential criteria to be eligible for an HDB flat in Singapore. You’ll be pleased to know that if you wish to purchase an HDB resale flat, there is no income ceiling cap you have to adhere to. However, to qualify for CPF Housing Grants and HDB home loans, you cannot earn more than a certain amount.
As mentioned above too, you can now also review your CPF Housing Grant eligibility through the HDB HFE application process. The fastest way is through the preliminary HFE check, while the longer – but still necessary – step you need to take afterwards to apply for an HDB flat is getting a valid HFE letter, which can take up to 21 working days.
Regarding the HDB BTO eligibility, if your household income each month exceeds the ceiling for the HDB flat you want to apply for, you won’t be able to purchase it, even if you fulfil the other criteria such as citizenship and family nucleus.
The monthly household income will include the income of all occupants you’ve listed in your HDB BTO flat application.
Type of housingIncome ceiling
4-room flat or larger$14,000, or $21,000 if purchasing with extended or multi-generation family
3-room flat $7,000 or $14,000, depending on the project
2-room Flexi flat $7,000 for 99-year leases

$14,000 for short leases (15 to 45 years)

Income Ceiling for Extended or Multi-Generation Families

Parents with single children
Parents and one of the single children
Remaining single children
Parents with married children
Parents and remaining working children (if any)
The married children and their children (if any)
If you’re applying for a flat with your extended family, the income ceilings are calculated slightly differently. It’s based on the combined income of two groups within your family.
An example calculation would look something like this. You, your spouse, and your three working children want to buy a new flat. Individually, your average gross monthly income is:
  • You: $5,000
  • Your spouse: $6,000
  • Child A: $4,000
  • Child B: $3,000
  • Child C: $2,000
You: $5,000

Your spouse: $6,000

Child C: $2,000
Child A: $4,000

Child B: $3,000
Group A: $13,000

Group B: $7,000
Total: $13,000
Total: $7,000
Total: $20,000

What Counts Towards My Household’s Monthly Income?

HDB takes into account the following types of income for assessment:
  • Allowances (fixed/variable) received regularly (e.g. allowances for food, transport, laundry, uniform, etc.)
  • Sustenance allowance
  • Stipend
The following won’t be factored into your monthly household income:
  • Alimony allowance
  • Bonuses
  • Director’s fee
  • Income from ad hoc overtime work
  • Interest from deposit accounts
  • National Service Allowance
  • Rental income
  • Scholarship overseas allowance
  • Overseas cost of living allowance
  • Pension

What Are the HDB Loan Eligibility Criteria?

Most first-time homeowners will have to take out loans to pay for their flats and have the option to choose between an HDB loan or a bank loan. If you’re set on getting an HDB loan, you can now find out your loan eligibility when you conduct your HFE letter application. At the same time, the updated HDB Flat Portal has also partnered with six major Financial Institutions (FI) if you’re considering a bank loan.
Should you be planning on taking a loan but are puzzled by the difficult bank jargon, approach one of our friendly PropertyGuru Finance Mortgage Experts for help. They’ll provide you with their expert opinion and make the process smoother, all for free!
Here’s a quick overview of HDB loan eligibility requirements:
CitizenshipAt least one buyer is a Singapore Citizen
Household statusHave not previously taken two or more housing loans from HDB
Have taken one housing loan from HDB and the last owned property is not a private residential property (local or overseas) such as:

HUDC flat

Property acquired by gift

Property inherited as a beneficiary under a will or as a result of the Intestate Succession Act

Property owned/ acquired/ disposed of through nominees
Income ceilingAverage gross monthly household income does not exceed:

$14,000 for families

$21,000 for extended families

$7,000 for singles buying a 5-room or smaller resale flat or a new 2-room flat in a non-mature estate, under the Single Singapore Citizen (SSC) Scheme
Property ownershipYou don’t own any other property locally or overseas and haven’t disposed of any within the last 30 months before applying for your HFE letter

You don’t own more than one market/hawker stall or commercial/industrial property. If you do own one of these, you must be operating your business there and have no other sources of income
Thereafter, you can check your HLE application status via HDB. How much you can get in the HDB loan will also depend on the flat’s remaining lease.

HDB Loan: How Much Can You Loan? What is the Loan Tenure?

≥ 95 years
80%* of the purchase price for a new flat

80%* of the resale price or flat value (whichever is lower) for a resale flat
25 years

65 years minus the average age of the buyers, or

Remaining lease at the point of flat application minus 20 years
< 95 years
Loan-to-value (LTV) limit of 80%* is pro-rated based on the extent that the remaining lease can cover the youngest buyer to the age of 95
25 years

65 years minus the average age of the buyers, or

Remaining lease at the point of flat application minus 20 years
*For flat applications submitted on or after 30 September 2022
Use our affordability calculator to get better estimates on how much you can afford and what your monthly instalments will be.

Bank Loans in Singapore

It’s easier to be eligible for a bank loan than an HDB loan. The method of assessment for BTO eligibility differs across each bank, but as long as you are financially stable and have a good credit score, your bank loan will likely be approved.
For bank loans in Singapore, your LTV value is up to 75% of property value, and you are required to put in a 25% down payment, where at least 5% must be in cash. The rest (20%) of the down payment can be paid with CPF OA Savings.

Are SPRs Allowed to Buy HDB Flats?

If you’re an SPR looking to buy an HDB flat, you can only buy resale ones, as you do not meet the BTO eligibility requirements on your own.
This means you can purchase an HDB resale flat only under the Public Scheme or the Fiancé/Fiancée Scheme. You can’t apply for the flat on your own and will need to have a family nucleus for the HDB application.
You’ll also need to meet these four main requirements:
  • You must be at least 21 years of age
  • You must have been a Permanent Resident for a minimum of three years
  • Upon purchasing the resale flat, you cannot sell the unit or lease it out entirely within the Minimum Occupation Period (MOP)
  • You can’t own any private property locally or abroad. Any private property owned will have to be disposed of within six months of purchasing the HDB resale flat
    • However, once the MOP has been fulfilled, you can acquire private property without having to sell the flat
For more property news, content and resources, check out PropertyGuru’s guides section.
Need help financing your latest property purchase? Let the mortgage experts at PropertyGuru Finance help you find the best deals.
Disclaimer: The information is provided for general information only. PropertyGuru Pte Ltd makes no representations or warranties in relation to the information, including but not limited to any representation or warranty as to the fitness for any particular purpose of the information to the fullest extent permitted by law. While every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided in this article is accurate, reliable, and complete as of the time of writing, the information provided in this article should not be relied upon to make any financial, investment, real estate or legal decisions. Additionally, the information should not substitute advice from a trained professional who can take into account your personal facts and circumstances, and we accept no liability if you use the information to form decisions.

More FAQs About BTO Eligibility and Buying an HDB Flat in Singapore

Depending on the scheme you're buying the flat under, you have to be at least applying with at least one other citizen or SPR as a family nucleus, apply with parents and siblings, or children under your custody.

Yes, only if you're above 35 and only for 2-room Flexi Flats in non-mature estates.

No, they cannot. PRs can only buy under the Public Scheme (buying with family) or the Fiancé/Fiancée Scheme (buying with a spouse).

Typically, it takes about eight weeks for a successful resale flat transaction to occur.

You may apply for a 2-room Flexi flat from HDB or buy a resale flat on the open market together with other single(s) as co-applicant(s) under the HDB Single Scheme.