HDB: To HDB or not to HDB?

HDB Singapore

I have mentioned previously my long-term goals would be to have 2 properties, a 3-room resale HDB as well as a 2-room BTO.  This plan has been in place for years since the timeline works well.  However, I am starting to have second thoughts about the plans which I will go through more later.

To paint a clearer picture, let me first explain some housing rules in Singapore.

Note that I am going to use the simplest high-level explanation.  For a more in-depth explanation please search through HDB’s website.

HDB Flats

Public housing in Singapore is governed by the Housing and Development Board (HDB).  For simplicity, Singaporeans often refer to HDB flats as just “HDB”.  All HDB flats come with a standard 99-year leasehold, as well as certain rules and regulations to follow through whilst leasing from HDB. 

Example, selling and renting of the entire flat is only applicable when the Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) is met.  Which is typically 5 years from the date of purchase.  There are also rules about the number of people that can stay in the flat as well as a quota for non-citizens.

Resale vs BTO

A resale flat is essentially a flat bought through the open market.  It is typically more expansive and has a shorter tenure (duh, 99-years and MOP, etc).  The good thing is there is little wait time.  Once the transaction is done it is possible to move in straight away.  A BTO (Build-To-Order) HDB flat on the other hand has a general waiting time of around 3 years (it used to be longer but the Singapore government is working to reducing the wait time) and is a lot cheaper than a resale flat.

Eligibility of purchasing HDB

How to get HDB?

The eligibility for getting a flat depends on the schemes in which are applicable for the individual trying to get the flat.  The general idea is you can get a flat once you plan to get legally married.  Since same-sex marriage is not available in Singapore the only scheme that both my fiance and I can fit into is the Single Singaporean Citizen Scheme or Joint Singles Scheme.

HDB Eligibility Schemes

To check eligibility, please click here.

Single Scheme / Joint Singles Scheme

Unfortunately…

For us “singles” (in the eyes of the law, that and the fact that we have yet to officially marry), the minimum age to get a flat is when we reach 35.  Which is 4 years for me and 6 years for my fiance.  Since Single and Joint Singles Scheme do not make much of a difference besides the ability to pay for the flat using both party’s CPF, we would definitely opt for the Single Scheme.

Single Scheme / Joint Single Scheme.

More info here.

Initial Plan

The timeline actually works well for us.  For clarity I will use my age to paint a better picture.

  • 35 – Get and move into resale 3-room under my name.
  • 37 – Apply for BTO 2-room under the fiance’s name.
  • 40 – BTO 2-room should be ready.  MOP of 3-room reached.  Move out of 3-room and move into 2-room.  Rent out 3-room.

Renting out the 3-room flat should generate enough income to cover the loan for both flats. 

But…

  • The plan takes too long to execute. 
  • Missed opportunities.
  • Unsure if we will retire in Singapore.

We have yet to come up with a final plan, or even a rough plan, but we are toying around with ideas.  This has caused us some headaches to be honest and we hope to be able to settle down with an idea soon. 

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