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.
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 and resale flat eligibility, and HDB schemes
- Other HDB schemes for singles and non-citizen spouses
- First-timer vs second-timer BTO flat applicants
- The income ceiling for BTO applicants
- The eligibility for HDB and bank loans
HDB BTO Eligibility and HDB Resale Flat Criteria in 2023
|Eligible applicant/ Family nucleus||You qualify for at least one of the following schemes: Public Scheme, Fiancé/Fiancée Scheme, or Orphans Scheme|
|Citizenship||At 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)|
|Age||At least 21 years old (widowed or orphaned) or 35 (unmarried or divorced)|
|Income ceiling||You are within the income ceiling of the flat you want to purchase|
|Property ownership||You don’t own any other property locally or overseas and haven’t disposed of any within the last 30 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 housing||Privileges|
|HDB BTO flat||More 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
|DBSS||During the initial launch period of one month, 95% of the flats will be set aside for first-timer families|
|EC||During 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 Housing||Privileges|
|HDB BTO flat||Short-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
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 housing||Income 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
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
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
The following won’t be factored into your monthly household income:
- Alimony allowance
- 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
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:
|Citizenship||At least one buyer is a Singapore Citizen|
|Household status||Have 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:
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 ceiling||Average 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 ownership||You don’t own any other property locally or overseas and haven’t disposed of any within the last 30 months before applying for your HDB Loan Eligibility 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?
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
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