HDB Resale Flat – What to know BEFORE buying Part 1

Today’s blog is about what you need to know before buying HDB resale Flat. If you have been thinking about buying a HDB resale flat and you’re not sure about what you need to have, what you need to prepare and not sure if you can buy a HDB resale flat or not, today's blog may give you some ideas to get started.

We received similar questions from people from all walks of life. Private property owners looking to downgrade and buy HDB resale flat for retirement and couples getting married and so on. 

To many young couples in Singapore, buying a HDB flat is often the first major question they would ask as they get ready to settle down as a married couple. This is a fairly common question asks by young adults in Singapore. So much so, the asking of such question is almost equivalent to a marriage proposal.

What is HDB Flat?

First of all, what is HDB flat? HDB flat is part of a public housing scheme managed by Housing and Development Board or in short we call them HDB.

The public housing scheme’s originally were meant to provide affordable housing to Singaporeans during the growing years after Singapore Independence. The objective remained the same today.

However, over the years as the country progresses, HDB began to introduce various housing schemes to help the various groups of people living in Singapore. As such, there are many eligibility criteria to meet before you can buy a HDB flat.

Eligibility Criteria


The first criteria is you must be a Singapore citizen. But if you’re a Singapore Permanent Resident or a foreigner, you can still buy a HDB resale flat but you must be married to a Singapore citizen.

If both of you as a couple are Singapore Permanent Resident, you are eligible but you can only buy the HDB flat after 3 years of becoming a Singapore PR. So, only after 3 years of becoming a Singapore PR then you can buy a HDB resale flat.


The next criteria is your age. Like all properties in Singapore, you must be at least be 21 years old and above to own a property. For HDB flats, not only you must be at least 21 years old, you must also be married. And if you’re not married, you must be 35 years old and above before you are eligible to buy a HDB resale flat as a Single.

Family Nucleus

As HDB flat is part of a public housing scheme provided by the government for the citizens, having a family and to give a family a roof over their heads is an important consideration. 

HDB has defined several family nucleus configuration such as Public Scheme, Fiancé/Fiancée scheme, and Single Singapore Citizen scheme, just to name a few .... 😀 they look at each individual application on how the applicants form the family nucleus before you can qualify to buy a HDB resale flat.

So, you need to know which family nucleus you fall in before you can qualify. If you don’t fit into any of the schemes, you may not be able to buy the HDB resale flat.

If you’re unsure how you and your family fit into the family nucleus scheme, drop me a message below and i can help determine for you.

Ethnic Integration Policy (EIP) and SPR Quota

The next eligibility criteria for buying a HDB resale flat is the Ethnic Integration Policy and Singapore Permanent Resident Quota.

Singapore is one country in the world that is ranked highly in racial harmony and ethnic integration. And therefore, it is not surprising we have measures in place to ensure we maintain and preserve this precious harmony living amongst all residents. 

This is one of the check marks you need to meet before you can qualify to buy a HDB resale flat in the area of your choice. 

This quota gets updated on a monthly basis, based on the current regulation. If you want to know the quota status, let me know.

Special Conditions

And finally, the special conditions. There two important conditions you must be aware of for HDB resale flat.

For HDB resale flats, there is NO income ceiling for buying a HDB resale flat. This is different from buying a BTO flat. But do keep in mind that when you are applying for CPF Housing Grant and HDB Housing Loan, income ceiling becomes an important factor.

The second condition is ownership of properties. If you currently own a HDB flat or a private property either in Singapore or elsewhere, you must sell it away within six months after buying a HDB resale flat. 

Summary of Eligibility Criteria

So, to summarize all the above...before buying a HDB resale flat, you need to ensure you’re eligible to own the flat first. And to know if you can buy, you must meet the citizenship, age, family nucleus, EIP and SPR Quota, and the two special conditions.

Eligibility Criteria Summary

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
    Family Nucleus
  4. 4
    EIP and SPR Quota
  5. 5
    Special Conditions

Once you’ve passed all that, you need to work out the financial calculations and determine if you qualify for any of the CPF Housing grants that’s made available. These grants will help you lessen the amount of cash and loans you need to take. 

We do this calculation all the time for our clients and if you want to know where you are in this buying journey, let’s have a chat.

What is the next Step?

Now, all the above, they are all very broad eligibility criteria. You may be wondering, Are there exceptions? Yes, there are but i cannot possibly cover all of them here. 

If you have a special case, or any case at all to discuss, drop me a message and let me know your situation. We can sit down to explore and determine what options you have to consider when buying a HDB resale flat.

I hope the above is useful to you. Do let me know too if there’s any topic you want to know more of. I’ll create more blogs to answer your questions. 

If you want to know more about us, check us out here at About Us. If you want to reach us, contact us here

The next blog post you should read is Financial Planning before buying HDB resale flat. It’ll help you prepare and do some calculation before you even start looking for HDB flat to buy. Do check it out! So, until my next blog post....take care and all the best.

PS: Most of the information above is obtained from HDB website at www.hdb.gov.sg. Feel free to visit them but let us know if you need any assistance. Update: 20 Dec 2019.