This article will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to buy a HDB BTO flat (also known as Built-To-Order flat). But firstly, you may wish to have an understanding of Singapore's property market.
Do take note that the process to buy a HDB BTO flat is totally different from that of a HDB resale flat. If you are looking to buy a HDB resale flat, please refer to “How to Buy A HDB Resale Flat – A Complete Guide”.
To apply or buy a HDB BTO flat, the process is as follows:
- Eligibility to Buy A HDB BTO Flat
- HDB BTO Flat Sale Launches
- HDB BTO Flat Application
- Application for an HFE Letter
- HDB BTO Flat Ballot Result
- Before Your First HDB Appointment
- Your First HDB Appointment
- Optional Component Scheme (OCS)
- Your Second HDB Appointment
- Key Collection for Your HDB BTO Flat
- Other Resources
- Reviews of New Property Launches
Eligibility to Buy A HDB BTO Flat
First of all, you must meet the eligibility conditions for buying a HDB BTO flat. Among them, you have to be a Singapore citizen applying with another Singapore citizen or Singapore permanent resident, age 21 or older. Your total household income must not exceed $14,00 per month or $21,000 for extended families. You have also not bought a new HDB/ DBSS flat or executive condominium (EC) before.
Singapore permanent residents are not allowed to buy HDB BTO flats. They can only buy HDB resale flats after gaining their permanent residency for 3 years. Foreigners are also not allowed to own public housing, whether BTO or resale HDB flats.
HDB BTO Flat Sale Launches
Look out for the HDB BTO flat sale launches. There are four each year - February, May, August and November. To allow people to plan for their purchase, HDB will release the launch details 6 months in advance. These include the location, map, types of flats offered and the estimated number of units available. Alternatively, you can sign up for the HDB sales alert. The new HDB BTO sales launches are usually spread across several mature and non-mature estates.
HDB BTO Flat Application
For your HDB BTO flat application, you are only allowed to apply for one flat type at one location. Upon the official sale launch of the flats, you have 7 days to decide whether to apply or not.
If you have done your homework, you should have already come to a decision after discussing with your family which BTO flat to apply for. Bear in mind that BTO flats in mature estates will see higher demand despite being more expensive. To increase your chances of selecting a good unit, you may want to consider a flat in a less popular estate.
As part of your decision-making, you may also want to consider applicable HDB priority schemes such as the Parenthood Priority Scheme and Multi-Generation Priority Scheme when buying your HDB BTO flat. This will help to increase the chances of getting a flat of your choice. You can find out the various priority schemes here.
Application for an HFE Letter
With effects from 9 May 2023, the HDB has introduced a more streamlined HDB flat application process. This process involves the issuance of a new document called the HDB Flat Eligibility (HFE) letter.
The HFE letter will replace the current HDB Loan Eligibility (HLE) letter. The document will inform prospective buyers about their eligibility for purchasing either a BTO or resale HDB flat, as well as their eligibility for CPF housing grants and a HDB housing loan.
The HFE will also indicate the amounts of any grants or loans that they may be eligible for. This will help flat buyers have a clear understanding of their options so as to enable them to make informed decisions about their home purchases.
HDB BTO Flat Ballot Result
After 1.25 months after the HDB BTO flat application closes, you will be informed of your ballot result through one of the following channels - SMS, emails or hardcopy letters - when ready.
Applicants will be invited to select their flat according to their queue number. The lower your queue number, the more flats you will get to choose from. You will also get the chance to select a unit with good facing, high floor, near amenities (e.g. bust-stop, MRT station, schools, market), etc. However, do note that whether you get the chance to select a flat will depend on the number of flats available when it reaches your queue number. However, there are consequences if you reject your BTO application.
For first-timers, rejecting 2 chances to book a BTO flat means your first-timer priority will be suspended for 1 year. However, that does not mean you cannot apply for a BTO flat during that 1 year. It is just that your first-timer priority will be stripped.
But if you reject another 2 more chance to select a new flat within that year, your first-time status will be extended for another year. (Please take note of new rules taking effect from August 2023 BTO exercise below).
Change In First-Timer And Second-Timer Privileges
From August 2023, First-Timer (Parents & Married Couples) will receive an additional ballot chance for their BTO/ SBF flat applications, bringing their total ballot chances to three. This will be one more than other first-timer applicants and two more than non-first-timer applicants.
They will also continue to receive an additional ballot chance in subsequent applications for a BTO flat in non-mature estates if they are unsuccessful in two or more attempts for a non-mature estate BTO flat.
However, to discourage non-selection of BTO flats, First-Timers, including FT(PMC), will lose their first-timer privileges and be deemed as second-timers for a year in the BTO ballot if they do not book a flat when invited to do so.
Currently, First-Timers will be moved to the second-timer category for a year when balloting for flats only if they do not book a BTO flat twice.
As for Second-Timers who do not pick a BTO flat when invited to do so, they will have to wait one year before they can apply for a flat again. Currently, this kicks in only after they fail to book a flat twice
Before Your First HDB Appointment
You will be invited by HDB to book your BTO flat after 1-2 weeks, depending on your queue position. Meanwhile, before your first HDB appointment, it will be prudent to shortlist a few choice units a few days before your selection. There is no point in shortlisting too early as your choices may have already been snapped up by the time it reaches your queue number.
Your First HDB Appointment
On your first HDB appointment, bring along your appointment letter and NRIC. The flat selection is based strictly on your queue number and a HDB officer will assist you in selecting your flat based on the available units.
If you are successful in booking a unit and decide to take up a HDB concessionary loan, you will need to apply for the HDB Eligibility Letter (HLE). If you are taking a bank loan, you need to produce a Letter of Offer (LO). You also need to pay an option-to-purchase fee - $500 for a 2-room flexi flat, $1,000 for a 3-room flat and $2,000 for 4 room and bigger flat, including an executive flat.
Optional Component Scheme (OCS)
Also during your first HDB appointment, you may decide whether to opt for the OCS. The scheme offers flat buyers the option of fitting their units with floor tiles, doors, sanitary fittings, etc. When a flat buyer opts in for OCS, the cost of the optional components will be added to the flat price.
But do note that projects built using the Prefabricated Prefinished Volumetric Construction (PPVC) method will come with full floor finishes, internal doors, and sanitary fittings. Hence, the OCS is not applicable to these projects.
You can choose to have the following items installed in the flat you have selected:
Your Second HDB Appointment
In about 4 months, you will be informed of your second HDB appointment where you need to go down to sign your Agreement for Lease. At the same time, you will be required to pay the downpayment, stamp duty and legal fees. You are also required to submit your HDB Loan Eligibility Letter (HLE) or Letter of Offer (LO) depending on whether you are taking a HDB concessionary loan or bank loan.
For more information governing housing loans and CPF usage, please refer to Change in CPF Usage and Housing Loan Rules. In addition, you need to decide on the ownership status – Joint Tenancy or Tenancy-In-Common. In Joint Tenancy, you hold an equal share in the flat while in Tenancy-In-Common, you can hold an unequal share.
Key Collection for Your HDB BTO Flat
It takes about 3 years to complete the construction of your new flat. Once completed, you will be notified of your key collection. All in all, buying a HDB BTO flat will take about 4 years.
Prior to your key collection, you should have decided on your renovation and how much to spend. You can find a list of approved HDB contractors in the Directory of Renovation Contractors.
We hope you have found this guide on how to buy a HDB BTO flat useful.
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