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FAQ #1: Private property owners and HDB

(Part of “The Almost Complete Goondu’s Guide to Buying a HDB Flat in Singapore” series.)

The Housing Development Board (HDB) provides affordable public housing, which essentially equates to tons of rules and regulations you have to abide to. Even with the massive load of information available on their website, it can get pretty confusing. Once you understand their underlying rational, the answers become quite straight-forward.

I’ll be posting scenarios that I’ve come across, starting with questions pertaining to private and hdb ownership.



Ten years ago, May’s parents bought a private property. They decided to include May’s name as a co-owner. Now, May is all grown up, has met Tom, a guy she wants to marry, and they are deciding to get a HDB flat. They want to know:

– Can they apply for a new flat from HDB?
No. HDB does not allow private property owners to buy new flats. Since May is a co-owner of a private property, she does not qualify.

– Can they buy a resale flat from the open market?
Yes. But they would have to take a bank loan, as private property owners are not eligible for HDB loans.
(Note: With the recent changes in rules (Aug’10), with immediate effect, if May and Tom were to buy a resale flat, she would have to remove her name from the private property, or sell it within 6 months.)

– Are they eligible for the $30k family grant or $40k family living near parents grant? No. Private property owners are not eligible for grants. Tom is not eligible for any half-housing grants either, cause married couples are seen as one entity.

– What if May removes her name from the private property?
HDB states that if a private property owner disposes his/her property, he/she can only purchase a new flat or apply for a grant 30 months later. So if May does so, she and her husband will be eligible to apply for a new flat, or get a resale flat with grant 30 months later, provided their combined income then is still $8k and below.

Conclusion: May’s parents must have had valid reasons for wanting to include her name in the private property. Perhaps they are worried that should something happen to them, at least the property is still in her name. However, parents should take note that by doing so, it might pose problems for their kids in future.



June and Peter are about to get married. They want to get a HDB flat under the family nucleus scheme. They are also considering buying a condo for investment purposes. Currently, their combine income is $9.5k.

– Can they buy a new flat?
No. Their current income is above $8k, and thus are not eligible for new HDB flats. However, they are eligible to buy an Executive Condo (EC) from HDB, and still qualify for the $30k grant, as their current salary meets the $10k and below requirement for ECs.

– Can they buy a resale flat from the open market?
Yes. However, since their current income is above $8k, they are not eligible for any housing grants, nor can they take a HDB loan. They must take a bank loan.
(Note: With the recent changes in rules (Aug’10), with immediate effect, June and Peter would have to wait for 5 years after getting the keys to their flat before they can buy a private property for investment.)

– Then can they buy the condo first, then buy the resale flat later?
Yes. Normally people buy a hdb first, then private so they can get the hdb grant and/or loan. Since neither applies to them, it would make sense for them to get a condo first if they can afford it. However, note that if they buy a resale flat later, they are required to live in it for the 1st 3 years.
(Note: With the recent changes in rules (Aug’10), with immediate effect, any owners of private property who purchase a resale HDB flat must dispose of their private property within 6 months.)


*The above names are fictional for obvious reasons.

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93 Responses to “FAQ #1: Private property owners and HDB”

  1. Max Says:

    Hi, I am a SPR. Recently I found a resale EC unit less than 5 yrs after TOP on the open market due to propably some special reasons. Am I eligible to buy it?

  2. Min Says:

    Hello, if I am 35 years old and wanted to get my own HDB flat. Is it true that I can only rent it out after living in it for 3 years. Can I appeal for exception if I want to stay with my parents in their HDB because I need to take care of them? Thank you.

  3. Lin Says:

    Hello I have already bought HDB flat twice, once direct from HDB and another from open market. There was no grant from open market. Do you think am I still eligible to apply for new EC. Our combine income is slightly above 8K. Can we still apply for HDB loan. Thank you.

  4. Hypercat75 Says:

    Hi, I am 37 years old and currently staying in my brother 5 room flat, together with my younger sister and both my parents. Due to space constraints, I want to buy a resale EM, jointly with my younger sister (33 years old)and my mother name. As my parents have already taken 2 HDB loans before, I understand that I have to no choice but to take banks’ loans, just wonder the chances of appealing to MPs during Meet people session will help me to apply for HDB loans as I am not the one who used up the quotas?

    Please advise, thanks.

  5. Justina Says:

    Hi Hypercat, is it possible to wait 2 more years when your sister turns 35 years old? Then you can both buy an EM under the joint-singles-scheme. If your combined income then is less than $8k you would qualify for a HDB loan and $22k in single grants. If you really have to get a flat now, then you’ll have to get a bank loan. You can definitely appeal, but appeals are never guaranteed.

  6. ling Says:


    My fiance and I are thinking of getting a BTO. However, we recently bought a property overseas under our names for family living there.
    1. are we still eligible?
    2. are hdb strict about overseas properties? how do they check overseas properties?
    3. can we appeal and what do you think the success rate would be?


  7. Danny Says:


    We are a couple looking to try for a BTO unit from HDB. Our combined income exceed 8k slightly, and we plan to appeal.

    My questions are:
    1) When’s the right time to appeal? Is it before we the BTO exercise close (the BTO online wouldn’t allow us past the application process if we are truthful about exceeding 8k – should we list our incomes as under 8k first and then appeal if we manage to select a unit?)

    2) To whom should we address the appeal to (person? email?)

    Thank you!

  8. Tin Pei Ling Views on housing! | unbiasedelectorate Says:

    […] number of them unable to afford private housing without breaking first the bank. and the few options they have for public housing is the resales HBD competing with PRs in the expensive resale market or High-priced Executive […]

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