With the majority of HDB housing tailored towards couples, it can feel like single pringles are getting the shorter end of the stick sometimes. But flying – and settling down – solo is becoming extra possible these days with more doors literally opening for singles over 35.
Applying for 2-room BTO flexis in non-mature estates or HDB resale flats aside, you might be threading your way through other questions like eligibility, grants and whether or not you have to wait till your 40th birthday to move into your new home.
Here’s a quick guide for singletons praying for a private space so you can climb that #adulting ladder without waiting for a significant other to haul you up.
1. Am I eligible for a BTO or resale flat?
For those looking to apply for a BTO, you and potential single housemates need to be born and bred Singapore Citizens and at least 35 years old. This should be your first application for a flat and your average monthly income must be below $7,000.
If you break the income barrier, though, rest assured. While the age and citizenship criteria from above still apply here, you’ll still be able to buy a resale flat as long as you meet the Ethnic Integration Policy (EIP) and Singapore Permanent Resident (SPR) quota for your chosen block.
2. What grants can I enjoy?
Housing grants are the government-equivalent of Shopee vouchers: we constantly keep our eyes peeled for discounts to shave off some bucks. However, they come with some T&Cs. Here are the respective grants you can enjoy:
Image credit: HDB
Singles Grant (Resale only)
A grant exclusively for singletons, the Singles Grant lifts a whopping $25,000 off your 2-room to 4-room flat price or $20,000 from your 5-room flat-price. While this can do wonders to help you shave down your housing loan, the grant is applicable only to resale flats.
Your income shouldn’t exceed $7,000 monthly when you’re applying under the Single Singapore Citizen Scheme, but there is greater elbow room for those looking to live with family members. As long as you and your fellow occupants earn a max average salary of $14,000 combined, you can apply under the Public Scheme or Non-Citizen Family Scheme.
Enhanced Housing Grant (both 2-room Flexi and Resale)
Under the 2-room BTO flexi housing type, you can only use the Enhanced Housing Grant (EHG) to make housing costs more affordable. But this amount differs depending on which scheme you apply under.
Slotting your name in the Single Singapore Citizen Scheme offers you anywhere from $2,500 to $40,000 in grants, as long as your income stays within the safe range of $4,500 monthly.
On the other hand, registering under the Joint Singles Scheme with up to three other single kakis doubles those grant amounts. You’ll receive between $5,000 and $80,000 of grants considering your average monthly income doesn’t exceed $9,000. And before you fight over who gets what, the grant amount is credited evenly to the CPF accounts of two people max.
Here’s a quick glimpse of grants you’ll receive according to your income threshold:
Single Singapore Citizen Scheme. Note that these amounts apply for resale flat applicants as well.
Image adapted from: HDB
Joint Singles Scheme
Image adapted from: HDB
On a side note: make sure you’ve been working continuously for at least a year before applying for your 2-room Flexi or resale flat according to HDB’s requirements.
Proximity Housing Grant (only resale)
After living with your parents for decades, moving out could take time to get accustomed to. Thankfully, if staying a stone’s throw away from your family is part of your game plan, you’ll be able to utilise the government’s Proximity Housing Grant (PHG) to slash a good $15,000 off the total amount payable.
There’s one caveat, though: your new home should fall within the 4KM radius to your parents’ home.
Check if your dream home is near enough to Mum with HDB’s distance enquiry tool.
3. Which option is more affordable for me?
Price often determines whether or not some homes secure a spot on one’s potential property shortlist. A quick trawl online can prove to be quite daunting with prices of 3-room flats starting at around $280,000 at bare minimum.
Tinier budgets will find their perfect match in 2-room Flexi BTOs in non-mature estates, which typically go for around $90,000 and up.
And depending on whether you’re gunning for small interiors or slightly more stretchroom, you can also opt for either Type 1 or Type 2 floorplans respectively.
For example, Type 1 BTOs at NorthShore Cove came with a lower price tag of $83,000 while the slightly roomier Type 2 started from $107,000.
A 2-room Flexi that follows a Type 2 floorplan is about half the size of a typical 4-room flat
Image credit: HDB
Resale flats raise those margins by a hefty bit, although its interior remains relatively the same size. A 2-room resale flat at Punggol could cost you $260,000 – which is almost twice the price of its 2-room BTO counterpart. And let’s not forget flats hosting more than two-bedrooms, as they could easily triple or quadruple these numbers.
In terms of price, the obvious winner might seem like BTOs. For those who are thinking of reserving your extra cash for renovation, this lower selling price might be a plus point.
On the flipside, experienced folk in the workforce have probably squirrelled away more savings – meaning that a higher resale flat price might still fit into your budget. Especially if bigger room space and better accessibility to MRT stations, shopping malls and other amenities are your top priority, spending a little extra could pay off.
4. How about waiting times?
Unfortunately, applying for a 2-room Flexi BTO on your thirty-fifth birthday means having to wait an additional three to five years before moving in. Since the BTO balloting process involves several stages such as eligibility checks, shortlisting, flat construction and so forth – scoring your desired home might be comparatively tougher than resale flats.
You could also opt for Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) if they are available at the non-mature estate of your choice – these are ‘leftover’ flats that usually take a shorter time to get your hands on as they are close to completion.
But if you can’t handle more waiting to score your own place, resale is the way to go. Factoring in time taken for flat-hunting, agreeing on a mutual date and eventually moving in – waiting times are still far lesser than that of BTOs.
Owning a HDB as a single in Singapore
Although slightly more restricted in terms of home type, it’s not impossible for singles to own their very own HDB. Whether you’re craving for a compact space to call your own or wanting roomier dwellings, there’s much more leeway to kickstart your solo home adventure.