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BTO Housing

Can I Apply For A BTO Flat If I Already Own These Properties? (Deep Dive)

Although Build-To-Order (BTO) flats are commonly touted as the first home for every Singaporean, you may find yourself applying for a BTO flat as your second or even third home. Unfortunately for homeowners, the conditions to apply for a BTO differs widely, depending on the type of property that you currently own.

Fret not, this article will give you the good-to-knows before you apply for a BTO while holding on to another property. Let’s go!

General Pointers

Before delving into the various property combinations, these are the general criteria you need to adhere to before buying a BTO flat:

  • You can make a maximum of 2 successful applications for BTO projects (senior citizens who downgrade to a short lease 2-room flexi flat get an additional chance).
  • There is an additional option for senior citizens to purchase 2-room flexi units and community care apartments at a reduced lease.
  • An age limit of at least 21 years for couples and at least 35 years for singles.

Are you interested to apply for an HDB flat as a single person? You may find this article useful.

Furthermore, if you have previously bought subsidised housing from HDB, there are additional pointers to take note too. Subsidised housing is defined by HDB as:

  • A flat bought from HDB (i.e. BTO flats)
  • A resale flat bought with a CPF housing grant
  • A Design Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) flat 
  • An Executive Condominium (EC) unit
  • Other forms of housing subsidy (I.e. SERS, HUDC, etc)

This information will be useful for you if you are applying for your second HDB flat:

Minimum Occupation Period

You will need to stay in your home throughout the Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) before you can apply for a second flat. For BTO and resale flats, the MOP is usually 5 years. A notable exception is Prime Location Housing (PLH) flats, where the MOP is 10 years. 

PLH flats are located in areas near the city centre and have a longer MOP to discourage homeowners from selling their units for profit.

Resale Levy

Furthermore, you will need to pay a resale levy when buying your second BTO flat. Here is what you need to know:

1. Payment method

Period at which first BTO was soldResale Levy Payment
After key collection to second BTO– Resale levy deducted from the net proceeds from the sale of first BTO- Any shortfall to be paid in cash
Before key collection to second BTOResale levy paid in cash upon key collection to second BTO

2. Levy amount

First BTO Housing TypeResale Levy Amount
FamiliesSingles
2-room / 2-room flexi flat$15,000$7,500
3-room flat$30,000$15,000
4-room flat$40,000$20,000
5-room flat$45,000$22,500
Executive flat$50,000$25,000
Executive condominium$55,000Not Applicable

Can you apply for a BTO flat if you already own a BTO?

If you are married and own a BTO flat as your first home, you can apply for another BTO flat as a second-timer. However, you must sell your resale flat within 6 months of completing the flat purchase.

Second-timer homeowners are defined as homeowners who have previously enjoyed a housing subsidy.

Source: HDB

As a new homeowner, you may be interested in the options available to own another BTO flat. The good news is you can apply for BTO projects and wait for the completion of your new home while staying at your current address. Once you have collected the keys to your new home, you will need to sell your flat within 6 months of your key collection date

However, a key disadvantage of being a second-timer is the limited amount of BTO units available. As BTO flats are prioritised for first-timer (read: new) homeowners, a smaller portion of flats is allocated to second-timers.

Non-Mature 2-Room Flexi (BTO)Non-Mature 2-Room Flexi (SBF)Non-Mature 3-RoomNon-Mature 4- and 5- RoomMature Estates
First-Timer Families20%90%70%85%95%
First-Timer Singles50%5%
Second-Timer Families30%5%30%15%5%

From the current allocation rates for new HDB units, the majority of flats are reserved to first-timer families, with only 30% or less of the share going to second-timer families. We can also see that the highest allocation rate for second-timers can be found in 2-room flexi and 3-room flats in non-mature estates.

The allocation rate for each flat type will affect your chances of successfully applying for it. Read on to see how it does!

Due to the limited supply available, you may expect increased difficulty in getting a queue number as a second-timer family.

To illustrate the difference, here is a look at the application rates for the BTO projects launched in November 2022:

Non-Mature Towns/ Estates

ProjectFlat TypeNo. of UnitsNo. of ApplicantsApplication Rate
First-timersSecond-timersOverall
Bukit Batok (West Glades)3-room841710.99.02.0
4-room2075111.816.52.5
5-room1685972.229.83.6
Tengah (Garden Waterfront I and II)3-room893261.516.23.7
4-room74019331.916.22.6
5-room67028492.635.24.3
Yishun (Vanda Breeze)3-room913832.117.04.2
Yishun (Vanda Breeze/ Miltonia Breeze/ Aranda Breeze)4-room91714221.110.51.6
5-room79514101.016.61.8

Mature Towns / Estates

ProjectFlat TypeNo. of UnitsNo. of ApplicantsApplication Rate
First-timersSecond-timersOverall
Kallang Whampoa (Kallang Horizon)3-room725503.2111.37.6
4-room40545617.192.311.3
Queenstown (Ghim Moh Natura/ Queensway Canopy/ Ulu Pandan Banks)3-room5875570.313.20.9
4-room244356521418.82.3
Total (Non-mature and mature estates)7268209221.822.62.9

When looking at data for 3-room flats and above in non-mature estates, it is generally about 10 times harder for second-timers to ballot for a BTO flat. The difference becomes greater and more unpredictable in mature estates, where it goes up to 44 times!

Interested in maximising your chances of scoring a BTO flat a second time? Consider applying for 3- or 4-room projects in non-mature estates, where application rates are lower.

If the size of your home is not a major factor, you may want to consider applying for 2-room flexi flats instead.

Non-Mature Towns/ Estates

ProjectNo. of UnitsNo. of ApplicantsApplication RateFirst-timersSecond-timersOverall
Bukit Batok (West Glades)3315591.00.20.41.7
Tengah (Garden Waterfront I)57810721.20.10.51.9
Yishun (Vanda Breeze/ Miltonia Breeze/ Aranda Breeze)119112380.70.10.11.0
Total*214232571.30.10.21.5

* Data from Ghim Moh Natura is not shown as it does not contain second-timer applicants.

From projects launched in the same period (Nov 2022), we can see that application rates for 2-room flexi flats are much lower than their larger counterparts. This is good news if you need a home to stay in urgently.

You are almost guaranteed a ballot with an application to any estate.

Regardless of your final choice, owning a home remains a long-term commitment. Before applying for a new BTO, you may want to consider if various factors such as location and flat size suit your needs.

Can you apply for a BTO flat if you already own a resale HDB?

If you currently own an HDB resale flat, you can apply for a BTO project. However, you must sell your resale flat within 6 months of completing the flat purchase.

You may have bought a resale flat given factors such as long waiting times for BTO projects, but are still interested in purchasing a BTO flat as your next home. Similar to the case of a homeowner owning a BTO unit, you can apply for BTO projects and wait for your new home to be completed while continuing to stay in your current home.

With the completion of your new flat, you will then have 6 months from the date of your key collection to sell your previous resale unit. This arrangement gives flexibility and peace of mind to homeowners, as they have time to make arrangements to dispose of their previous property after moving out.

In contrast, there is a cool-off period between disposing of and applying for a BTO flat if you are holding on to a private property. Read on to find out more!

Can you apply for a BTO flat if you already own a condo?

If you currently own a private property such as a condominium unit, you will have to sell your property first and wait for at least 30 months before you apply for a BTO flat.

You are interested in applying for a BTO flat but have a private property listed under your name. Private properties by HDB’s definition, include but are not limited to:

  • Houses (ie condominiums, landed properties)
  • Buildings
  • Land
  • Executive Condominium (EC) units
  • Privatised HUDC flats

A BTO flat is subsidised heavily by the government. To prevent them from being misused as an investment tool, there are restrictions on private homeowners on the sale of these flats. Therefore, there is a cooling-off period of at least 30 months after selling your private property  before you can apply for a BTO flat.

After factoring in the application period and construction time, the waiting time before homeowners can get the keys to their flat is much longer.

During this 30-month period, you cannot apply for the Enhanced CPF Grant or any HDB loan.

If you are interested in applying for any of these schemes, you will need to factor in additional delay time caused by this restriction.

Not many people can stomach such a long wait before getting a new home. If you need to get a new home urgently, you may want to consider buying a resale flat instead. Under HDB’s revised policies in 2022, you will need to wait 15 months after selling your private property before you can apply for a BTO flat.

This restriction does not apply to senior citizens aged at least 55 years who are moving to a 4-room or smaller resale flat.

Conclusion

When applying for a BTO flat while owning another property, you may encounter different policies, depending on the type of property you currently own.

If you own a BTO unit, you may apply for a new BTO unit as a second-timer. However, you may want to note that the chances of a successful application are much lower than compared to first-timers. Upon collecting the keys to your new home, you need to dispose of your previous BTO flat within 6 months.

If you own a resale unit, you may apply for a new BTO unit as a first or second-timer. Similarly,  you need to dispose of your resale flat within 6 months of collecting the keys to your new home.

Lastly, if you own a private property such as a condominium unit, you will need to dispose of your property for at least 30 months beforehand before you can apply for a new BTO unit. To reduce the waiting time, you may consider downgrading to a resale flat instead, where you will need to wait 15 months or even less (if you are aged at least 55 years old) before flat application.

Below is a table illustrating a summary of the key differences:

BTO HDB FlatResale HDB FlatPrivate Property
Can families apply?Yes
Can singles apply?NoYes as a first-timer
Purchase restrictionsSell your previous unit within 6 months after key collectionSell your property at least 30 months before flat application

I hope that this article gave you a greater understanding of whether you can buy a BTO flat while holding another property. Do check out this page for more guides on HDB-related topics!


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Housing

Can An HDB Flat Be Owned By JUST One Person? (Ultimate Deep Dive)

Living alone in Singapore is becoming an increasingly common trend, regardless of age. When looking at young adults, a polled survey by the National Population and Talent Division showed that half of the singles surveyed were not dating. As these adults choose to move out and live away from their families, we see more elderly living by themselves. This can be seen from national data, where the proportion of elderly living alone rose by 2% between 2010 and 2020.

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Source: Singstat

As a Singaporean interested in purchasing a home by yourself, you may be interested in the kinds of schemes offered by the Housing Development Board (HDB) for you. Read on to find out more!

Can an HDB flat be owned by one person?

Although the idea of buying HDB flats is usually associated with families, it is possible to own an HDB flat under a single name. Under HDB’s current policies, here are the possible ways to do so:

Young Singles

If you are single, you can only purchase a flat if you are 35 years old or above.

The only exception here is if you are widowed or an orphan. In this scenario, you can purchase any resale flat if you are 21 years old or above.

After reaching the magic age of 35, there are 2 options for you to buy an HDB by yourself: A new Build To Order (BTO) flat or a second-hand flat in the resale market.

Build To Order Flats

If you want to buy a subsidised home and do not mind waiting for it to be completed, you may consider buying a new BTO flat. Unfortunately, singles are restricted to purchasing 2-room Flexi Flats in non-mature estates.

This is to allow enough supply for the larger 3-5 room HDB flats to others who need the additional space (Read: Couples who intend to start a family soon).

However, with a living space of up to 46 sqm, a 2-room flat provides enough living space for one to call his or her home. Equipped with a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and living room, it has all the basic features any home in Singapore has.

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Source: HDB

Imagine unwinding in that spacious living room all by yourself after a long day at work.

In addition to the subsided price of a BTO, you may also be eligible for the Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (Singles) if your average monthly income is less than $4,500. Here is how much you can get in grants:

Average Monthly IncomeGrant amount
Not more than $750$40,000
$751 to $1,000$37,500
$1001 to $1,250$35,000
$1,251 to $1,500$32,500
$1,501 to $1,750$30,000
$1,751 to $2,000$27,500
$2,001 to $2,250$25,000
$2,251 to $2,500$22,500
$2,501 to $2,750$20,000
$2,751 to $3,000$17,500
$3,001 to $3,250$15,000
$3,251 to $3,500$12,500
$3,501 to $3,750$10,000
$3,751 to $4,000$7,500
$4,001 to $4,250$5,000
$4,251 to $4,500$2,500

Lastly, you may want to note that the flexi flat also comes with a 99-year lease, similar to other BTO flats. 

Flexi flats with shorter lease periods are also offered to senior citizens. Check out the details below!

Resale Flats

Considering a bigger space to call your home, or cannot take the long wait for BTO projects to be completed? You may want to consider buying a resale flat instead.

The main drawback of purchasing a resale flat as a single is its high price. Even though HDB flats are subsidised by the government, the price of resale flats is governed by market forces, making them much more expensive than BTO flats.

To mitigate these high prices and increase affordability, the government has introduced more CPF housing grants for singles to purchase resale flats. Other than the Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (Singles) (described above), singles may also be eligible for the following grants:

Grant NameGrant Amount
CPF Housing Grant (Singles)– $25,000 (2- to 4- room flat)
– $20,000 (5-room flat)
Proximity Housing Grant (Singles)– $15,000 (Living with parents/child)
– $10,000 (Living within 4km of parents/ child)

Compared to their BTO counterparts, there are fewer restrictions imposed on the sale of resale flats. Here is a comparison of the main points:

BTO FlatsResale Flats
Type of flat2-room Flexi onlyAll flat types, excluding 3Gen flats
LocationNon-mature estatesAny location
Monthly household income ceiling$7,000No income ceiling
Ownership/ interest in property in Singapore or overseas– Must not own or have any interest in any local or overseas private property, and
– Not sold any private property 30 months before the flat application
– Must not own or have any interest in any local or overseas private property, and
– Not sold any private property 15 months before the flat application
* These conditions do not apply to senior citizens aged 55 and above who are moving from a private property to a 4-room or smaller resale flat.
Additional amount payable$15,000

Senior Citizens

Other than the methods listed above, senior citizens aged 55 or above who are single can also purchase a BTO HDB flat under the following schemes:

Short-lease Flexi Flats

A new HDB flat is usually bought with a 99-year lease from the government. This form of contract means we are essentially paying for a ‘rental’ of 99 years. However, such a long ‘rental period’ may not be suitable for senior citizens, who end up paying more versus the length of the lease they need.

An HDB unit is returned to the government when the owner passes on. Therefore, a shorter lease which covers their living years is more cost-effective for senior citizens.

In response, the government came out with the idea of short-lease Flexi Flats in 2015. These 2-room flats have shorter leases of 15 – 45 years (in 5-year increments), which aim to last the buyer until he or she is at least 95 years old. Using an illustration from MND, you can save almost 70% by purchasing a flat with a 15-year lease instead of a 99-year one!

99-year Lease40-year Lease15-year Lease
Cost price$110,000$62,800$36,700
Savings (compared to 99-year lease)43 %67 %
Source: MND

These short-lease flexi flats are available for senior citizens aged 55 and above. Similar to regular 99-lease flexi flats, singles can enjoy the Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (Singles) (described above) if they meet the eligibility requirements.

Community Care Apartments

If you are a senior citizen aged 65 or above, another way that allows you to purchase an HDB alone is by buying a Community Care Apartment.

Recognising the living and social needs of ageing Singaporeans, the government introduced the Community Care Apartment scheme under a multi-ministerial initiative. Besides providing a roof over their heads, these apartments also come with dedicated care services by trained caregivers and social spaces for the elderly to mingle. Some of these care services include basic health checks and a 24-hour emergency response system.

You may want to note that the care services provided are subject to additional fees.

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Source: MND

As an elderly living alone, you will also be delighted to know that your Community Care Apartment comes with a suite of elderly-friendly features, such as grab bars, slip-resistant flooring and even panic buttons to alert your caregiver during emergencies!

Similar to short-lease flexi flats, affordability is a crucial feature of Community Care Apartments. For example, these flats are adequately sized, having a combined living/dining room/kitchen, a bedroom and a bathroom, which help reduce costs.

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Source: HDB

Furthermore, these flats also come with short leases of 15 – 35 years (in 5-year increments) that aim to last the buyer until he or she is at least 95 years old. By not paying for a full 99-year lease, you will need to pay less for your new home.

Undecided on which type of flat to choose? Here is a comparison of the main points between short-lease flexi flats and Community Care Apartments:

Short-lease Flexi FlatCommunity Care Apartment
Age55 years or above65 years or above
Facilities availableNoneIn-house elderly-friendly features and dedicated care services
Monthly household income ceiling$14,000$14,000
Remaining lease of flatLease must last buyer until at least age 95Lease must last buyer until at least age 95
Ownership/ interest in property in Singapore or overseasAny owned private property must be sold within 6 months upon completion of the flat purchaseAny owned private property must be sold within 6 months upon completion of the flat purchase
Additional amount payable$30,000 (to be pro-rated according to the lease chosen)$30,000 (to be pro-rated according to the lease chosen)
CPF Grants availableEnhanced CPF Housing Grant (Singles)Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (Singles)
Selling/ RentingCannot be sold or rent out in the open marketCannot be sold or rent out in the open market

Conclusion

Although HDB flats are mainly targeted at couples and families for settling down, there are many ways to own a flat under a single name. This is great news for singles who want to move out of their family home and buy their own flat. Unfortunately, you will need to be 35 years old or above to do so, which applies to both BTO and resale flats. Furthermore, singles are restricted to 2-room flexi flats in non-mature estates for BTO flats.

If you are a senior citizen wanting to own a flat under your name, you will also be delighted to know that current schemes such as short-lease flexi flats and Community Care Apartments also cater to singles.

I hope that this article gave you a greater understanding of how you can own an HDB flat under a single name. Do check out this page for more guides on HDB-related topics!


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BTO Housing

Did Your BTO Queue Number Exceed? (What To Do Next)

Last updated on January 26th, 2023

Getting a BTO can be really tough, especially if the application rate for that particular flat is really high!

For my first application, I received the sad news that my queue number was higher than the number of available flats.

BTO Queue Number Exceed

Here’s what will happen next if you have exceeded your queue number:

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Housing

Why Is My HLE Amount So Low? (And How To Increase It)

Why Is My HLE So Low

Last updated on March 1st, 2022

If you want to take a HDB loan, you will receive a Home Loan Eligibility (HLE) letter which tells you the amount that you can borrow.

However, you may receive a huge shock when this amount is much lower than you expected!

Why is this so, and how can you increase your HLE amount?

Here’s what you need to know.

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Housing Resale

How Much Cash Do You Need For Your Resale Flat?

Resale Flat Cash Upfront

Last updated on July 20th, 2022

If you’re considering to buy a resale flat instead of a BTO, the costs that you need to pay will be slightly different.

The amount that you’ll need to pay in cash may be higher for a resale flat!

So how much should you be saving up for if you want to buy a resale flat?

Here’s what you need to know.

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Housing

Deferred Income Assessment Explained Simply

Deferred Income Assessment Explained

Last updated on July 20th, 2022

You’ve decided to apply for a BTO with your partner when both of you have not started work yet.

You may think that it’s a smart move since you both don’t earn any income. So this means that you’ll receive the highest amount of CPF Housing Grants, right?

However to qualify for the Housing Grant, either one of you needs to be working for the past 12 months!

So how can you qualify for the housing grant?

This is where the Deferred Income Assessment comes to play:

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BTO Housing

3 Steps To Calculate The Income Ceiling For Your HDB Flat

How To Calculate Income Ceiling For HDB Flat

Last updated on July 20th, 2022

You may be considering applying for an HDB flat, but one of the eligibility criteria is the income ceiling.

This income ceiling, or average gross monthly household income, is also applicable when you are applying for your CPF Housing Grants.

The way that HDB calculates the formula may be different from what you think!

Here’s what you need to know to determine your household’s income ceiling:

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