All in the Family: Singapore’s Multi-Generation HDB Flats

Singapore’s HDB builds a wide array of flats, and one of them has been receiving more attention in the BTO section than most others.

The Multi-generation or 3-Generation (3Gen) flats have been rising in popularity.

Here’s a run-down of what it is, what it is like, and what it takes to stay in a 3Gen flat.

HDB in Novena. Picture: iProperty

What is a 3Gen Flat?

The 3Gen flat configuration is unique. It’s built specifically to house 3 generations of a family in a larger than average HDB flat.

That means that the approximately 115 square metre unit has two bedrooms with attached bathrooms instead of just one. This is in addition to the usual living space, kitchen and common bathroom space that is available in other HDB formats.

So it’s safe to say that 3Gen homes are large!

See more: Singapore’s first fully-smart multi generational living development

3Gen Floorplan. Picture: HDB

Caveats and Limitations

There are some specific requirements and limitations to the 3Gen flat. The first is that applicants must be a multi-generation family in order to qualify.

That “multi-generation family” definition can be fulfilled by either one of the following two definitions:

  1. Your family is made up of a Married/engaged couple and parents.
  2. Your family is made up of a widowed or divorced person with a child, and parents

If you’re buying a 3Gen flat, you must register your parents as occupants. This means that they would not be allowed to own any other property, local or overseas. Additionally, if those occupant parents are earning any money at all, their income will count towards the monthly household income.

While the HDB has increased the income ceiling to $18,000 for multi-generation flats, potential purchasers need to be wary of this caveat.

Finally, buyers have to be wary of a few additional clauses that kick in during and after the Minimum Occupation Period (MOP).

While most other HDB owners will be able to sublet a unit during the MOP, the HDB has mandated that there will be no subletting of any rooms in a 3Gen flat during the MOP period. This is to ensure that people will not use 3Gen flats as a money making scheme.

Finally, the flat can only be resold to another multi-generation family after the MOP, severely limiting the range of sales prospects on the open market.

HDB in Queensway. Picture: iProperty

So why the popularity?

3Gen flats have been rising in popularity, with most units being snapped up by Multi-Generational families. There are multiple benefits to taking a flat like this, especially for those who struggle to get a BTO flat.

If you’re balloting for a 3Gen flat, you can actually apply under the Married Child Priority Scheme, which will give you additional ballot chances. This advantage stacks with your first-time applicant priority, so you get a lot more ballot slots

CPF grants are also way more generous when you apply for a 3Gen flat. 3Gen Flat occupants will be eligible for a CPF Family Housing Grant. This special Family Housing Grant gives the successful applicant $10,000 more than the regular CPF Housing Grant.

Of course, having your parents living together with you will significantly reduce everyone’s financial burdens. Instead of paying utilities for 2 homes, there will be only 1 utility bill to pay.

This extends out to things like internet bills and cable TV bills. If you have children, you will significantly reduce the cost of childcare, since the child’s grandparents would be able to step in to help when both parents are out at work.

Ang Mo Kio Ave 5. Picture: iProperty

See moreGuide to Property Valuation: Income Method

Going All in Together

While there will be some challenges in staying together with one set of parents, it seems that the benefits here outweigh the costs.

Besides the fact that staying together is economically more viable, the greatest benefit is the family bond that staying together creates for the family.

They say unity is the strength. If that’s true, then the 3Gen Flat will most definitely help to build strong family bonds for years to come.