“Can a Singapore Permanent Resident buy an HDB flat?” is one of the most frequently asked questions that we often get asked.
The short answer is, yes, a Singapore Permanent Resident (SPR) can buy an HDB flat in Singapore. However, there are some criteria HDB has put in place for an SPR to be eligible to buy an HDB flat, such as:
An SPR is only allowed to buy an HDB resale flat
Like all HDB properties, it comes with its own set of eligibility conditions. For an SPR, you must qualify under the HDB Public Scheme or HDB Fiancé/Fiancée Scheme
An SPR is not allowed to buy new, subsidised HDB flats sold by the government such as BTO flats or Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) units unless you’re applying with another Singapore Citizen (SC)
So, if you’re an SPR looking to buy an HDB resale flat, or if you want to know HDB’s resale eligibility conditions, this article is for you.
How Can an SPR Buy an HDB Flat in Singapore?
First off, if you’re wondering whether a single SPR can buy an HDB flat – the answer is, unfortunately, no, even if it’s a resale flat. Under the HDB rules, an SPR can only buy a resale HDB flat with another SPR or SC under two schemes: the HDB Public Scheme, which is buying with a family unit (i.e. spouse, children, siblings, parents), or the Fiancé/Fiancée Scheme, which is well, your fiancé or fiancée.
In other words, a single SPR can’t buy an HDB resale flat alone.
Apart from that, there are other HDB resale flat eligibility conditions that SPRs must fulfil:
You’ll need to be at least 21 years old
You must be an SPR for at least three years
If you’re unmarried and buying with a family member, at least one of them has to be an SC or SPR
If you’re buying as an SPR household, all SPR occupiers (family or co-owners) must have had SPR status for at least three years
You can’t sell or lease your flat out during the Minimum Occupation Period (MOP)
You’ll also need to meet the Ethnic Integration Policy (EIP) or SPR quota for your block/neighbourhood when submitting the resale flat application
All buyers in the HDB resale flat application cannot own any private property in Singapore or overseas. You’ll need to sell your property before or within six months of buying the HDB resale flat
HDB Public Scheme and HDB Fiancé/Fiancée Scheme for SPRs Buying HDB Resale Flats
HDB Resale Flat Eligibility: HDB Public Scheme
There must be at least one listed occupant who is either an SC or SPR. If there is no SC in the family, all owners and essential occupiers must all be SPRs for at least three years.
An SPR buyer needs to form a family nucleus with one of the following groups:
Spouse and children,
Parents (If you are a single SPR purchasing with parents, at least one of them must be an SC or SPR),
Children under your legal custody, care, and control (for widowed/ divorced persons) or
Orphan siblings who are single
Under the HDB Public Scheme, an SPR must form a family nucleus with a spouse and children (if any) or with his parents. If widowed or divorced, there must be at least one child under his legal custody.
For divorcees, if the child is below 21 and the former partner shares in the responsibility of taking care of the child, you need her written permission before you are allowed to list that child as an occupant when applying for an HDB resale flat.
We’ve also received multiple queries on whether two SPR siblings can buy an HDB resale flat. For SPRs purchasing a resale flat with their orphan siblings, they would need to ensure that all siblings listed in the same application are not applying, owning, or renting a flat separately. Additionally, one of your deceased parents has to be an SC or SPR.
For more information about resale HDB flats, here’s a guide on how to buy one in Singapore.
HDB Resale Flat Eligibility: Fiancé/Fiancée Scheme
HDB resale eligibility criteria
You and your soon-to-be spouse must either be an SPR or SPC. If there is no SC in the family, all owners and essential occupiers must have been SPRs for at least three years
Your fiancé or fiancée must be listed in the application as either a co-applicant if 21 years old or above, or an occupant
Under this scheme, you are set to create a family nucleus with your soon-to-be spouse, and it is expected that both of you will be tying the knot. Hence, you need to officially get married in Singapore within three months of completing the purchase of an HDB resale flat.
If the marriage is done overseas, submit a copy of the marriage certificate to HDB. There are also other special conditions:
If your fiancé or fiancée is 18 to 21 years old, his or her parents must approve the purchase of a resale HDB flat. If your soon-to-be spouse is under 18 years old, you need to get a Special Marriage Licence from the Ministry of Social and Family Development and show this to HDB
Divorcees need to show interim judgment (Decree Nisi), court order, and final judgment (Decree Nisi Absolute)
So whilst a single SPR is not allowed to purchase a resale HDB flat alone, he/she is allowed to do so with his or her parents. A divorced SPR with children can also purchase an HDB resale flat, likewise for soon-to-wed couples consisting of an SPR and SC, or two SPRs.
How Do the EIP and SPR Quota Work?
If you pass the general requirements and you are eligible for either the HDB Public Scheme or Fiancé/Fiancée Scheme, there are still two hurdles to overcome before you can purchase an HDB resale flat – namely the quota under the EIP and the SPR quota.
If there is at least one SC or one Malaysian SPR among the buyers of an HDB resale flat, you only need to qualify for the EIP. But if there’s a non-Malaysian SPR, you must pass both the EIP and SPR quota.
Also, to comply with the EIP quota, the buyer must belong to the same race or ethnic group as the seller of the HDB resale flat, and there must still be space for your ethnic group in the HDB block or neighbourhood where you intend to buy. The quotas are updated every first day of the month. To check the EIP quota of the place where you’re buying an HDB resale flat, please visit HDB’s e-Service.
The aim of EIP (which applies to all HDB flats), is to help maintain a good racial mix in HDB communities to promote racial integration and harmony. For the SPR quota, the purpose is to facilitate the integration of SPRs into local communities. Malaysians are excluded from this quota given their close cultural and historical similarities with Singaporeans.
According to the SPR quota, non-Malaysian SPR households can’t be more than 5% of the households in the neighbourhood and not more than 8% in a block.
HDB quota policy
What it means when an SPR buys an HDB flat
Do you need to adhere to this quota?
Limit to the total percentage of block/neighbourhood for any ethnicity, which can be checked on HDB.
Yes, for all SPRs
The total proportion of non-Malaysian SPR households within the block (5%) and neighbourhood (8%)
Yes – If your household does not have any non-Malaysian SPR or SC
No – If there is at least one SC or non-Malaysian SPR
Can an SPR Receive CPF Housing Grants to Buy an HDB Resale Flat?
To be eligible for grants, your household must comprise at least one SC. If that’s the case, then you can receive a grant amount of up to $190,000 if you’re both first-time applicants.
Enhanced Housing Grant (EHG)
Up to $80,000
Up to $80,000
Proximity Housing Grant (PHG)
Up to $30,000
How to Buy an HDB Resale Flat
1. Register Your Intent to Buy
After checking your eligibility, EIP quota, and SPR quota, you can register your intention to buy a resale flat on the HDB Resale Portal with your Singpass account. You would also need to fill in the particulars of all occupiers, such as your spouse or family members. After registering your intent to buy, you can then accept any Option to Purchase (OTP) documents from potential sellers. Note that the validity of your Intent to Buy is 12 months.
2. Apply for Housing Grants
After registering your Intent to Buy, you can also apply for HDB grants on the HDB portal. As mentioned above the three main grants available are EHG, Family Grant, and PHG. You may find the grants that you’re eligible for on the HDB portal.
3. Apply for Your Housing Eligibility Loan (HLE) or Bank Loan
If you’re planning on taking an HDB loan, you need to secure the HLE letter. However, you may also consider taking a bank loan but take note of the current interest rates. Each bank has different eligibility requirements so you need to check with your preferred bank. If you need help, speak to our Mortgage Experts for free.
4. Negotiate Price and Sign OTP
After sorting out your finances and finding your dream home, you will need to negotiate the price with the seller. To avoid overpaying your flat or cash over valuation (COV), you need to compare the price of resale flats in the estate or block.
One way to do it is via the HDB Resale Portal, or find similar flats on PropertyGuru. After negotiating the price, you can sign and secure the OTP and pay the Option Fee. For HDB flats, the OTP can range from $1 to $1,000.
5. Get a Valuation Report From HDB
If you’re financing your flat with your CPF or taking a loan from HDB or a bank, you need to request a valuation report from HDB. The report will allow you to understand how much the flat is worth, as well as the basis for your CPF and loan usage. If the price you’ve negotiated for is above the valuation, then you need to pay COV in cash.
6. Exercise OTP and Submit the HDB Resale Flat Application
If you’re happy to proceed, you will need to pay the option exercise fee (not more than $5,000) within 21 days after signing the OTP document. Then you and the seller must submit the resale application on the HDB Resale Portal. If HDB accepts your application, you’ll need to submit the supporting documents (including an HLE letter or Letter of Offer from a bank) and pay the relevant fees such as admin fees, HDB resale application fees, and conveyancing fees.
Those wondering how much down payment an SPR buying an HDB would need to pay will be pleased to know that it is the same percentage as what an SC would pay at 20% (HDB loan) or 25% (bank loan). However, SPR buying HDB without an accompanying SC would need to pay a 5% Additional Buyers Stamp Duty (ABSD) for their first home purchase.
7. Attend the Resale Completion Appointment and Collect Keys
If the HDB resale flat application is successful, HDB will notify you to attend the Resale Completion Appointment, and both buyer and seller would need to attend the appointment for the transfer of ownership and collect the keys to your new home!