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HDB Flat Eligibility for BTO and Resale Flats (2024): Guide to HDB Eligibility Schemes in Singapore

HDB Flat Eligibility for BTO and Resale Flats (2024): Guide to HDB Eligibility Schemes in Singapore
HDB Flat Eligibility for BTO and Resale Flats (2024): Guide to HDB Eligibility Schemes in Singapore

If you’ve searched “HDB flat eligibility” and clicked on this article, chances are that you intend to buy a BTO flat or resale HDB flat. You’ve come to the right place: in this article, we’ll cover everything from HDB eligibility schemes, what is the HDB Flat Eligibility (HFE) letter, and HDB loan eligibility.

Table of contents:

Watch Our Video on HDB Flat Eligibility in Singapore

HDB Flat Eligibility Criteria for BTO and Resale Flats

Eligible applicant/ Family nucleus

You qualify for at least one of the following HDB eligibility 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

For BTO flats, you are within the income ceiling of the flat you want to purchase; for resale HDB flats, no income ceiling

Property ownership

You don’t own or have an interest in any other property locally or overseas.
If you’re buying a BTO flat, or buying a resale flat with CPF housing grants, you must not have disposed of a private property at least 30 months before the HFE letter application.

If you intend to buy a non-subsidised HDB resale flat with no grants, you must not have disposed of private property at least 15 months before applying for the HFE letter.

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. The above is a general guideline for HDB flat eligibility. If you would like to read in more detail about the HDB flat eligibility for couples and families, seniors, and singles, you can head over to the HDB website.

The quickest way to know your HDB flat eligibility is when you apply for the HDB HFE letter. You’ll be first asked to do a preliminary HFE check before you can take the next step towards applying for a valid HFE letter.

Upon application, you will be informed of your HDB flat eligibility, CPF housing grant eligibility, the amount you qualify for, and HDB loan eligibility and the amount you can loan. Those who are second-time HDB flat buyers will also have the resale levy amount included in your HFE letter.

Regardless, here is a rough explanation of the various HDB eligibility schemes used to assess various HDB flat homebuyers in Singapore.

HDB Eligibility Schemes

1. HDB Public Scheme

To qualify for this HDB eligibility 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 HDB eligibility 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 HDB eligibility scheme, 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 HDB eligibility schemes that you might be eligible for, however, the choice of flats you may buy might be limited.

4. HDB Single Scheme (Single Singapore Citizen Scheme)

For BTO flats, you are limited to applying for 2-room Flexi flats in non-mature estates. However, from the second half of 2024 onwards, singles will qualify for 2-room Flexi flats across all locations.

If you intend to buy resale flats, you can buy all flat types in any location (except for 3Gen flats). 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 HDB eligibility 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 HBD flat eligibility under 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 HDB eligibility 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

Are SPRs Allowed to Buy HDB Flats?

If you’re an SPR couple looking to buy an HDB flat, you can only buy resale flats. If you do an HDB BTO eligibility check, you will find you do not meet the HDB flat eligibility requirements for a BTO flat.

As a single SPR, you can’t apply for a BTO flat on your own as the HDB BTO eligibility check will tell you that you need to have a family nucleus for the HDB application. This means you can purchase an HDB resale flat only under the Public Scheme or the Fiancé/Fiancée Scheme.

You’ll also need to meet these four main requirements for HDB flat eligibility:

  • 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

Income Ceiling for HDB Flat Eligibility

What Is the Income Ceiling for HDB Resale Flats?

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, you can review your CPF housing grant eligibility through the HDB HFE application process.

But for BTO flats, there is an income ceiling you have to meet.

HDB BTO Eligibility Check: What Is the Income Ceiling for BTO?

Type of housing

Income ceiling for BTO flats

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)

When doing your HDB BTO eligibility check, you’ll want to make sure you meet the income ceiling. 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.

BTO Income Ceiling for Extended or Multi-Generation Families

Household type

Income of Group A

Income of Group B

Parents with single children

Parents and one of the single children

Remaining single children

Parents with married children

Parents and remaining working children (if any)

The married children and their children (if any)

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

Income of Group A: Parents and one of the single children

Cannot exceed $14,000

Income of Group B: Remaining single children

Cannot exceed $14,000

Extended family income ceiling

Group A + Group B must not exceed $21,000

You: $5,000
Your spouse: $6,000
Child C: $2,000

Child A: $4,000
Child B: $3,000

Group A: $13,000
Group B: $7,000

Total: $13,000

Total: $7,000

Total: $20,000

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

  • Stipend

The following won’t be factored into your monthly household income:

  • Alimony allowance

  • Bonuses

  • 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

  • Pension

First-timer Vs Second-timer HDB Applicants

If you’re a first-time applicant for HDB flats, it means you’ve never received any form of housing subsidy or a similar benefit. But if your spouse is a second-timer applicant, but you’re a first-timer applicant, you will still 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 and ECs, respectively.

Privileges for First-Timer HDB 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 (2 ballot chances as a first-timer, 3 ballot chances if you qualify under the First-Timer (Parents & Married Couples) or FT(PMC) category)

Additional ballot chances for unsuccessful attempts (non-mature estate for BTO application)

May be eligible for Deferred Income Assessment and Staggered Downpayment Scheme

EC

During the initial launch period of one month, 70% of the flats will be set aside for first-timer families

What Are the HDB Loan Eligibility Criteria?

Citizenship

At least one buyer is a Singapore Citizen

Household status

Applicants and/or essential occupiers have not previously taken two or more housing loans from HDB

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

All listed applicants don’t own or have an interest in any other private property locally or overseas and haven’t disposed of any within the last 30 months before applying for your HFE letter
They also must not own or have an interest in more than one local or overseas non-residential private property at/within 30 months before the HFE letter application.

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.

HDB Loan: How Much Can You Loan? What is the Loan Tenure?

Age

Allowed, but subject to

Loan tenure is the shortest of

≥ 95 years

80%* of the purchase price for a new flat
80%* of the resale price or flat value (whichever is lower) for a resale flat

25 years
65 years minus the average age of the buyers, or
Remaining lease at the point of flat application minus 20 years

< 95 years

Loan-to-value (LTV) limit of 80%* is pro-rated based on the extent of how much the remaining lease can cover the youngest buyer to the age of 95

25 years
65 years minus the average age of the buyers, or
Remaining lease at the point of flat application minus 20 years

Use our affordability calculator to get better estimates on how much you can afford and what your monthly instalments will be.

That said it’s easier to be eligible for a bank loan than an HDB loan. The method of assessment for the HDB BTO eligibility check 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.

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!

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