So to buy BTO or Resale as a Single? The Great HDB Debate

Buying BTO or Resale HDB kai hub

“You never truly become an adult in Singapore until you leave your parent’s home”

Yes, you love your parents but sometimes you need your own space! Sound like anyone you know? 

The magic age where a Single Singaporean truly becomes liberated is 35!  For the curious non-Singaporean onlooker, this is the age where you can finally buy your own Housing Development Board’s(HDB or affordable housing) apartment.

But with this coming of age, also comes the powers of confounding life’s questions and decisions.  Do I buy a BTO or a Resale? Where do I stay?  Where in Singapore do I buy? What are the loans I can get? What’s a good Investment?  

We won’t tackle all the questions here but let’s get that eager Nest-fleer well on his/her way.  

HDB or Private Condo


Singapore’s Private housing is infamously renowned for how expensive it is.  For the purpose of setting boundaries, the short of this answer is: Private Condo.  Simply because it provides for a better investment for the future, generally speaking ofcourse, as historical data does show it has the penchant to be a better investment.   

But assuming not everyone(most Singaporeans!!) has the means to do that just now, HDB is really not too shabby a choice.   

Let’s open this can of worms.


BTO or Resale?

What’s the difference in Buying BTO and Resale.  Here’s an Infograph on the difference.  

BTO vs Resale - Singles - Kai Hub

Buying BTO 


Non-mature HDB housing estates are the only areas where singles over 35 may apply for a 2-room BTO flat under the HDB Single Singapore Citizen Scheme. Because BTO flats are heavily subsidised and flats in non-mature areas tend to be less expensive. 

They are also generally smaller in size and thus easier to manage.  

HDB MOP - kai hub

Free Money

Homebuyers who are eligible for the Enhanced Housing Grant (EHG) may receive up to $40,000 to fund their BTO apartment.


How to Qualify?

Applicants need to apply under for their BTO under Single Singaporean Citizen Scheme or the Joint Singles Scheme. The income ceiling to apply for a 2-room HDB flat is $7,000.



Singles can only rent the HDB apartment after MOP both for BTO and Resale.  But before MOP is achieve, they can rent out rooms in their flat for all types of flat except a 2 room flat.  A 2 Room flat consists only of one bedroom so before MOP, they can rent out rooms unless its a 2 room flat.    

Here’s a link for HDB’s BTO launch.  


Sale of Balance Flats

The HDB Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) initiative combines unsold residential units (or HDB surplus flats) from previous Build-To-Order initiatives, remaining flats from the Selective En-bloc Redevelopment Programme (SERS), and any flats that HDB repurchased. 

Singles can also look to buy these flats if they are available.   

Matured vs Non-Matured HDB Estate kai hub

Buying Resale


The major advantage of buying a Resale Flat for singles is there are no Restrictions on the Room type, Location, or Income ceiling when purchasing a resale flat after their 35th birthday.

Since it is a flat on the resale market, the flat would be sold at the market rate which is typically higher than at the BTO price level. Because these flats can also be in mature estates, prices may also be higher due to that. HDB resale flat prices have been climbing 22 consecutive months though but when compared with private condominiums, it is still relatively inexpensive.


No Built-Time Wait

Buying a BTO you’ll have to wait for the flat built, and a wait period of 3-5 years is likely. Adding the MOP of say 5 years, that’s an 8-10 year commitment you’ll be making in getting your flat.  That’s not factoring any additional construction delays from covid-labor problems and supply chain issues. 

Don’t forget too that you may not get your choice unit on your first application.   Most BTOs are over subscribed by many folds from the actual number of units that will be produced.  So, add another 6 months to 2 years.  

Grants for Resale HDB


Yes, there’s Grants for Resale too!

First-time singles may also be eligible for the Single’s Grant and the Proximity Housing Grant when purchasing a resale flat. In addition to the Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (EHG) which provides up to $40,000, you may also be eligible for the Single’s Grant and the Proximity Housing Grant(PHG).

The Singles Grant is available to Singapore citizens buying a resale flat under the Single Singapore Citizen Scheme. You are not eligible if you purchase a resale flat with other singles; the grant is $25,000 for 2- to 4-room resale HDB flats and $20,000 for 5-room resale HDB flats. Your income must not exceed $7,000 in conjunction with other occupants.

If your parents either live with you or live within a 4km radius of your HDB resale flat, you may be eligible for up to $15,000 in Proximity Housing Grants (PHG).


Renting your Resale HDB

You must own your HDB flat for five years before you can sell it or rent it out. If you’ve bought a bigger property than a two-room one, you may still live in it and rent out rooms for profit even during the MOP.

A guide to TDSR - kaihub

Available Loans for HDB


For HDB BTO or HDB Resale, you’ll need to pass 2 loan criteria.


1.  Mortgage Servicing Ratio (MSR)

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has established a Mortgage Servicing Ratio (MSR) of 30% of their monthly gross Income.

This means that if you earn $5,000 a month, your monthly repayment for HDB loans cannot be more than:

$5,000 x 30% = $1,500


2.  Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR)

A borrower’s TDSR should be less than or equal to 55% to ensure that the portion of a borrower’s gross monthly income that goes towards repaying the monthly debt obligations, including the loan, is not excessive.

$5,000 x 55% = $2,750

Total Debt Servicing a month must not exceed TDS = $2,750

Assuming you have your repayments a month are i) Car Loan = $1,000 ii) Credit Card Loan = $200 and you intend to buy a HDB property that will have a repayment of $1,500.  

Car loan = $1,000

Credit Card Loan = $ 200

HDB Loan = $1,500

Total = $ 2,700 which is LESS than TDS ($2,750)

It can be quite a big endeavor to make some of these decisions.   If you need any help, please do reach out to us, we’ll be happy to help you through this.  

6 Steps to Getting BTO Flat Kai Hub

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