It’s almost November and that means we’re about to see the final Built-to-Order (BTO) launch of 2022. Before you ask your partner to “apply BTO” and submit your BTO application, you’ll want to know more about what to expect for the upcoming November 2022 BTO launch.
The upcoming November 2022 launch will see about 9,500 new BTO flats in neighbourhoods such as Queenstown, Kallang/Whampoa, Bukit Batok, Tengah, and Yishun. HDB has also announced the first three estates in the February 2023 BTO exercise, which will see around 2,900 to 3,900 BTO flats in Kallang/Whampoa, Queenstown, and Tengah.
Now, if you’re getting FOMO because all your pals are submitting their BTO application and also want to apply for a BTO flat, you want to make sure you’re prepared. Here are some financial planning tips to help you get started right away.
BTO Application Key Considerations: Things to Consider Before You Apply BTO
|BTO eligibility||Can you and your partner even apply to BTO?|
|Location – Proximity to parents or in-laws||How close do you want to live to your parents and/or in-laws?|
|Home Loan Eligibility||Which home loans (bank vs HDB) and how much loan can you take?|
|Mortgage Affordability||How much in mortgage repayments can you afford each month?|
|Renovation and Furnishing||How much must you spend to renovate and furnish your BTO before it is ‘move-in ready’?|
Check Your BTO Application Eligibility Before Buying an HDB BTO Flat
You want to apply for a BTO flat, but can you even BTO?
The first step to getting your new HDB BTO flat is to check what you’re eligible for. Well, some of these key criteria include your citizenship, income ceiling, if you have any other property (maybe your parents put another house in your name), and so on.
Since this article is on asking your partner if they want to apply for a BTO flat with you, we’re assuming it’s your first time applying for an HDB BTO flat, you’re at least 21 years old, and that you’ll be applying under the Fiancé/Fiancée Scheme with no children in tow.
Please keep in mind that you must marry within three months of receiving the keys to your HDB BTO flat. A photocopy of your marriage certificate must also be submitted to HDB as proof of your marriage.
“title”: “HDB Flats in Singapore: BTO Eligibility, Resale Criteria and the Available Schemes (2022)”,
“excerpt”: “Read more here.”,
Before You Apply BTO, Decide How Close You Want to Be to Your Parents (Or In-Laws)
It makes sense to want to live close to your parents (or in-laws) if you get together frequently. Living near to each other is also ideal if you frequently worry about your parents, require assistance with your children (and they are eager to assist), or if your mother is a great cook.
Some couples, however, would rather live in seclusion without surprised knocks on their door from family members. Because of this, determining how far your HDB BTO apartment is from your parents’ house is important before submitting your BTO application.
However, do note that the proximity to parents is an advantage in winning the BTO ballot. Getting a flat close to your parents can improve your chances through various HDB priority schemes.
Married Child Priority Scheme
For example, the Married Child Priority Scheme helps a married child and his/her parents live with or close to each other for mutual care and support. This extends to Fiancé/Fiancée Scheme applicants too. You’ll need to apply for a BTO flat within 4km from your parents (or with your parents), and there is a 5-year Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) where both parties cannot move house.
For flats under the Public Location Public Housing (PLH) model, the MOP is 10-years. That’s a long time!
Multi-Generation Priority Scheme
There’s also the Multi-Generation Priority Scheme, in which the couple and the parents get new flats in the same precinct. They can make a joint application for two flats in the same BTO project, provided there are 2-room Flexi or 3-room flats available.
When You Apply for a BTO Flat, Be Realistic About What You Can Afford
It’s one thing to want to live in a 5-room flat in Bishan but realistically, your household income may not support that. Even if you scrimp and save to pay the cash outlay, how sustainable is that in the long term, especially if you’re planning to have a baby?
You don’t want to be caught in a situation where you regret your BTO application after getting a good queue number or even have to cancel your BTO flat.
In 2021, Singapore’s median monthly household income from work was $9,520. Assuming that you are a young couple who have just started out in their careers, it’s likely your take-home pay is lower than the median household income.
Granted, the salary you’re drawing now may not be the salary you’ll be taking home in four to five years’ time when the keys to your BTO flat are finally ready. Nevertheless, it’s better you stay woke and be practical about what you can afford to pay for your new home.
Assuming you opt for an HDB-granted loan at 2.6% interest over 25 years, and a Loan-to-Value (LTV) limit of 80%, here’s how much you should budget for:
|Type of HDB flat/location||Price||Monthly repayment||Downpayment|
|3-room BTO Flat (Non-mature estate)||$231,000||$838 (for a loan amount of $184,800)||$46,200|
|4-room BTO Flat (Non-mature estate)||$309,000||$1,121 (for a loan amount of $247,200)||$61,800|
|5-room BTO Flat (Non-mature estate)||$420,000||$1,524 (for a loan amount of $336,000)||$84,000|
|3-room BTO Flat (Mature estate)||$352,000||$1,278 (for a loan amount of $281,600)||$70,400|
|4-room BTO Flat (Mature estate)||$522,000||$1,895 (for a loan amount of $417,600)||$104,400|
|5-room BTO Flat (Mature estate)||$627,000||$2,276 (for a loan amount of $501,600)||$125,400|
With our rising median monthly household income, many Singaporeans can likely still afford a 5-room BTO flat in a mature estate. Although those who earn lesser than the median monthly household should consider if they’d want some balance in their CPF OA for their retirement, and if they can continue paying the cash outlay.
For a more detailed look at how much you can actually afford, check out PropertyGuru’s mortgage affordability calculator. When working out how much monthly mortgage repayments you can afford, be sure to also keep the Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR) and Mortgage Servicing Ratio (MSR) in mind.
Check Your Housing Loan Eligibility: HDB BTO Flat Downpayment
In addition to affordability, you’ll also need to check your housing loan eligibility and how much downpayment you need to make for your HDB BTO flat.
As housing is a shared cost, pool your savings together to see how much upfront cash you can afford for the downpayment and other fees, and do discuss if you’d prefer a bank loan or an HDB loan (each has its merits). You should also check if you’re eligible for any CPF housing grants.
For young couples who don’t have a lot of cash, opting for an HDB loan is a common choice as it allows for a higher LTV limit. However, do note that with the recent September 2022 property cooling measures, the maximum loan amount that can be issued has dropped from 85% to 80%. The remaining 20% downpayment for an HDB loan can be fully paid for with your CPF OA monies.
Meanwhile, a bank loan has a lower LTV limit of 75%. You’ll also need to pay at least 5% of the 25% downpayment of your bank loan in cash (that’s $25,000 on a $500,000 BTO flat), with the balance payable with your CPF OA monies.
In light of the new cooling measures, the medium-term interest rate floor used to calculate the TDSR and MSR has also been raised by 0.5%. For home loans from banks and financial institutions, the interest rate floor has increased to 4%; for HDB-granted housing loans, there is now an interest rate floor of 3%.
“title”: “HDB Loan Vs Bank Loan 5 Key Differences: The Complete Guide to Financing Your HDB Flat in Singapore (2022)”,
“excerpt”: “Read more here.”,
Renovation and Interior Design Costs for a BTO Flat
Chances are, while your BTO flat is on its way, you’ll also be busy sourcing for a renovation contractor or an interior designer. At the very least, you’ll need to install lights, appliances, window grilles/blinds/curtains, and buy furniture.
Costs vary, depending on the HDB fittings you’re opting for, how elaborate you want your renovation to be and if there’s any hacking involved. One piece of good news is that BTO flats, unlike their resale counterparts, are cheaper to renovate. Here are some cost estimates, provided by Qanvast.
Expected Median Renovation Cost for BTO Flats in 2022
|3-room BTO flat||$35,000 to $38,000|
|4-room BTO flat||$40,000 to $46,000|
|5-room BTO flat||$47,000 to $56,000|
How Much Money Should You Set Aside to Buy a BTO Flat
If you just want a TL;DR version on applying for a BTO flat as you’re keener on planning your dream proposal, here goes:
Total Estimated Cost of Getting a BTO Flat in Singapore
|Submitting application||$10||Cash||May be done multiple times, if the ballot isn’t successful|
|Booking of flat||Option fee: $1,000 to $2,000||Cash||Depends on the size of your flat; forms part of your downpayment|
|Signing of Agreement for Lease||Depends on the cost of your flat (Stamp Duty Calculator)||Cash/CPF||At this stage, you’re paying stamp duty and legal fees|
|Downpayment (20% for HDB loan; 25% for bank loan)||~$30,000 (depends on the cost of your flat)||Cash/CPF||Those on an HDB loan can pay with CPF entirely; those on a bank loan need to pay at least 5% in cash|
|Collection of keys||~$800||Cash/CPF||At this stage, you’re paying stamp duty and legal fees|
|Home Protection Scheme||~$205/year||Cash/CPF||Compulsory if you’re using CPF to pay for your housing loan|
|Fire insurance||~$33/year||Cash/CPF||Compulsory if you’re taking an HDB loan|
|Balance of the purchase price (monthly instalments)||~$1,400/month over 25 years (can vary)||Cash/CPF||Amount you pay depends on the cost of your flat and the interest rate of the loan|
|Renovation||~$44,000 (for a 4-room flat)||Cash or renovation loan||Costs depend on your desired renovation works|
Total cost: ~$496,000
Do keep in mind that these are just estimated costs; the actual costs vary, depending on the actual cost of your flat, loan type and LTV limit, extent of the renovation, amount of available CPF OA monies, as well as any possible changes to HDB policies in the future..
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