Single LGBTQ+ Guide to Buying an HDB Flat in Singapore

Let’s face it, Singapore is world famous for many great things – our beautiful airport, our stable government, our quality public housing etc… But, Singapore is also one of the few countries left in this modern world that criminalise gay sex between men. As this fight for equality rages on, the gay population is becoming more visible in public, at work places and even some homes – all thanks to the years of campaigning by groups such as Pink Dot. At PRIDENT, we want to fill another gap in LGBTQ+ circle – that is to provide education and assistance to the community in terms of their financial well being and one of such topic is home ownership.

With 75-80% of Singaporeans living in public HDB flats, it is probably the default choice and for many LGBTQ+ to one day have their own place where they can live freely as themselves. Let’s us not forget that there are less fortunate groups in our community who may not be financial stable and facing rejections by their immediate family for who they are.

In this article,  let me touch on the subject of purchasing a HDB public housing for a single (LGBTQ) individual.

PUBLIC HOUSING (HDB)

Our government was first hesitant in extending public housing to single individuals because there was a high demand for flats, and the priority went to families. Flat ownership for singles was also inconsistent with the government social policy of encouraging marriage and the preservation of the traditional family unit.

Thankfully, the liberalisation of the housing policy towards singles came in Oct 1991, when it was announced that single Singaporeans aged 35 and above can purchase a flat from Housing and Development Board (HDB).

And since then, 35 years became the ‘unofficial’ age for single adults to get a home of their own. The policy also became a ‘leeway’ for LGBTQ+ Singaporeans  to buy a HDB flat for the very first time.

While HDB public housing remains to be the most affordable options for most Singaporeans, it comes with a lot of  prerequisites and criteria. Knowing what one qualifies for is important when planning to make an application.

A single (LGBT) person could buy an HBD flat under 3 HDB Schemes: Public, Single or Joint Single Scheme.

Under Public Scheme, you need to form a family nucleus with any of the following:

  • Parents, and siblings (if any). This a common in when one choose to purchase a flat with your parents with the intention of living permanently with them.
  • At least 1 Singapore Citizen applicant
  • At least 1 other Singapore Citizen or Singapore Permanent Resident#
  • At least 21 years old
  • Household Income Ceiling: $14,000 (4-room and above); $7,000 or $14,000 (3-room, depending on project)

Under  Single Scheme & Joint Single Scheme, you can purchase directly from HDB. Some criteria to note:

  • Under BTO (Build-to-Order) program but you can only purchase  a 2 Room Flexi Flat in non matured estate.
  • Sale of Balance & Open Booking. Likewise you can only purchase a 2 Room Flexi Flat in non matured estate)
  • Must be Singapore Citizen (up to 3 others pax for Joint Single Scheme)
  • Unmarried or divorced: 35 years old or above
  • Widowed or an orphan: 21 years old or above
  • Household Income ceiling $7K
Now a 2-room flexi flat in a non matured estate may not the ideal for some who would like to have a bigger space or prefer a location nearer to town. Then the alternative is to turn to the HDB resale market.

 

Under  Single Scheme & Joint Single Scheme, single individual can also buy from HDB Resale Market:

  • Can buy any size and location from open market.
  • Must be Singapore Citizen (up to 3 others pax for Joint Single Scheme)
  • Unmarried or divorced: 35 years old or above
  • Widowed or an orphan: 21 years old or above
  • No Income ceiling
Next step is to see if you qualify for a HDB Grant For Singles
As a first-timer single Singapore Citizen (SC) who is 35 years old or above, you might be eligible for the following CPF housing grant(s):
For New HDB Flat
  • Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (EHG) (Singles)
    • Income Ceiling $4.5k, Up to $40k
  • Proximity Grant
    • $10k grant if live near to parent (within 4km)
    • $15k grant if live with to parents

HDB Reference: https://www.hdb.gov.sg/cs/infoweb/residential/buying-a-flat/new/schemes-and-grants/cpf-housing-grants-for-hdb-flats/single-singapore-citizen-scheme

 

  • Singles Grant (only for Resale HDB)
    • Income Ceiling $7k, Up to $25k
  • Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (EHG) (Singles)
    • Income Ceiling $4.5k, Up to $40k
  • Proximity Grant
    • $10k grant if live near to parent (within 4km)
    • $15k grant if live with to parents

HDB Reference: https://www.hdb.gov.sg/cs/infoweb/residential/buying-a-flat/resale/financing/cpf-housing-grants/single-singapore-citizen-scheme

For Permanent Residents and Foreigners:

Under HDB Polices, single foreigner are not able to purchase HDB Flats.

Permanent Resident (PR) is only allowed to buy an HDB resale flat under two eligibility schemes, namely the Public Scheme or Fiancé/Fiancée Scheme (not relevant to LGBTQ). In a nutshell, a Singapore PRs cannot purchase resale HDB flats by themselves.

Under the Public Scheme, a PR must form a family nucleus with spouse and children (if any) or with his parents. If you are a single PR purchasing with parents, at least one of them must be a SC or PR. If widowed or divorced, there must be at least one child under his legal custody.

In addition, there are four general conditions a PR must comply with before s/he is qualified to purchase an HDB resale flat:

  • The PR needs to be at least 21 years old.
  • He or she must be a permanent resident of Singapore for a minimum of three years.
  • Upon buying a HDB resale flat, the PR is prohibited from selling the unit or leasing it out entirely under the five-year Minimum Occupation Period (MOP).
  • The buyer must not have any private property here or abroad. Otherwise, he will need to dispose of these within six months of purchasing a HDB resale flat. Nevertheless, the PR can acquire a private property like a condominium after fulfilling the five-year MOP, and he isn’t required to sell his HDB resale flat to do so.
waiting to turn 35?

Property purchase needs careful planning and knowing how the system works, and also a substantial amount of fund. So don’t wait till your 35th birthday to panic about your bank account. Start planning as early as you can and work towards your goals, and you will be well prepared for your purchase.

If you need some advise, drop me a note and I am most happy to offer my friendly advice.


Disclaimer: Please note that the views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author’s employer, organization, committee or other group or individual. Should there be any facts inaccurately presented, we will kindly appreciate if you could inform us at info@prident.co

2 comments

  1. On the topic of the EHG (Singles), I’m sharing below an extract from this HDB webpage: https://www.hdb.gov.sg/cs/infoweb/residential/buying-a-flat/new/schemes-and-grants/cpf-housing-grants-for-hdb-flats/single-singapore-citizen-scheme

    “*The flat price is inclusive of the $15,000 price difference that singles who apply for a 2-room Flexi flat under the SSC has to pay. This is to maintain parity of treatment in the enjoyment of housing subsidies between singles and families.”

    It’s pretty shocking–especially as the Singles Grant only applies to resale flats.

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