There are 3 options to purchasing an HDB flat in Singapore. The two common ones are Built To Own (BTO) and resale flats. The third public housing method available is Sale of Balance Flat. This article will answer all the most frequently asked questions on Sale of Balance Flats, and tell you the advantages and disadvantages of buying a Sale of Balance Flat.
What is Sale of Balance Flat
Sale of Balance Flat are the remainder units from BTO sales launches, and surplus Selective En Bloc Redevlopment Scheme (SERS). The process of purchasing a Sale of Balance Flat is slightly different than that of purchasing a BTO. The buyer will need to submit their application via a ballot within the application time frame. Successful applicants will be able to collect their keys upon completion if the development is still under construction, and within 3 months if the HDB flat is already completed.
Most frequently asked questions (FAQ) on Sale of Balance Flat
Q: What are the qualifying criteria of purchasing a Sale of Balance Flat?
A: The criteria to purchasing a Sale of Balance Flat is the same as for purchasing a BTO flat. The applicant needs to be either a Singaporean citizen or Singaporean Permanent Resident, be above 21 years of age, not own more than one hawker/stall or commercial/industrial property, and if he owns a hawker/stall he must be running it himself and not have any other side income.
The monthly gross income for singles must not exceed $6,000, the monthly gross income for families must not exceed $12,000 and for extended families $18,000. The applicant must also not already own a property, or have owned or disposed of a property in the last 30 months of the application date.
For a full list of the criteria pertaining to each category visit the HDB website.
Q: How long do I need to wait in order to get a Sale of Balance Flat?
A: This depends on whether the property has already been completed. If the property is already completed, then the buyer will be able to get the keys to their unit within 3 months of successful application. Otherwise, they will need to wait for the development to be completed before they can get their keys.
Q: I’m interested. How do I get a Sale of Balance Flat?
A: You will need to wait for the next Sale of Balance Flat launch. The Housing & Development Board (HDB) will announce when the launches are, and you can get updates on the launches sent to you by applying for the HDB eAlert Service. Once you receive the notification that a new launch is open, you can apply for your Sale of Balance Flat purchase on the HDB website.
Q: How many Sale of Balance Flat units usually available at every launch?
A: They usually number in the thousands. In the year 2014 there were 6,674 units, 2015 10,737 units and 2016 10,178 units. It is to be noted that despite the relatively high numbers, there are ethnic quotas to maintain as well; and the quota for Chinese buyers are usually quite tight in mature towns such as Ang Mo Kio, Bukit Merah and Bishan.
Q: How much does a Sale of Balance Flat cost?
A: The cost of purchasing a Sale of Balance Flat is usually higher than purchasing a BTO flat. If you purchase a Sale of Balance Flat during its construction phase, the price will be only slightly higher, but if you purchase a completed one, the HDB flat unit will cost significantly more.
Q: Can I apply for a Built to Own (BTO) flat and a Sale of Balance Flat at the same time?
A: No, you cannot. You can only apply for either one at a time.
Q: Do I get to select my own unit?
A: No, you will not. You will not get to select the level your unit is on, its orientation or the unit number. If you are particular about selecting your own unit, the best option will be to apply for a BTO unit via regular BTO balloting.
The Advantages of Purchasing a Sale of Balance Flat
Next would be the advantages of purchasing a Sale of Balance Flat. The Sale of Balance Flat launch is always highly anticipated every year. Let’s find out why.
Shorter Waiting Period
The most obvious advantage would be the waiting period, as the majority of the Sale of Balance Flat units are completed units. So instead of having to wait a minimum of 2.5 years for your BTO unit to be completed, you can get your unit immediately.
Choose Your Location
Secondly, instead of being limited to areas of only the new launches, buyers will have a wider range of locations to purchasing a property at once. They will be able to select units from prime locations such as Ang Mo Kio and Bishan, all the way to the locations such as Little India.
Disadvantages of Purchasing a Sale of Balance Flat
Inasmuch as the Sale of Balance Flat plan is a good one, there are however some minor disadvantages to it as well.
Because purchasing a Sale of Balance Flat requires the applicant to apply via ballot system, there is no certainty that the applicant will actually manage to purchase a unit. The mechanics of the system indicates that if there are a total of 3000 units for sale and your ballot number is 50, then you have a high chance of getting a unit. But if your ballot number is anywhere above 1000, you will have to brace yourself that you might not be able to get a uint this round. And if you need a home urgently, this may be an issue.
Sale of Balance Flats will also adhere more rigidly to the Ethnic Quota, as the majority of the units would already have been sold out. For instance, the quota for Chinese buyers is usually quite tight, especially in popular towns.
Lack of Choice
As mentioned above, you will have no say in what unit you get, on the level, unit number, how your unit looks like, and even the condition of the unit if it is a repossessed unit. If this is an issue for you, regular BTO balloting will be a better option for you.
Also as mentioned above, Sale of Balance Flats are usually a little bit pricier than BTO launches. The price difference will not be that significant if the HDB flat is still under construction, but will be more pronounced if you are planning on getting a completed unit.
And you have reached the end of this guide. As when it comes to purchasing a property, always weigh the pros and cons of every aspect. And in this case, if you wish to purchase a Sale of Balance Flat unit, good luck! If you have any questions, drop us a note below.
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