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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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