Buying a resale flat in Singapore

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For more information on BTO flats in Singapore, see Getting a BTO Flat in Singapore.


Unlike Build-To-Order flats, resale flats are older. However, resale flats are still popular among house buyers as these flats tend to be more spacious and can be purchased from the open market at any time.[1] Although resale flats are more expensive than BTOs, their prices are negotiable as long as an agreement is achieved between the buyer and seller.

Eligibility

Interested buyers can purchase a resale flat if they meet the conditions of HDB’s eligibility schemes. In general, there must be at least 1 Singapore Citizen or 2 Singapore PRs listed in the resale flat application. Buyers can check their eligibility by registering their intent to buy through the HDB website (HDB resale portal).

Overview[2]

Family Nucleus Qualify for a resale flat under one of these eligibility schemes:
  • Public Scheme
  • Fiancé/Fiancée Scheme
  • Non-Citizen Spouse Scheme
  • Non-Citizen Family Scheme
  • Orphans Scheme
  • Conversion Scheme
Age
  • 21 years old and above
Citizenship
  • At least 1 Singapore Citizen applicant
  • At least 2 Singapore PRs under the same application
Income ceiling
  • There is no income ceiling for buying an HDB resale flat.
Property Ownership
  • Any HDB flats under the ownership of the applicant must be disposed of within 6 months of the resale flat purchase.
  • Any private property (local or overseas) under the ownership of the applicant must be disposed before or within 6 months of the resale flat purchase.
Ethnic Integration Policy (EIP) and SPR quota The EIP ensures that there is a balanced mix of ethnic communities in each HDB block and neighbourhood, based on the ethnic make-up of Singapore.[3] Interested buyers can check their eligibility to purchase an HDB resale flat in a particular block or neighbourhood under the EIP and SPR quota using HDB’s e-service (HDB EIP and SPR portal).


The Singapore Permanent Resident (SPR) quota ensures that SPR families can better assimilate into the local community. The current SPR quota is 5% at the neighbourhood level and 8% at the block level. This only applies to non-Malaysian SPR households.

Public Scheme

Applicant must be a Singapore citizen or Singapore PR above the age of 21 and must include at least 1 listed occupant who is a Singapore citizen or PR. Applicant must form a family nucleus with his/her spouse and children (if any); or parents and siblings (if any); or children under legal custody.[4]

Fiancé/Fiancée Scheme

Applicant who is a Singapore citizen or PR must form a family with his/her spouse-to-be. However, the marriage has to be solemnised within 3 months of the key collection. Individuals under the age of 21 require special consent from his/her parents before application.[5]

Single Singapore Citizen Scheme

Applicant must be a Singapore citizen who is 35 years old and above if he/she is unmarried or divorced, or 21 years old and above if he/she is widowed or orphaned.[6]


For orphans, at least one of the deceased parents must have been a Singapore citizen or PR. Orphans below the age of 35 must not have another sibling below 35 years old who is buying/owning another flat under the Orphans Scheme, Single Singapore Citizen Scheme or Joint Singles Scheme.

Joint Singles Scheme

2 to 4 singles can jointly purchase an HDB resale flat. All applicants must be Singapore Citizens who are 35 years old and above if they are unmarried or divorced, or 21 years old and above if they are widowed or orphaned.[7]


For orphans, at least one of the deceased parents must have been a Singapore citizen or PR. Orphans below the age of 35 must not have another sibling below 35 years old who is buying/owning another flat under the Orphans Scheme, Single Singapore Citizen Scheme or Joint Singles Scheme.

Non-Citizen Spouse Scheme

This scheme is for Singaporean applicants whose spouse is neither a Singapore citizen nor a PR. If the applicant is 21 years old and above, the spouse must have a valid Long Term Visit Pass or Work Pass with the validity period of at least 6 months from the date of issue.[8]


If the applicant is 35 years old and above, the spouse must have a valid Visit Pass or Work Pass during the time of application. The pass need not have a validity period of 6 months from the date of issue. It should be noted that the non-citizen spouse must be listed in the application as an occupier of the property.

Non-Citizen Family Scheme  

This scheme is for Singaporean applicants with family members who are neither Singapore citizens nor PRs.[9] Applicant must be a Singapore Citizen above the age of 21 who forms a family nucleus with his/her parents and siblings (if any) or children under legal custody for widowed and divorced applicants. At least 1 parent or child must have a valid Long Term Visit Pass or Work Pass with a validity period of at least 6 months from the date of issue.

Orphans Scheme

Applicant must be a Singapore citizen above the age of 21 who intends to include at least 1 unmarried Singapore citizen or PR sibling as a co-applicant or occupant under the same application.[10] At least one of the deceased parents must have been an Singapore citizen or PR. Orphans below the age of 35 must not have another sibling below 35 years old who is buying/owning another flat under the Orphans Scheme, Single Singapore Citizen Scheme or Joint Singles Scheme.

Conversion Scheme

This scheme allows the applicant and his/her family to buy adjoining flats that are 3-room or smaller and convert them into 1 unit.[11] Applicant must be a Singapore citizen or PR above the age of 21 and must include at least 1 listed occupant who is a Singapore citizen or PR. Applicant must form a family nucleus with his/her spouse and children (in any); or parents and siblings (if any); or children under legal custody.


For applicants who wish to purchase 2 adjoining 3-room or smaller flats, the EIP and SPR quota has to be met. On the other hand, there are no EIP/SPR quota restrictions for applicants who wish to buy the 3-room or smaller flat that adjoins the currently owned 3-room or smaller flat.

Costs and fees

The resale prices differ by town and flat type. Below is a table illustrating the difference in the median prices of flat types across 3 towns in Singapore.

To see a full table that includes all the towns in Singapore, visit HDB's website. HDB provides an updated table of median resale prices for registered resale applications for each town and flat type (HDB resale statistics page).

Median resale prices registered in the 4th Quarter of 2018[12]

Flat Type Jurong East Sengkang Kallang/ Whampoa
3-room S$270,000 S$342,500 S$305,000
4-room S$390,000 S$408,000 S$563,000
5-room S$526,500 S$442,500 S$690,000
Executive NA S$544,000 NA

Besides the cost of the apartment, there are other fees that need to be paid during the purchasing process.[13] Both buyers and sellers have to pay a Resale Application Administrative Fee of S$40 for 1 and 2-room flats and S$80 for 3-room flats or bigger.

Buyers who wish to purchase the resale flat using their CPF and/or housing loan will have to pay an additional processing fee of S$120.

Individuals who are taking a house loan from HDB are required to purchase a fire insurance policy from the appointed insurer, ETIQA. More details on HDB fire insurance can be found on the ETIQA website (official website).

CPF housing grants

Under the CPF Housing Grant Scheme, applicants may be eligible to receive a housing subsidy to help with the purchase of the resale flat. First-timer applicants may be eligible to receive up to S$120,000 in grants. The breakdown for first-timer applicants is as such:

Grants Total amount in grants (SGD)
Additional Housing Grant (AHG) Up to S$40,000
Family Grant Up to S$50,000
Proximity Housing Grant Up to S$20,000
Up to S$120,000

Additional Housing Grant (For first-timers)

To qualify for the Additional Housing Grant (AHG), applicants must be first-timers and must not earn more than S$5,000 per month. Based on the income of the applicant, the amount given will range from S$5,000 to S$40,000.[14]

Family Grant (For first-timers)

Eligible first-time applicants can apply for the Family Grant, which offers Singaporean households up to S$50,000 for 2 to 4-room resale flats and S$40,000 for 5-room resale flats. PR households can receive up to S$40,000 for 2 to 4-room resale flats and S$30,000 for 5-room resale flats. An Additional CPF Housing Grant of up to S$40,000 may be offered for applicants of the lower to middle income group.[15]

Half-housing Grant (For couples)

First-timer Singaporean applicants whose spouse/ spouse-to-be had previously received a housing subsidy may be eligible for the Half-Housing Grant, which offers up to S$25,000 for 2 to 4-room resale flats and S$20,000 for 5-room resale flats.[16]

Proximity Housing Grant (For those living with/ near parents or child)

Married/ engaged couples who are buying a resale flat to live with or near their parents will be granted up to S$30,000, depending on the distance between the properties. Singles who are buying a resale flat to live with or near their parents will be offered up to S$15,000, depending on the distance between the properties.[17] Interested applicants can check the distance between the intended resale flat and their parent’s property through HDB’s e-service (HDB distance enquiry portal)

Singles Grant (For singles)

Applicants 35 years old or above who are under the Single Singapore Citizen Scheme and Non-Citizen Family Scheme may be eligible for the Singles Grant, which offers up to S$25,000 for 2 to 4-room resale flats and S$20,000 for 5-room resale flats. An Additional CPF Housing Grant of up to S$20,000 may be offered for applicants of the lower to middle income group.[18]


Applicants under the Joint Singles Scheme or Orphans Scheme may also be eligible for the Singles Grant. For those who are buying with other singles, up to S$50,000 will be granted for 2 to 4-room resale flats and up to S$40,000 will be granted for 5-room resale flats. An Additional CPF Housing Grant of up to S$40,000 may be offered for applicants of the lower to middle income group.[19]


Singaporean applicants under the Non-Citizen Spouse scheme may also be eligible for the Singles Grant.[20]

Top-Up Grant (For couples)

Recipients of the Singles Grant who just got married can apply for the Top-Up Grant, which is the Family Grant amount minus the previously received grant amount.[21] An Additional CPF Housing Grant of up to S$20,000 may be offered for applicants of the lower to middle income group.

Recipients of the Singles Grant who previously bought a resale flat under the Non-Citizen Spouse Scheme whose spouse or child obtains citizen or PR status, may also apply for the Top-up Grant.

Loans

HDB Housing Loan

HDB offers concessionary loans for Singaporeans at an interest rate of 2.6%. In order to qualify for this loan, at least one of the borrowers must be a Singaporean and the borrower's monthly household income should not exceed S$12,000. The borrower should not own any private properties in or outside of Singapore and must not have taken more than 2 previous HDB loans.[22]


Before taking up the loan, borrowers have to pay a down payment of 10%, which can be fully paid using CPF. A monthly installment of no more than 30% of the borrower’s salary will be paid until the end of the repayment period. For example, if the borrower has a monthly salary of S$4,000, the maximum monthly installment paid will be S$1,200.[23]


The repayment period is capped at 25 years, or up till the borrower is 65 years of age.[24] Home-buyers who are interested in the HDB housing loan are required to apply for the HDB Loan Eligibility (HLE) letter through HDB’s online service (HDB application portal).

Bank loans

Home-buyers can also opt for bank loans. Bank loans typically have the interest rates of 1.3% to 1.7%. The bank will conduct a credit check to ensure that the borrower has the ability to pay back the debts within the stipulated time frame.


Borrowers are required to pay a higher down payment of 25%, of which 5% have to be paid in cash. The remaining can be paid through CPF. Individuals should be aware that unlike HDB loans, banks’ interest rates are volatile and have higher penalty rates for early and late repayments.[25]

Purchasing procedures

Buyers and sellers can purchase their resale flats on the HDB Resale Portal (HDB resale e-service). Individuals can log in to the portal with their SingPass account.

Register Intent To Buy

Step-by-step guide to buying a resale flat. Infographic credit to Jessica Lai (TheSmartLocal).

By registering for an Intent To Buy, applicants will receive an assessment on their eligibility to buy an HDB resale flat, the housing grants they are eligible for, and their eligibility for an HDB housing loan. The Intent To Buy will be valid for 12 months.[26]


After which, applicants will be guided to apply for an HDB Loan Eligibility (HLE) letter if they are eligible for and intend to get a housing loan from HDB. If applicants choose to take loans from other financial institutions, a valid Letter of Offer must be issued. A valid letter must be issued before the Option To Purchase (OTP) is granted by the seller. Buyers who do not wish to receive any form of grants may obtain the OTP from the sellers directly.

Option To Purchase (OTP)

After registering for the Intent to Buy, applicants can proceed to look for a suitable flat within their budget. Applicants should obtain an OTP from the sellers when they have agreed on a price for the flat. The HDB’s OTP acts as a contract during the transaction and no other form of agreement is allowed. Applicants may download the HDB OTP form online (Option To Purchase form).

Resale application

Buyers and sellers must submit their respective portions of the resale application via the HDB Resale Portal, together with the necessary documents. Salespersons can use the Estate Agent Toolkit to submit resale applications on behalf of their clients. HDB will verify the submitted information and both parties will be notified after 8 weeks.[27]

Appointment at HDB

The Resale Completion Date is scheduled approximately 8 weeks from HDB's acceptance of the application. Buyers and sellers will be notified via SMS about the actual date and time of the appointment at HDB Hub. Both parties are required to physically sign the required legal documents.[28]

References / Citations

  1. “BTO Vs. Resale Flats”. PropertyGuru. June 2, 2015. Accessed on 11 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.propertyguru.com.sg/singapore-property-resources/singapore-buy-property-guides/bto-vs-resale-flats
  2. “Eligibility”. Housing & Development Board. December 29, 2017. Accessed on 11 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.hdb.gov.sg/cs/infoweb/residential/buying-a-flat/resale/eligibility-
  3. “Ethnic Integration Policy and SPR Quota”. Housing & Development Board. December 29, 2017. Accessed on 11 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.hdb.gov.sg/cs/infoweb/residential/buying-a-flat/resale/ethnic-integration-policy-and-spr-quota
  4. “Eligibility”. Housing & Development Board. December 29, 2017. Accessed on 11 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.hdb.gov.sg/cs/infoweb/residential/buying-a-flat/resale/eligibility-
  5. “Eligibility”. Housing & Development Board. December 29, 2017. Accessed on 11 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.hdb.gov.sg/cs/infoweb/residential/buying-a-flat/resale/eligibility-?anchor=fs-scheme
  6. “Eligibility”. Housing & Development Board. December 29, 2017. Accessed on 11 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.hdb.gov.sg/cs/infoweb/residential/buying-a-flat/resale/eligibility-?anchor=ssc-scheme
  7. “Eligibility”. Housing & Development Board. December 29, 2017. Accessed on 11 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.hdb.gov.sg/cs/infoweb/residential/buying-a-flat/resale/eligibility-?anchor=jss-scheme
  8. “Eligibility”. Housing & Development Board. December 29, 2017. Accessed on 11 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.hdb.gov.sg/cs/infoweb/residential/buying-a-flat/resale/eligibility-?anchor=ncs-scheme
  9. “Eligibility”. Housing & Development Board. December 29, 2017. Accessed on 11 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.hdb.gov.sg/cs/infoweb/residential/buying-a-flat/resale/eligibility-?anchor=ncf-scheme
  10. “Eligibility”. Housing & Development Board. December 29, 2017. Accessed on 11 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.hdb.gov.sg/cs/infoweb/residential/buying-a-flat/resale/eligibility-?anchor=or-scheme
  11. “Eligibility”. Housing & Development Board. December 29, 2017. Accessed on 11 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.hdb.gov.sg/cs/infoweb/residential/buying-a-flat/resale/eligibility-
  12. "Resale statistics". Housing Development Board. Accessed on 9 April 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.hdb.gov.sg/cs/infoweb/residential/buying-a-flat/resale/resale-statistics
  13. “Costs and Fees”. Housing & Development Board. December 28, 2017. Accessed on 11 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.hdb.gov.sg/cs/infoweb/residential/buying-a-flat/resale/finance/costs-and-fees
  14. Moneysmart. "Here's How CPF Housing Grants Will Affect Your HDB Flat Purchase". Central Provident Fund Board. December 2, 2016. Accessed on 9 April 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.areyouready.sg/YourInfoHub/Pages/Views-Heres-How-CPF-Housing-Grants-Will-Affect-Your-HDB-Flat-Purchase-MoneySmart.aspx
  15. “First-Timer Applicant”. Housing & Development Board. December 29, 2017. Accessed on 11 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.hdb.gov.sg/cs/infoweb/residential/buying-a-flat/resale/first-timers-applicants-scheme
  16. “First-Timer and Second-Timer Couple Applicants”. Housing & Development Board. December 29, 2017. Accessed on 11 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.hdb.gov.sg/cs/infoweb/residential/buying-a-flat/resale/first-timers-and-second-timers-couple-applicants-scheme
  17. “Living With/ Near Parents or Child”. Housing & Development Board. August 3, 2018. Accessed on 11 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.hdb.gov.sg/cs/infoweb/residential/buying-a-flat/resale/living-with-near-parents-or-married-child
  18. “Single Singapore Citizen Applicants”. Housing & Development Board. February 19, 2018. Accessed on 11 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.hdb.gov.sg/cs/infoweb/residential/buying-a-flat/resale/single-singapore-citizen-scheme-or-joint-singles-scheme
  19. “Joint Singles Scheme or Orphans Scheme”. Housing & Development Board. February 19, 2018. Accessed on 11 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.hdb.gov.sg/cs/infoweb/residential/buying-a-flat/resale/schemes-and-grants/cpf-housing-grants/orphans-scheme
  20. “Non-Citizen Spouse Scheme (NCS)”. Housing & Development Board. February 19, 2018. Accessed on 11 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.hdb.gov.sg/cs/infoweb/residential/buying-a-flat/resale/non-citizen-spouse-scheme
  21. “First-Timer and Second-Timer Couple Applicants”. Housing & Development Board. December 29, 2017. Accessed on 11 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.hdb.gov.sg/cs/infoweb/residential/buying-a-flat/resale/first-timers-and-second-timers-couple-applicants-scheme
  22. Ong, Ryan. “HDB Loan vs Bank Loan – Which Is Better? 5 Things to Know Before You Commit”. MoneySmart. July 16, 2018. Accessed on 11 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://blog.moneysmart.sg/home-loans/bank-loan-vs-hdb-loan-which-is-better/
  23. “More information on your HDB housing loan”. Housing & Development Board. September 14, 2018. Accessed on 11 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.hdb.gov.sg/cs/infoweb/residential/financing-a-flat-purchase/housing-loan-from-hdb/more-information-on-your-hdb-loan
  24. “More information on your HDB housing loan”. Housing & Development Board. September 14, 2018. Accessed on 11 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.hdb.gov.sg/cs/infoweb/residential/financing-a-flat-purchase/housing-loan-from-hdb/more-information-on-your-hdb-loan
  25. Ong, Ryan. “HDB Loan vs Bank Loan – Which Is Better? 5 Things to Know Before You Commit”. MoneySmart. July 16, 2018. Accessed on 11 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://blog.moneysmart.sg/home-loans/bank-loan-vs-hdb-loan-which-is-better/
  26. “Register Intent To Buy”. Housing & Development Board. December 30, 2017.  Accessed on 11 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.hdb.gov.sg/cs/infoweb/residential/buying-a-flat/resale/procedures/register-intent-to-buy
  27. “Resale Application”. Housing & Development Board. December 29, 2017.  Accessed on 11 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.hdb.gov.sg/cs/infoweb/residential/buying-a-flat/resale/buying-process/application-procedure/resale-application
  28. “Appointment at HDB”. Housing & Development Board. December 29, 2017.  Accessed on 11 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.hdb.gov.sg/cs/infoweb/residential/buying-a-flat/resale/appointment-with-hdb