Rules eased for divorcees looking to buy subsidised HDB flats

Romesh Navaratnarajah7 Mar 2018

View of HDB flats in Singapore.

UPDATED: To better support the housing needs of divorced parents and their children, the Housing and Development Board (HDB) has scrapped a policy which only allows one party to buy or own a subsidised flat within three years from the date of their divorce.

This was announced by National Development Minister Lawrence Wong at the Ministry of National Development’s Committee of Supply debate yesterday, and applies to flat applications received on or after 6 March.

Mr Wong said the removal of the three-year time-bar policy aims to “help divorced persons provide a more conducive living environment for their children, and go some way to help families through an already difficult period of transition”.

In a statement, HDB said: “Both parties in the divorce will be able to buy or own a subsidised flat each upon divorce, as long as they are each able to meet the eligibility conditions for flat purchase.”

Eugene Lim, Key Executive Officer of ERA Realty, said the rules were likely eased due to the rising number of divorce cases in Singapore. In 2016, there were 7,614 divorces compared to 6,904 in 2006, according to figures from the Department of Statistics.

While the number of divorce cases is not large enough to significantly impact the HDB resale market, there could still be an increase in the number of resale flat transactions, noted Lim.

“Divorcees have immediate housing needs and will probably turn to the resale market to look for a house, especially now that purchasing a resale home takes a shorter time due to the new Resale Portal,” he said.

Meanwhile, gender equality group AWARE welcomed the government’s move to lift the policy, but urged the state to do more for divorced parents.

“We hope that the removal of the time-bar will be applied to all divorced parents with any form of care and control of their children, including those with shared or split care and control,” said Corinna Lim, AWARE’s executive director.

She added that the government should also consider removing the 30-month time-bar for public rental housing.

“The debarment rules – both for purchase and rental – have created unnecessary hardship for many divorced parents. No matter what the terms of care and control are, ultimately, all parents and their children deserve equal access to secure housing,” noted Lim.  

Check out HDB flats for sale in Singapore.


Romesh Navaratnarajah, Senior Editor at PropertyGuru, wrote this story. To contact him about this or other stories, email


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