Housing Options for LGBTQIA+ Singaporeans Who Don't Identify With The 'Conventional Family Unit' (2023)

PropertyGuru Editorial Team
Housing Options for LGBTQIA+ Singaporeans Who Don't Identify With The 'Conventional Family Unit' (2023)
It’s no secret that LGBTQIA+ couples in Singapore find it more difficult to purchase property with their other half. Public housing in Singapore (i.e. HDB flats) is very much aimed at the ‘conventional family unit’: straight, married couples, preferably with children.
With changing times, society has become more welcoming and inclusive. What was once known as just LGBT has now expanded to LGBTQIA+ to encompass people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual.
Singapore even launched its first gay web drama Getaway last year, featuring queer actors from Thailand and Singapore. Pink Dot, a public pride festival in Singapore, has been around since 2009 and will return again this year.
On 27 February 2022, the Singapore court also passed a ruling that Section 377A of the Penal Code, an archaic ruling which criminalises sex between men, will not be proactively enforced – a mini win for the LGBTQIA+ community.
Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam also said that public policies are required to evolve to keep up with changing views in society. This gives hope to many that the policies in Singapore would better support LGBTQIA+ couples in the future.
Currently, marriage between LGBTQIA+ couples in Singapore is not legally recognised under Singapore law. So they (and anyone who doesn’t fit in the conventional family mold) have to poke around in the ‘singles’ section when looking at housing options. Also, singles are not allowed to buy new or resale Prime Location Public Housing (PLH) flats, effectively excluding individuals who identify as LGBTQIA+.
To be fair, the regulations are more liberal now than a decade ago. Before 2013, singles could not even buy HDB BTO flats. And for the past few years, the Government has been steadily bumping up housing grants for singles. Still, there is hope and room for improvement for more inclusive policies.
In this article, we’ll walk you through the five available housing options and help the LGBTQIA+ community navigate the restrictions that apply.

Summary of Housing Options for LGBTQIA+ Couples in Singapore

If you fall under the ‘single’ category, here are the housing options you currently have:
Flat typeAge
HDB BTO 2-room Flexi flat (non-mature estates)At least 35 years old
Resale HDB flatAt least 35 years old
New executive condominium (EC)At least 35 years old
Resale ECUnder 35 years old
Private PropertyUnder 35 years old
There are other terms and conditions such as your citizenship status, income ceiling, and whether or not you’ve owned an HDB flat before. Scroll to each option to find out more about the particular terms and conditions, as well as the grants available.

1. HDB BTO 2-room Flexi Flats (For Singles at least 35 Years Old)

Although LGBTQIA+ couples can’t get married in Singapore, you can still ask your partner: Want to BTO?
Because once you’re 35, you can get a BTO flat with your partner (under the Joint Singles Scheme, or JSS) – or on your own (Single Singapore Citizen Scheme, or SSCS). It’s perfectly legal to apply under one person even if you plan to live together in it.
According to HDB guidelines, you’ll both need to be Singapore citizens and first-time home buyers, and your income must fall under $7,000 a month.
Provided you meet all these requirements, singles can only apply for 2-room Flexi flats in non-mature estates such as Punggol or Sembawang.
Despite all these restrictions, BTO launches are very popular among singles because of the unbeatable price tag. 2-room Flexi flats start from just $100,000 before housing grants.
However, there’s no guarantee that you’ll snag a BTO the first time you try. And even after you successfully ballot for one, you still have to wait three or four years for it to get built, or even longer due to the COVID-19 construction delays. Check out the latest HDB BTO launches here.

2. Resale HDB Flats (For Singles at least 35 Years Old)

A much less restrictive – and much, much faster – way to get an HDB flat in Singapore is to buy a resale flat.
Once they hit the big three-five, single Singapore Citizens can buy a resale HDB flat, again either solo under SSCS, or with a partner under JSS.
Apart from the age and citizenship criteria, there are hardly any other restrictions. There’s no income ceiling, and you can own private property (as long as you sell it off within six months of getting your resale HDB). More importantly, there’s no restriction on flat size or location. Your budget is the limit.
You might ask: Hey wait, aren’t HDB resale flats more expensive than BTOs? That’s definitely true, but it doesn’t mean an HDB resale flat is 100% out of your budget.
While HDB resale flats are more expensive than 2-room BTO flats, it’s possible to find reasonably-priced 3-room HDB flats from around $300,000 before grants. You’ll need some extra money for the renovation though, as some older flats may not be in the best shape.
If your income is under $7,000 a month (for sole buyers) or $14,000 across your household (for joint applicants), you can also qualify for an HDB loan. This allows you to finance the flat with just a 10% downpayment. And once that’s sorted, you can pretty much move in right away.
In the 2022 Committee of Supply debate on 8 March 2022, Chief of Worker’s party Pritam Singh suggested the age eligibility for singles buying HDB flats – whether BTO or resale – be lowered to 28 years old.
While the Government has stated that reducing the minimum age is currently not practical due to a lack of resources, they mentioned they are aware of the needs of single Singaporeans. So just like the recent ruling on Section 377A, one can remain hopeful that the age eligibility will be reduced eventually.
If all this sounds good to you, start browsing for HDB resale flats.

3. New Executive Condominiums (For Singles >35 Years Old)

A third public housing option that’s open to singles is the executive condominium (EC), which looks and feels like a private condo, but is cheaper due to government subsidies.
Singles can buy new ECs only under the Joint Singles Scheme, so apply either as a couple or in a group of up to four single citizens above 35. Your household income must be under $16,000 a month, and none of you can own any private property in the past 30 months.
If you meet the criteria, you can apply for any size apartment you like. As with resale flats, your budget is the main restriction. ECs start from about $800,000 for the smallest (2-bedroom) units, and there are no grants for singles.
You can’t get an HDB loan for an EC, so you’ll have to get a bank loan and pay 25% of the purchase price as the downpayment. That’s $200,000 for an $800,000 unit.
Bear in mind that ECs launches are quite infrequent, and after buying a new launch unit, you’ll need to wait for another two to three years before you can move in. There are only four EC launches this year at Yishun, Tengah, Tampines, and Bukit Batok. For those who intend to live in an EC, here’s everything you need to know about buying an executive condo in Singapore.

4. Resale Executive Condominiums (For Singles Under 35)

If you don’t intend to wait until you’re 35 to get your own place, you can either buy private property (see below) or a resale EC.
ECs can be sold on the resale market after the owner has occupied them for five years. After five years, the EC is considered semi-privatised and can be sold to Singaporeans and PRs above 21 – no need to meet any other requirements or apply under a scheme!
This is a great option for LGBTQIA+ singles or couples who want their own place ASAP. But the downside is that there aren’t many ECs on the market, and they’re mostly in non-central locations. However, there are older ECs that are within walking distance to the MRT stations.
Surprisingly, resale ECs are no more expensive than new ECs. You can find 2-bedroom units going from $800,000 in freshly-MOPed EC developments like Watercolours and Blossom Residences. With a bank loan, expect to pay $200,000 for the downpayment.
The prices are expected to rise after the 10-year mark, though, because they will be fully privatised and can be sold to foreigners.

5. Private Property (For Singles <35)

Finally, there are private properties, which of course have no restrictions on who can buy and sell them. (The one exception is landed houses, which can’t be bought by foreigners.)
As long as your budget permits, there’s nothing stopping you from buying a private condo unit in the location of your choice.
Similar to resale HDB flats, there’s a huge supply of private condo units for sale and therefore a big range of price points as well.
You can find shoebox apartments in Potong Pasir for $800,000; while on the upper end of the scale, a new launch condo unit in District 9 would start from around $1.5 million to $2 million. Landed terrace houses start from about $3 million.
Affordability would be the key factor and you’ll have to decide based on your budget for the 25% downpayment, and what kind of mortgage payments you’re comfortable with.

LGBTQIA+ Singapore Couples Buying a Property Together

Housing in Singapore isn’t cheap, but owning a roof over your head is a pretty nice feeling. If you’re not in a financially comfortable spot to buy a property, you can look towards renting a whole apartment or a single room.
Whichever housing option you choose, we wish you good luck with your search and hope this article has been helpful!
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More FAQs About Housing Options for LGBTQ Singapore

Technically, yes, but not as a married couple under Singapore law.

If you’re 35 and older, you can get 2-room Flexi HDB BTO flats, resale HDB flats, and new ECs, as well as private property. If you’re under 35, resale ECs and private property.

You can browse PropertyGuru listings for ECs on sale.