HDB Flats in Singapore: BTO Eligibility Check, Resale Criteria and the Available Schemes (2022)

HDB Flats in Singapore: BTO Eligibility Check, Resale Criteria and the Available Schemes (2022)
HDB Flats in Singapore: BTO Eligibility Check, Resale Criteria and the Available Schemes (2022)

HDB BTO eligibility and resale HDB flat criteria are things that pop up when the topic of housing and homeownership comes up in Singapore. When it comes to housing, most of us will immediately think of HDB flats – the ubiquitous public housing blocks that 3.04 million Singapore residents (or almost eight in 10 residents) live in.

And to qualify for these HDB flats, individuals must meet eligibility criteria requirements and other regulations set by the Singapore government, which are in place to ensure that these flats go to those who need them most.

HDB flats come in a variety of configurations to cater to the needs and requirements of citizens. These range from 2-room Flexi units popular among the elderly and for those applying the HDB Single Singapore Citizen Scheme, more commonly known as the “HDB Single Scheme”, to larger 5-room units and executive apartments. Then, there are also 3-Gen units and jumbo flats, which cater to multi-generational families who live together.

Read on to learn more about HDB BTO eligibility and resale flat criteria.

New HDB BTO Eligibility and Resale Flat Criteria in 2022

HDB flats are, first and foremost, subsidised public housing meant for Singaporean Citizens, so not everyone is eligible to buy one. There are multiple eligibility criteria that need to be met beforehand.

HDB BTO Eligibility Check: General Eligibility Criteria

Eligible applicant/ Family nucleus You qualify for at least one of the following schemes: Public Scheme, Fiancé/Fiancée Scheme, Orphans Scheme
Citizenship At least 1 of the applicants for the flat must be a Singapore Citizen, and at least 1 other is a Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident (PR)
Age At least 21 years old (widowed or orphaned) or 35 (unmarried or divorced) 
Income ceiling You are within the income ceiling of the flat you want to purchase
Property ownership
  • You don’t own any other property locally or overseas and haven’t disposed of any within the last 30 months.
  • 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 1 of those properties and only received 1 CPF Housing Grant before

If you are still feeling unsure, visit HDB’s website for the ultimate BTO eligibility check.

But if you’re buying a resale flat, there is no limitation on property ownership, and previously owned properties have to be sold/disposed of within 6 months of your purchase. For resale flats, there is also no income ceiling you have to abide by.

If you’re thinking of how to own an HDB flat and condo apartment at the same time, here’s how to do it.

To apply for an HDB flat, you’ll first need to check whether you fall under one of the three BTO eligibility schemes.

HDB Public Scheme

To qualify for this 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)

HDB Fiancé/Fiancée Scheme

Under this 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.

HDB Orphans Scheme

For this scheme, the HDB 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 Permanent Resident, or you’re not planning to get married for a good while yet. There are a few other schemes that you might be eligible for, however, the choice of flats you’re limited to will be 2-room Flexi flats.

HDB Single Scheme (Single Singapore Citizen Scheme)

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)

HDB Non-Citizen Spouse Scheme

This 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 a Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident, 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 the Non-Citizen Spouse Scheme.

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 scheme, you and up to 3 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

First-timer Versus Second-timer HDB Applicants

If you’re a first-time applicant, it means you’ve never received any form of housing subsidy or a similar benefit.

If your spouse is a second-timer, but you’re a first-timer, you’ll 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, DBSS units, and ECs, respectively.

Privileges for First-Timer Applicants

HDB BTO flat
  • More HDB BTO flats are set aside for you
  • Priority Schemes available
  • More chances in the ballot
  • (depending which scheme you apply under)

  • Additional ballot chances for unsuccessful attempts (non-mature estate for BTO application)
  • May be eligible for Deferred Income Assessment and Staggered Downpayment Scheme
  • During the initial launch period of 1 month, 95% of the flats will be set aside for first-timer families
  • During the initial launch period of 1 month, 70% of the flats will be set aside for first-timer families

Privileges for Second-Timer Applicants

HDB BTO flat
  • Short-lease 2-room Flexi flats which are more affordable
  • You may take up an HDB concessionary housing loan
  • May be eligible for grants and disbursements
  • Priority allocation

Income Ceiling for HDB BTO Eligibility

This is one of the most important criteria to be eligible for an HDB flat in Singapore. You’ll be pleased to know that if you wish to purchase a resale flat, there is no income ceiling cap you have to adhere to. However, to qualify for CPF Housing Grants and HDB housing loans, you cannot earn more than a certain amount.

Regarding the HDB BTO eligibility, 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.

4-room flat or larger
  • $14,000
  • $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)

Income Ceiling for Extended or Multi-Generation Families

If you’re applying for a flat with your extended family, say a 3Gen, the income ceilings are calculated slightly differently. It’s based on the combined income of 2 groups within your family.

Household type Income of Group A Income of Group B
Parents with single children Parents and 1 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)

An example calculation would look something like this:

You, your spouse, and your 3 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 1 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

Total: $13,000

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

Total: $7,000

  • Group A: $13,000
  • Group B: $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

What Are the HDB Loan Eligibility Criteria?

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. Should you be planning on taking a loan but are puzzled by the difficult bank jargon, approach one of our mortgage experts for help. They’ll provide you with their expert opinion and make the process smoother, all for free!

If you’re planning on taking out an HDB loan, you’ll first need to get an HDB Loan Eligibility (HLE) letter. The HDB loan eligibility requirements are as follows:

Citizenship At least 1 buyer is a Singapore Citizen
Household status
  • Have not previously taken 2 or more housing loans from HDB
  • Have taken 1 housing loan from HDB and the last owned property is not a private residential property (local or overseas) such as:
    • HUDC flat
    • Property acquired by gift
    • Property inherited as a beneficiary under a will or as a result of the Intestate Succession Act
    • Property owned/ acquired/ disposed of through nominees
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
  • You don’t own any other property locally or overseas and haven’t disposed of any within the last 30 months before applying for your HDB Loan Eligibility letter
  • You don’t own more than 1 market/hawker stall or commercial/industrial property
    • If you do own one of these, you must be operating your business there and have no other sources of income

Thereafter, you can check your HLE application status via HDB. How much you can get in the HDB loan will also depend on the flat’s remaining lease.

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

≥ 95 years Allowed, but subject to:

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

Loan tenure is the shortest of:

  • 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 Allowed, but subject to:

  • LTV limit of 80%* is pro-rated based on the extent that the remaining lease can cover the youngest buyer to the age of 95

Loan tenure is the shortest of:

  • 25 years;
  • 65 years minus the average age of the buyers; or
  • Remaining lease at the point of flat application minus 20 years
*For flat applications submitted on or after 30 September 2022.

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

Bank Loans in Singapore

It’s easier to be eligible for a bank loan than an HDB loan. The method of assessment for BTO eligibility 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% downpayment, where at least 5% must be in cash. The rest (20%) of the downpayment can be paid with CPF OA Savings.

Are PRs Allowed to Buy HDB Flats?

If you’re a PR looking to buy an HDB flat, you can only buy resale ones, as you do not meet the BTO eligibility requirements on your own.

This means you can purchase an HDB resale flat only under the Public Scheme or the Fiancé/Fiancée Scheme. You can’t apply for the flat on your own and will need to have a family nucleus for the HDB application.

You’ll also need to meet these 4 main requirements:

  • You must be at least 21 years of age
  • You must have been a Permanent Resident for a minimum of 3 years.
  • Upon purchasing the resale flat, you cannot sell the unit or lease it out entirely within the 5-year 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 6 months of purchasing the HDB resale flat
    • However, once the 5-year MOP has been fulfilled, you can acquire private property without having to sell the flat.

For more property news, content and resources, check out PropertyGuru’s guides section

Looking for a new home? Head to PropertyGuru to browse the top properties for sale in Singapore

Need help financing your latest property purchase? Let the mortgage experts at PropertyGuru Finance help you find the best deals.  

Compare listings