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  • Writer's pictureBrian Loh

A guide to Singapore's HDB flat buying process


The Housing and Development Board (HDB) in Singapore is responsible for providing affordable and quality public housing for the citizens. HDB flats are popular among the locals for their accessibility, amenities, and affordability. This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide to the HDB flat buying process in Singapore.

Eligibility Criteria

Before you start the process of buying an HDB flat in Singapore, it is essential to ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria. You must be a Singapore Citizen (SC), at least 21 years old, and have a family nucleus that comprises at least one SC or Permanent Resident (PR). You must also not own any other property overseas or locally and have not disposed of any private property within the past 30 months.

Types of HDB Flats

HDB flats come in various sizes, types, and locations. They are classified based on their location, design, and tenure. The four main types of HDB flats are:

  1. Built-To-Order (BTO) Flats - These flats are newly built and sold directly by HDB through regular sales launches.

  2. Sale of Balance (SBF) Flats - These flats are unsold flats from previous BTO launches or repossessed flats and are sold on a first-come, first-served basis.

  3. Resale Flats - These flats are sold by HDB flat owners in the open market, and the prices are determined by market forces.

  4. Executive Condominiums (ECs) - These are public-private hybrid housing projects that are sold by developers and are subsidized by the government.

Financing Options

Buying an HDB flat in Singapore requires a substantial amount of money. There are several financing options available to help you purchase your dream home.

  1. HDB Loan - This is a government loan that is available to eligible HDB flat buyers. It offers a lower interest rate and longer repayment period compared to bank loans.

  2. Bank Loan - You can also take a bank loan to finance your HDB flat purchase. Banks offer competitive interest rates, but the repayment period is shorter than the HDB loan.

  3. Central Provident Fund (CPF) - Your CPF savings can be used to pay for the down payment and monthly mortgage payments.

  4. Additional CPF Housing Grant (AHG) - The AHG is a government grant that provides financial assistance to eligible first-time HDB flat buyers.

The HDB Flat Buying Process

The HDB flat buying process in Singapore can be broken down into six stages:

  1. Research - You should start by researching the various HDB flats available in your preferred location, size, and budget. You can visit the HDB website, attend property exhibitions, and speak to property agents.

  2. Financing - You should assess your financial situation and determine how much you can afford to spend on your HDB flat. You can then apply for a HDB loan or bank loan and use your CPF savings to pay for the down payment.

  3. Applying for HDB Flat - You can apply for a BTO or SBF flat through the HDB website during the sales launch period. For resale flats, you can search for available flats on the HDB website or engage a property agent to assist you.

  4. Balloting and Selection - For BTO and SBF flats, you will need to participate in the balloting exercise, where the flats are allocated through a computerized system. For resale flats, you will need to submit a resale application and negotiate with the seller.

  5. Legal Process - Once you have selected your flat, you will need to engage a lawyer to handle the legal process, including the sale and purchase agreement and the mortgage agreement.

  6. Key Collection and Move-In - After the legal process is completed, you will need to collect the keys to your new HDB flat and start the move-in process. You will also need to pay the stamp duty, which is a tax on the documents required for the sale and purchase of the HDB flat.


The HDB flat buying process in Singapore can be a daunting task, but with the right guidance and knowledge, it can be a smooth and rewarding experience. It is essential to do your research, assess your finances, and understand the eligibility criteria before embarking on the journey of purchasing an HDB flat. With various financing options and types of HDB flats available, there is something for everyone's budget and preferences. With careful planning and preparation, you can soon own your dream HDB flat in Singapore.

Author By:

Brian Loh CN

MSc. Applied Finance, University of Adelaide, Australia

Registered Real Estate Salesperson by CEA Singapore

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