LGBTQ Housing in Singapore: 5 Options for Gay Families (2023)

LGBTQ Housing in Singapore: 5 Options for Gay Families (2023)
LGBTQ Housing in Singapore: 5 Options for Gay Families (2023)

LGBTQ couples buying houses in Singapore is a more challenging process than straight, young married couples – preferably with children – buying BTO or HDB resale flats. But there are still LGBTQ housing options in Singapore.

If you’re a gay couple in Singapore looking to buy a house, read on for the five options available to you, and restrictions you need to be aware of.

LGBTQ Housing in Singapore: An Overview

Options for LGBTQ housing in Singapore Minimum age requirement for single applicants
BTO 2-room Flexi flats in non-mature estates 35 years old
Resale HDB flats 35 years old
Newly launched Executive Condominiums (ECs) 35 years old
Resale ECs 21 years old
35 years old if applying under the Joint Singles Scheme (JSS)
Private Properties 21 years old
Source: HDB

On top of age requirements, there are other eligibility criteria you must fulfil in order to buy the above housing options for ‘single’ applicants. These include your citizenship, income ceiling, and prior HDB flat/private property ownership.

Read on to find out which LGBTQ housing option in Singapore you’re eligible to buy, and the CPF Housing Grants available you can get.

1. BTO 2-room Flexi Flats in Non-mature Estates

Citizenship All applicants must be Singaporeans
Household income ceiling $7,000 for BTO 2-room Flexi flats with 99-year leasehold
Property ownership history Must not have had interest in or owned any type of private property, otherwise
Must have disposed of private property at least 30 months before the HDB Flat Eligibility (HFE) letter application
Source: HDB

‘BTO aimai?’ is not just reserved for cheesy, young straight couples in Singapore. If you’re LGBTQ and at least 35 years old, you can ask your partner that too!

Since gay marriage is not legal in Singapore, either partner can buy a BTO flat under the Single Singapore Citizen Scheme (SSCS), or you can both buy the same BTO flat under the JSS, which allows up to three singles to own a BTO flat together.

Even if you meet all the requirements, singles can only apply for BTO 2-room Flexi flats in non-mature estates such (e.g. Punggol and Sembawang). That said, BTO 2-room Flexi flats are very popular among single applicants and there is an income ceiling you have to abide by. Prices can start from just $100,000, excluding CPF Housing Grants.

Of course, there’s no guarantee that you’ll snag a BTO 2-room Flexi flat the first time you try. Even after you successfully ballot for one, you and your partner will still have to wait about 3.5 years for it to be built.

Note: Effective 9 May 2023, all HDB flat buyers must apply for the HDB Flat Eligibility (HFE) letter when buying any HDB flat. This letter will help you access your HDB flat eligibility, CPF Housing Grant eligibility amount, and HDB loan eligibility and amount.

While the standard processing time is up to 21 working days, the HDB Flat Portal may take longer to issue you your HFE letter during peak periods (e.g. during BTO launch weeks), so do try to apply for one ahead of time if you can.

2. HDB Resale Flats

Citizenship At least one applicant must be Singaporean
Household income ceiling No income ceiling, unless you’re applying for a CPF Housing Grant
Property ownership history Must not have had interest in or owned any type of private property, otherwise
Must have disposed of private property at least 30 months before the HFE letter application (if you are applying for CPF Housing Grants and/or taking an HDB loan), or
At least 15 months before the HFE letter application (if you are buying a non-subsidised HDB resale flat)

For LGBTQ couples over 35 years old and who exceed the income ceiling for BTO 2-room Flexi flats, HDB resale flats may be a good option if at least one of you is a Singaporean. There are fewer restrictions for LGBTQ couples buying HDB resale flats compared to BTO 2-room Flexi flats, including the types of HDB resale flats you can buy – all the way up to 5-room HDB resale flats!

Good news: the CPF Housing Grant for Resale Flats (Singles) was recently increased as part of the Budget 2023 statement. Effective April 2023, singles can receive up to $40,000 and $25,000 for 4-room and 5-room HDB resale flats, respectively.

However, LGBTQ individuals and couples must not exceed the following income ceiling criteria to quality for CPF Housing Grants for Resale Flats (Singles):

  • $7,000 for sole buyers
  • $14,000 for joint applicants

Browse all HDB resale flat listings on PropertyGuru now.

3. Newly Launched ECs

Citizenship At least one applicant must be Singaporean
Household monthly income ceiling $16,000
Property ownership history Must not have had interest in or owned any type of private property, otherwise
Must have disposed of private property at least 30 months before the HFE letter application
Source: HDB

ECs are a public-private housing hybrid popular among young Singaporean couples who want the look and feel of a private condo, at a more wallet-friendly price. However, LGBTQ couples can only buy ECs under the JSS, either with another ‘single’ or in a group of up to four single citizens above 35 years old, and are not eligible for any CPF Housing Grants.

ECs also start from about $800,000 for 2-bedroom units, and cannot be financed using HDB loans. Financing your EC through a bank loan means your Loan-to-Value (LTV) limit is 75%; you’ll need to make a 25% down payment on your property purchase price, of which 20% can be paid through your CPF Ordinary Account (OA), and 5% must be paid via cash.

Bear in mind that ECs launches are quite infrequent, and after buying a new launch unit, you’ll need to wait for another two to three years before you can move in. For those who intend to live in an EC, here’s everything you need to know about buying an EC in Singapore.

4. Resale ECs

Citizenship At least one applicant must be Singaporean
Income ceiling No income ceiling
Property ownership history Must not have had interest in or owned any type of private property, otherwise
Must have disposed of private property at least 30 months before the HFE letter application

If you don’t want to wait until you’re 35 years old to buy a house with your partner, and can afford a more expensive property like a resale EC or private property, we say go for it!

ECs can be sold on the open market after the owner has occupied them for five years. After five years, an EC is considered semi-privatised and can be sold to Singaporeans and Singapore Permanent Residents (SPRs) above 21 years old – no need to meet any other requirements or apply under a scheme! Also, after the 10-year mark, ECs become fully privatised and can be sold to foreigners.

The downside is that there aren’t many ECs on the market, as compared to resale condos, and they are mostly in non-central locations. However, there are executive condos near MRT stations (e.g. Prive and Eastvale that are within 500m of Punggol and Pasir Ris MRT stations, respectively).

Browse all resale EC listings on PropertyGuru now.

5. Private Properties

Unlike HDB flats, private properties have zero eligibility criteria – the exception being landed houses, which foreigners cannot buy.

Similar to ECs, private properties are more expensive than HDB flats and can only be financed via bank loans. This means you’ll need to make a 25% down payment on the purchase price of your home and consider which loan package is best for your needs.

Need help to choose the best mortgage for your needs? Reach out to one of our friendly PropertyGuru Finance Mortgage experts today to navigate the latest packages across all major banks in Singapore, all for no cost at all!

Browse all condo listings on PropertyGuru now.

LGBTQ Housing in Singapore: Conclusion

It is irrefutable that LGBTQ housing in Singapore is an issue that needs more attention paid. Pink Dot, Singapore’s hallmark queer movement, most recently announced the theme for this year’s gathering at Hong Lim Park that will happen on 24 June 2023: celebrate all families. In the context of buying property in Singapore, the main issue is access to affordable public housing.

Gay marriage in Singapore is still not legal, so gay couples – and anyone who doesn’t fit the ‘traditional’ family mould – can only apply as ‘single’ applicants for HDB flats. Furthermore, singles are not able to buy HDB flats launched under the Prime Location Public Housing (PLH) model.

After decades of activism and grief, the government finally repealed Section 377A in November 2022. We certainly hope to see more positive change for the LGBTQ community in Singapore announced sooner rather than later. In the meantime, whether you choose a BTO 2-room Flexi flat or private property, we wish you good luck with your search for a home and hope this article has been helpful!

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