HDB Single Scheme and Joint Singles Scheme: Guide to Buying HDB Flat As a Single in Singapore

·12-min read

You may have heard of the “BTO proposal” wherein true Singaporean fashion, someone proposes to their significant other by asking if they’d like to book a BTO flat together. But, what if you're single and want to buy an HDB flat (or want to buy with another single person)? The short answer is you can, thanks to the Joint Singles Scheme and Single Scheme. However, it comes with a catch.

In this article, we'll talk about how singles can buy HDB properties in Singapore.

Can Singles Buy HDB Flats?

Yes, however, you must be eligible under the two schemes: Single Singapore Citizen Scheme and Joint Singles Scheme.

That means you need to meet the general eligibility conditions, namely a Singapore citizen who's at least 35 years old (unmarried or divorced), or 21 years old (widowed, orphaned). You must also ensure that you're within the Ethnic Integration Policy (EIP).

On top of that, you're only allowed to buy 2-room Flexi BTO HDB flats or resale HDB flats.

Related article: 73 Freshly MOP-ed HDB Resale Flats in Singapore to Expect in 2021/2022

What Type of HDB Flats Can Singles Buy?

As mentioned above, singles looking to buy HDB properties can only choose between 2-room Flexi HDB BTO units or resale HDB flats.

If you're planning to buy a 2-room Flexi BTO flat, then you're limited to buy in non-mature estates (Woodlands, Bukit Panjang, Sengkang, Punggol, Tengah, etc.). Your average monthly gross income also cannot exceed $7,000.

On the other hand, you can buy any unit type in most estates if you plan to buy a resale HDB flat. There's no income cap; however, resale HDB flats tend to cost much more compared to BTO flats.

Do take note of a major exception though. Singles are not allowed to purchase BTO flats that are released under the new Prime Housing Location (PLH) model. They are also not allowed to buy these BTO flats when they go on the resale market after fulling the 10-year Minimum Occupation Period.

Here's a quick comparison between the two:

Flat type

2-room Flexi HDB BTO flat

Resale HDB flat

Estate

Non-mature estate only

Any, except newer blocks under the Prime Housing Location model

Income

$7,000 for 2-room Flexi flat on 99-year lease flat, $14,000 for 2-room Flexi flat on 15 to 45 year lease

No income cap

Property ownership

You must not own or have disposed of any of the following properties in the past 30 months, which include private residential property, privatised HUDC flats and executive condos (ECs), house, building, land

Should you own an HDB flat or private property (be it in Singapore or overseas), you must dispose of the property within 6 months of purchasing your resale flat

EIP quota

You’ll need to ensure you’re within the EIP quota for the block/ neighbourhood.

You’ll need to ensure you’re within the EIP quota for the block/ neighbourhood.

Price

From $90,000 (excluding grants)

From $210,000 on average

What Is the HDB Single Scheme?

The Single Singapore Citizen Scheme (or HDB Single Scheme) was introduced in October 1991 to allow single Singaporeans aged 35 and above to purchase HDB flats.

When the HDB Single Scheme was first implemented, applicants could buy resale flats that were 3-room or smaller in most estates, except at estates such as Bukit Merah, Geylang, Kallang, Whampoa, Queenstown, Farrer Road, Tanjong Rhu, Mountbatten, Outram Park, and Beach Road.

The scheme was a boon for individuals who for one reason or another, can’t or didn’t want to get married. Instead of hunting down pricey condominium units, they could get a more affordable home in the form of a resale HDB flat.

In subsequent years, HDB relaxed the rules further, allowing singles to buy resale flats with no restriction on flat size or location (apart from BTO flats released under the new Prime Location Housing model, that is).

In 2013, singles were finally allowed to buy flats directly from HDB, during BTO or SBF exercises, making homes much more affordable.

HDB Schemes for Singles: Single Scheme & Joint Singles Scheme

Currently, HDB offers two schemes for singles:

  • Single Singapore Citizen Scheme

  • Joint Singles Scheme

These are the general criteria that apply for both schemes:

Eligibility Criteria

Citizenship

Singapore Citizen

Age

35 and above (if unmarried or divorced), or 21 and above (if widowed or an orphan)

EIP Quota

You’ll need to ensure you’re within the EIP quota for the block/ neighbourhood.

Singles Scheme vs Joint Singles Scheme: What’s the Difference?

The Single Singapore Citizen Scheme is meant for individual applicants, while the Joint Singles Scheme is for joint ownership for up to 4 singles, with a minimum of 2.

If you’re applying under the Joint Singles Scheme, you and your fellow applicant(s) must meet all the criteria and be listed in the application as co-applicants. You don’t need to be related to each other.

What Flats Can I Buy Under These HDB Singles Schemes?

Under the two schemes, you can choose from either a BTO flat or a resale HDB flat.

I Want a BTO Flat

If you’re eyeing a BTO flat, you’re limited only to 2-Room Flexi flats in non-mature estates. Unfortunately, this is the only BTO flat option you’ll qualify for as a single applicant. Non-mature estates are estates that are less than 20 years old. Currently, they are the following:

  • Bukit Batok

  • Bukit Panjang

  • Choa Chu Kang

  • Hougang

  • Jurong East

  • Jurong West

  • Punggol

  • Sembawang

  • Sengkang

  • Woodlands

  • Yishun

I Want a Resale HDB Flat Instead

Resale flats are notably more expensive than BTO flats, but you aren’t restricted to just one flat type in certain estates.

Since singles are only restricted to 2-room Flexi flats for BTO flats, a resale flat might be the option for you if you want more space. In addition, you don’t have to wait for three to four years for BTO flat to be ready.

In addition, singles can buy most resale flats in both mature and non-mature estates, so you can choose which neighbourhood to live in.

However, note that newer flats in prime locations will be out of bounds for singles. This is part of the Prime Location Housing model, which is meant as a way to prevent a 'lottery effect' for the immensely popular HDB flats located in highly desirable areas.

The new model applies only to new BTO flats built in prime areas, starting from the November 2021 BTO launch, and continues to be in force even after they go on the resale market later on. Existing resale flats are not subject to these rules.

Singles Applying for a BTO (2-room Flexi)

If you’ve decided to get a 2-room Flexi flat through BTO, here are the eligibility criteria you’ll need to meet:

Eligibility Criteria

Citizenship

Singapore Citizens only

Age

At least 35 years if you're unmarried or divorced, or at least 21 years if you're widowed or an orphan

Income Ceiling

Your monthly household income doesn’t exceed $7,000 (flats with up to 99-year lease), or $14,000 (for flats with up to 45-year lease)

EIP Quota

You’ll need to ensure you’re within the Ethnic Integration Policy (EIP) quota for the block/ neighbourhood.

Property Ownership

You must not own or have disposed of any of the following properties in the past 30 months, which include private residential property, privatised HUDC flats and executive condos (ECs), house, building, land

Grants you might be eligible for

Enhanced Housing Grant (Singles)

Note that if you’re getting a 2-room Flexi BTO flat on a short lease, you’ll need to be at least 55 years old at the time of the application. Also, the allowable lease period will be based on the youngest applicant, and must be able to cover him or her till at least the age of 95.

Singles Applying for an HDB Resale Flat

Perhaps you need more space than what a BTO 2-room Flexi flat can offer? Here are the general eligibility criteria that apply if you want a resale flat:

Eligibility Criteria

Citizenship

Singapore Citizens only

Age

At least 35 years (if unmarried or divorced), or at least 21 years (if widowed or an orphan)

Income Ceiling

Does not apply

EIP Quota

You’ll need to ensure you’re within the EIP quota for the block/ neighbourhood

Property Ownership

If you own an HDB flat or any private property (whether locally or overseas), they must be disposed of within 6 months from the purchase of the resale flat.

Grants you might be eligible for

Enhanced Housing Grant (Singles), Singles Grant, Proximity Housing Grant (PHG)

Although there is no income ceiling, there’s a maximum income limit if you’re thinking of getting a CPF Housing Grant or an HDB Loan.

Two singles sitting in front of a laptop, looking over HDB singles schemes
Two singles sitting in front of a laptop, looking over HDB singles schemes

If eligible, you can take advantage of generous CPF grants under the HDB schemes for singles to make your flat more affordable.

What Grants Are There Under HDB’s Singles Schemes?

Regardless of whether you want a BTO or a resale flat, HDB offers various CPF Housing Grants that you can take advantage of if you qualify. There are 3 grants you might be eligible for:

Grant

Flat Type

Amount

Enhanced Housing Grant (EHG)

BTO or resale

$5,000 to $80,000

Singles Grant

Resale

$25,000 (4-room and under)

$20,000 (5-room)

Proximity Housing Grant (PHG)

Resale

$10,000 (live near parents and/or child); $15,000 (live with parents and/or child)

If you’re buying a BTO flat, the only grant you can get will be the EHG. For resale flats, you might be able to get all 3 grants if you fulfil the respective criteria.

Let’s now take a look at the eligibility criteria for the grants.

Enhanced CPF Housing Grant for Singles (EHG)

Eligibility Criteria

Income Ceiling

Your average gross monthly household income for the 12 months before your flat application must not exceed $4,500

Employment

You must be employed for at least 12 months prior to the flat application, or still be working at the time that you submit the flat application

Remaining Lease of Flat

20 years or more. The flat must have a sufficient lease to cover the youngest buyer to the age of 95 to qualify for the full EHG. Otherwise, the EHG will be pro-rated

Ownership/ Interest in Property

You and the other flat applicants are not owners of any properties locally or overseas, or have disposed of any such properties in the 30 months before your new flat application. These include private residential property (including privatised HUDC flats and ECs), house, building, or land

Grant Amount

Up to $40,000, depending on your income

HDB Singles Grant

If you’re applying for an HDB resale flat under the Single Singapore Citizen Scheme, you may qualify for the Singles Grant.

Eligibility criteria

Household Status

You must be a first-timer applicant, which means you're not the owner of a flat bought from HDB, or an EC or Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) flat bought from a developer

You have not sold a flat bought from HDB, or an EC/DBSS flat bought from a developer, or have not received any CPF Housing Grant for the purchase of an HDB resale flat

You also have not received any form of housing subsidy, e.g. benefitted under the Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS), HUDC estate privatisation

Income Ceiling

Your average gross monthly household income must not exceed $7,000 if you’re buying a resale flat under the Single Singapore Citizen Scheme, or $14,000 if you’re buying a resale flat under the Joint Singles Scheme

Flat Type

2- to 5-room under the Single Singapore Citizen Scheme, or 2-room or bigger under other schemes

Remaining Lease of Flat

20 years or more

Ownership/ Interest in Property

All applicants and occupiers listed in the flat application do not own other property overseas or locally, and have not disposed of any within the last 30 months.

You also can't invest in private residential property from the date of flat application till after the 5-year MOP

You must not buy an HDB resale flat that has been announced for SERS

If you qualify, you can get $20,000 for a 5-room flat, and $25,000 for a flat that’s 4-room and under.

Proximity Housing Grant (PHG)

If you’re buying a resale flat to live near your parents, you may be eligible for the Proximity Housing Grant.

For you to be eligible, you need to meet the following conditions:

  • Your family nucleus must comprise at least another Singapore Permanent Resident or a Singapore Citizen

  • You and your family haven’t received the PHG before

  • Your parents need to be living within 4km of the resale flat you intend to buy

  • The flat has at least 20 years of lease left

If eligible, you can get $10,000 for this grant.

If you decide to live with your parents (and/or child), you can get $15,000. But really, if you're an unmarried single who is moving out, this probably doesn't apply to you.

We hope this guide has helped enlighten you on the available HDB singles schemes out there, and how you can benefit. Here’s to flying solo!

More FAQs about HDB Single Scheme and Joint Singles Scheme

Is Single Eligible for BTO?

Yes! Singles can apply for a BTO flat, either under the Single Scheme or with another applicant under the Joint Singles Scheme. You are limited to 2-room Flexi flats in non-mature estates.

Can Single Buy HDB 4-Room Flat?

Singles aged 35 and up can buy 4-room HDB flats on the resale market, either solo or under the Joint Singles Scheme. You cannot apply for a 4-room BTO flat, however.

How Much HDB Grant Can a Single Get?

Singles can get HDB grants of up to $115,000 when applying for a flat, depending on what type of flat it is, income level, and proximity to parents.

Can 2 Singles Buy BTO?

Yes, under the Joint Singles Scheme, 2 singles can jointly apply for a BTO flat. You don't need to be related. However, you are limited to only 2-room Flexi flats in non-mature estates.

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