About HDB flats in Singapore

HDB stands for the Housing Development Board and is the board responsible for public housing in Singapore. Most of the Singapore population (around 85%) reside in HDB flats, which are arranged in estates or public housing precincts. HDB flats come in a variety of types and prices.

What types of HDB flat are there?


Standard HDB flats are grouped into types depending on the number of rooms they have. These range from a 2-room Flat (the smallest) to a 5-room flat (the largest). There may be some variation in both size and features within the basic types. Under the Optional Component Scheme (OCS), for example, you can choose to order extra features such as certain sanitary fittings and floor finishes on a new flat.

There are also two other basic types of flat. These are:

Studio flats, which are designed for the elderly and come in two sizes – 35 square metres and 45 square metres

Executive flats, which have an estimated floor area of 130 square metres and feature the following spaces:

  • Living area
  • Dining area
  • Kitchen
  • Main bedroom with attached bathroom
  • Two additional bedrooms
  • Common bathroom, and
  • Storeroom-cum-apartment shelter

Some executive flats also have a balcony.

Who can buy a HDB flat?


There are certain conditions that must be met before you can buy a new HDB flat. You have to be a citizen of Singapore (or permanent resident) of at least 21 years of age at the time of application. You must also form part of the nucleus of a family that could include your parents, spouse, children or fiancé(e).

There is also an income ceiling applied to the different types of flats on Build-to-Order (BTO). This is designed to help ensure that new affordable flats are available for starting families and those on lower incomes.

In order to resell a HDB flat the owner must have met the Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) requirement, which is typically 5 years. This is designed to help prevent property speculation and spiralling prices.

The buyer of a resale flat must still meet eligibility requirements, including being a Singaporean citizen/permanent resident, of at least 21 years of age. There are schemes available for single applicants however and there is no income ceiling on resale flats unless applying for a CPF Housing Grant and/or an HDB Loan.

The cost of a new HDB flat will vary depending on the size, features and maturity of the estate in which it is situated. Resale flats may be sold to any eligible buyer at a mutually agreed price and typically cost considerably more than a new flat.

There are certain conditions that must be met before you can buy a new HDB flat. You have to be a citizen of Singapore (or permanent resident) of at least 21 years of age at the time of application. You must also form part of the nucleus of a family that could include your parents, spouse, children or fiancé(e).

Can I rent a HDB flat?


In order to rent a HDB flat on the open market you must be a Singaporean citizen, a permanent resident or a non-citizen with one of the following visas:

  • Employment pass
  • S pass
  • Work permit holders (construction workers, Malaysia nationals only)
  • Student pass
  • Dependant pass
  • Long term social visit pass

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