HDB SBF (Sale of Balance Flats) 2022 in Singapore: Everything You Need to Know

·12-min read
HDB SBF (Sale of Balance Flats) 2022 in Singapore: Everything You Need to Know
HDB SBF (Sale of Balance Flats) 2022 in Singapore: Everything You Need to Know

If you’re looking to buy your first home, but can’t afford to wait four or five years for a BTO flat or pay for the HDB resale flat prices which have risen for the 22nd straight month in April 2022one way to fast-track the process is to buy an HDB Sale of Balance Flat (HDB SBF), or apply for the Open Booking of Flats.

In this article, we’ll explain what an HDB SBF is and how it compares against a BTO flat and Open Booking of Flats. And should you decide that you’d like to apply for an HDB Sale of Balance flat, we’ll also guide you through the eligibility criteria and application process for HDB Sale of Balance Flats 2022.

Related article: HDB Balance Flat (SBF/Open Booking) or Resale Flat: Which Should You Buy?

What Is the HDB Sale of Balance Flat (SBF)?

HDB SBF Scheme is essentially a housing sales exercise that pools together unsold flats (or HDB balance flats) from past BTO launches, remaining flats from Selective En-bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS) projects, and any flats repurchased by HDB.

The SBF exercise occurs twice yearly, typically in May and November. These SBF flats are released alongside the BTO flat launches in those months. In the second SBF exercise of 2021, 1,798 flats were offered under the scheme. This time around, there are 1,952 SBF units available for the May 2022 SBF exercise.

Previously, all unsold flats from HDB SBF exercises will be first offered through the ROF exercises. If these flats remain unselected, they will be made available for open booking.

However, in March 2020, the government announced the Re-Offer of Balance Flats (ROF) scheme would be removed to allow home buyers to obtain their flats more quickly.

With the removal of ROF exercises, all unsold BTO balance flats will first be offered through the HDB Sale of Balance Flat scheme. If they remain unselected, these HDB Sale of Balance Flats will then be offered for open booking.

HDB Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) vs Re-offer of Balance Flats (ROF) vs Open Booking of Flats 

With the re-offer of balance flats (ROF) scrapped, all unsold bto flats will first be offered through hdb sale of balance flats (hdb sbf), and the remaining unsold units will be offered through an open booking. this allows home-seekers with urgent needs to obtain their flats more quickly
With the re-offer of balance flats (ROF) scrapped, all unsold bto flats will first be offered through hdb sale of balance flats (hdb sbf), and the remaining unsold units will be offered through an open booking. this allows home-seekers with urgent needs to obtain their flats more quickly

As mentioned, previously, any HDB Sale of Balance flats that were not selected was pooled together in another exercise known as the Re-offer of Balance flats (ROF). Just like how HDB Sale of Balance flats are the ‘balance flats’ from BTO exercises, HDB ROFs are the remaining flats that were not selected from previous HDB SBFs. Think of them as the HDB balance flats of the HDB balance flats.

The HDB ROF exercise has since been scrapped and any balance flats from HDB SBF are made available through an open booking system on HDB’s portal. The Open Booking of Flats operates on a first-come-first-served basis, meaning, that once all the flats are booked, that’s it!

Currently, all units for open booking have been booked. A fresh supply of flats will be made available in September 2022, so keep an eye out for them!

In summary, here’s a comparison table highlighting the key differences between HDB SBFs and Open Booking of Flats.

HDB SBFs

Open Booking of Flats

When they are made available

Twice a year 

Subject to HDB’s announcement

Flats offered

Balance flats from previous BTO launches

Balance flats from past HDB SBF launches

Number of flats offered

About 3,000

Less than 100

Application period

One week

Open throughout the year

Unit type

Most unit types are available

Limited choices for unit size

Ethnic quota

Relatively spread out among different races

Few units for Chinese buyers

HDB Build-to-Order (BTO) Flats vs Sale of Balance Flats 2022: What’s the Difference?

Any unsold BTO flats will now first be offered through HDB sale of balance flats (HDB SBF). The unsold SBF flats will then be offered through an open booking, instead of going through another round of re-offer of balance flats (ROF) exercise
Under HDB’s Sale of Balance Flats scheme, you get to choose from a wider range of locations compared to the BTO scheme

Here are some of the key differences between HDB’s BTO flats and HDB SBFs. 

1. HDB Sale of Balance Flats Have a Shorter Waiting Period

The main difference between the HDB SBF and HDB BTO flat is the shorter waiting time.

Since the construction of BTO flats will only begin if at least 70% of flats are booked, this means the process is longer as the waiting time is usually about 3 to 4 years. But with construction delays, the estimated waiting times for flats launched in 2020 and 2021 range between 3 to 5.5 years

In contrast, HDB SBF launches sell leftover flats from projects that are either under construction or have already been completed (that are ready to be moved into). Therefore, you can expect to get your flat a lot quicker.

Related article: Purchasing a Home Before Marriage? This Couple Did Just That

This is especially great for young couples who do not want to delay marriage until they have a home, or do not wish to spend money on rental while waiting for their BTO unit to complete. Single unwed parents and seniors also stand to benefit from the shorter waiting time of HDB SBF exercises.

In the BTO sales launches in May 2022, keen buyers can look forward to getting a chance to ballot for a flat in Bukit MerahJurong WestQueenstownToa Payoh and Yishun.

With the coming HDB BTO exercise commencing in May 2022, do take note that you can only apply for one scheme at any given time. So, if you’re already planning to apply for the upcoming HDB BTO launch in May 2022, you can’t put in an application for that round of Sale of Balance Flats.

2. HDB’s Sale of Balance Flats Scheme Offers You More Locations to Choose From

Based on the numbers from November last year, there were 1,798 SBF units compared to 4,501 BTO units, including those from the HDB Prime Location Public Housing (PLH) model that was launched. This May’s SBF exercise sees 1,952 flats on offer.

Related articles:

Since the HDB SBF scheme pools together unsold flats from many different projects, HDB Sale of Balance Flat launches are located in both mature and non-mature estates across Singapore. While there are fewer total units available for sale, you have more locations and options to choose from when applying for an HDB balance flat. 

3. You Have a Slimmer Chance of Selecting an HDB Balance Flat That You Like

When you apply for a flat under the BTO scheme, you’re basically balloting for a chance to be able to pick the best flat out of the bunch.

On the other hand, things are different when you apply for an HDB balance flat via the HDB SBF scheme.

Related article: HDB BTO Application Rate (From 2020 to Now): Which Estates Are The Easiest To Get BTO in

Since HDB SBF sales are ‘leftover’ flats from previous sales exercises, these flats are sometimes considered ‘undesirable’ by previous buyers due to the units’ location. For example, lower floor units that are close to the centralised rubbish chute disposals, west-facing units or units with obstructed views. 

Having said that, this isn’t the case for every unit offered through HDB SBF. Some may have ended up in the pool because previous buyers were picky, couldn’t afford them, or had to give up the unit due to other reasons. So, depending on your luck, you could possibly have a perfectly desirable unit.

4. There’s More Information About Sale of Balance Flats Compared to BTO Flats

Another perk of the HDB SBF scheme is that HDB provides information down to the last detail.

In addition to the location, type, flat size and map (things that are provided in BTO sales), you will also know the block and unit numbers of the balance flats, as well as the ethnic quota when you want to apply for HDB SBFs. 

5. HDB SBFs Are More Expensive Than BTO Flats

Whilst HDB’s Sale of Balance Flats are still subsidised by the government, they are slightly more expensive than BTO flats. However, they still cost much lesser compared to HDB resale flats.

6. HDB SBFs Must Comply With Ethnic Race Policy (EIP)

Buying an HDB Sale of Balance Flat also comes with the race quota restriction: it might not be available for certain racial profiles, particularly Chinese.

Related article: HDB Ethnic Quota in Singapore: 4 Mixed-race Couples Share How the Policy has Affected Them When Buying Flats

7. It’s Harder to Secure an HDB Balance Flat

Since there is much fewer HDB Sale of Balance Flats units available compared to BTO flats, thus your chances of securing a Sale of Balance Flat are slimmer.

HDB Sale of Balance Flats 2022 Eligibility Criteria

With the re-offer of balance flats (ROF) scrapped, all unsold bto flats will first be offered through hdb sale of balance flats (hdb sbf), and the remaining unsold units will be offered through an open booking. this allows home-seekers with urgent needs to obtain their flats more quickly
With the re-offer of balance flats (ROF) scrapped, all unsold bto flats will first be offered through hdb sale of balance flats (hdb sbf), and the remaining unsold units will be offered through an open booking. this allows home-seekers with urgent needs to obtain their flats more quickly

Want to get an HDB SBF flat? Here’s an overview of the eligibility criteria for HDB Sale of Balance Flats 2022.

Eligible Applicant/ Family Nucleus

You’ll need to qualify for a new flat under one of HDB’s existing eligibility schemes:

1. Public Scheme.

2. Fiancé/Fiancée Scheme.

3. Orphans Scheme.

Citizenship

At least 1 of the applicants must be a Singapore Citizen.

At least 1 other applicant must be a Singapore Citizen or Singapore Permanent Resident.

Age

You must be at least 21 years old.

Income Ceiling

You are within the set income ceiling for the flat that you want to apply for:

$14,000 for families.

$21,000 for extended families.

Property Ownership

1. You and all other applicants/occupiers listed in the flat application don’t own other property, whether overseas or locally.

2. You have not disposed of any property within the last 30 months.

3. You and all other applicants/occupiers listed in the flat application cannot invest in private residential property from the date of flat application till after the 5-year Minimum Occupation Period (MOP).

4. You haven’t bought a new HDB/DBSS flat or EC or received a CPF Housing Grant before

5. Or, you have only bought one of those properties prior and only received 1 CPF Housing Grant thus far.

Note that the above criteria are only if you’re applying as a family nucleus, or with your fiancé/fiancée/spouse.

From 2020 onwards, unwed parents are now able to buy 2-room or 3-room flats in non-mature estates if they have stable employment and/or adequate funds, and will also be considered for public rental flats should they have insufficient finances.

If you are a first-timer single applicant buying an HDB SBF flat, you’ll need to fulfil the following criteria:

  • You must be a Singapore citizen

  • You must be at least 35 years of age if  you are unmarried or divorced, or 21 and above if you are widowed or an orphan

  • You must meet the EIP and SPR quota for the area your flat is in (this is more likely to impact the location of your flat)

  • Your monthly household income doesn’t exceed $7,000

How Do I Buy an HDB Sale of Balance Flat?

how to buy an HDB sale of balance flat now that the ROF scheme is scrapped.
how to buy an HDB sale of balance flat now that the ROF scheme is scrapped.

Here’s a rundown of how to apply for an HDB SBF:

1. Apply for Your HDB SBF Online

Once HDB announces the sale of unsold flats, you can proceed to submit an online application within the application period, provided you meet all the eligibility criteria. Each launch is about a week-long, so you do have some time to make a decision among the flats. 

2. Await Results and Get Your Finances in Order

Following this, if your application is successful, you will be shortlisted via a computer ballot. The results are usually announced in about three weeks. 

If luck is on your side and you have a short queue number, then your chances of getting the flat you really want are much higher. First-time applicants and couples have higher chances of securing an HDB Sale of Balance Flat.

While waiting for the results, you’ll want to get your finances in order to prepare for the flat purchase. If you’re getting an HDB loan, you’ll need to apply for your HDB Loan Eligibility (HLE) letter. If you’re taking out a bank loan, you’ll need to request an Approval-in-Principle (AIP) letter from your bank.

Don’t know the difference between an HDB loan and a bank loan? Read our quick guide to get up to speed.

3. Book Your Flat With HDB

You will then be invited to book your flat according to your allocated queue number and unit availability. You’ll be shown what’s available to you when you go to the HDB Hub for your appointment, and if you like what’s available, you can make the booking on the spot. There’s an option fee payable, which is $500, $1,000 or $2,000 depending on the size of your chosen flat.

4. Collect Keys

For flats that are already completed, you can collect the keys and move in within three months! For flats approaching completion, you will be able to collect the keys once the flats are ready.

With the re-offer of balance flats (ROF) scrapped, all unsold bto flats will first be offered through hdb sale of balance flats (hdb sbf), and the remaining unsold units will be offered through an open booking. this allows home-seekers with urgent needs to obtain their flats more quickly
With the re-offer of balance flats (ROF) scrapped, all unsold bto flats will first be offered through hdb sale of balance flats (hdb sbf), and the remaining unsold units will be offered through an open booking. this allows home-seekers with urgent needs to obtain their flats more quickly

Alternatives to HDB Sale of Balance Flats 2022

As you can see, HDB SBF offers the attractive prospect of getting a brand-new HDB flat, but with shorter waiting times than an HDB BTO, especially with extended waiting times due to the COVID-19 outbreak. But the chances of a successful application can be slim.

If you are still leaning towards purchasing a BTO, check out the May 2022 BTO launches:

May 2022 HDB BTO Launch

Alternatively, you can take a look at HDB resale flats for sale if you need a home in a hurry. For those who are particular about wanting an HDB resale flat with a long lease, check out this list of freshly MOP-ed HDB resale flats in Singapore to expect in 2022/2023.

For more property news, resources and useful content like this article, check out PropertyGuru’s guides section

Are you looking to buy a new home? Then, head to PropertyGuru to browse the top properties for sale in Singapore.  

Already found a new home? Let PropertyGuru Finance’s home finance advisors help you with financing it.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting