top of page

[Part 1/4] Buying Guide on BTO Vs Resale Flat: Affordability and Eligibility

Can’t decide on buying a resale flat or applying for a BTO?

In today’s article, we look at the different eligibility conditions and affordability for the different flat types.

As a new HDB flat (BTO) is subsidised and meant for Singapore Citizens, all applicants and essential occupiers must meet several eligibility conditions such as age, income and property ownership.

Eligible Applicant/Family Nucleus

You can apply for a BTO under various schemes such as Public Scheme, Fiancé/Fiancée Scheme, and Orphans Scheme.


At least 1 of the applicants must be a Singapore Citizen (SC), and at least 1 other applicant is a SC or Permanent Resident (PR).


At least 21 years old

Property ownership

You and all co-applicants / occupiers listed in the application form do not own other property in Singapore or overseas and have not disposed of any within the last 30 months.

Once the application is successful, all applicants and occupiers listed in the flat application cannot invest in private residential property from the date of flat application till after the 5-year Minimum Occupation Period (MOP).

Income ceiling

As an HDB flat is public housing and subsidised, there is an income ceiling of which you must be within. The income ceiling varies for the different flat types and is shown in the table below.

Flat Type

Income Ceiling (Average Gross Monthly Household Income)

4 room or bigger

​$14,000 $21,000 (extended or multi-generation family

3 room

​$7,000 or $14,000 depending on the project

Source: HDB

If you are applying for a multi-generation (3 Gen) flat, the set groups and income ceiling calculation are as follows:

Household Type

Income of Group A (Cannot exceed $14,000)

Income of Group B (Cannot exceed $14,000)

Extended Family Income Ceiling

​Parents* with single children

Parents and 1 of the single children

​Remaining single children

​Group A + Group B must not exceed $21,000

Parents* with married children^

Parents and remaining working children (if any)

The married children and their children (if any)


Source: HDB

Eligibility Schemes

There are 3 schemes under which you can apply under Public Scheme, Fiancé/Fiancée Scheme, Single/Joint Singles Scheme and Orphans Scheme.

(1) Public Scheme

In order to apply under this scheme, you should form a family nucleus with any of the following:

  • Spouse, and children (if any),

  • Parents, and siblings (if any).

  • Children under your legal custody, care and control (if widowed/divorced#)

For unmarried parents who want to apply for a BTO, you can write in to HDB using the e-Feedback Form. HDB will then contact you soon for a meeting to understand the situation and circumstances and then, make a decision.

For those applying for a 3Gen flat, the applications must be of any of the following:

  • Married/engaged couple* and parent(s)^

  • Widowed/divorced with children under legal custody, care and control# and parent(s)^

* The couple must be eligible to buy a flat under the Public Scheme or Fiancé/Fiancée Scheme.

^ At least 1 parent must be a Singapore Citizen or Singapore Permanent Resident.

# If the care and control of your children under the age of 21 are shared with your ex-spouse, you must obtain his/her written agreement before you can list your children in a flat application.

(2) Fiancé / Fiancée Scheme

In the above scheme, the family nucleus will be with you and your spouse-to-be.

Under this scheme, you need to solemnise your marriage within 3 months of collecting your keys to your flat. If your marriage is registered overseas, you have to submit a photocopy of your marriage certificate to HDB.

If either your fiancé or fiancée is between 18 and 21 years old, consent must be given by his/ her parents in the application.

(3) Singles Scheme / Joint Singles Scheme

To apply under the single scheme, you have to be a Singapore citizen, at least 35 years old, and either single or divorced.

However, if you are widowed, orphaned or a single parent, you can apply under this scheme from age 21.

But there is a catch – you can only apply for a 2-room Flexi unit in non-mature estates, such as Sengkang, Punggol, Sembawang, Woodlands, Choa Chu Kang and Tengah (current at the time of writing).

For the joint singles scheme, you and all the co-applicants must be SCs, unmarried or divorced, aged 35 and above, except for those who are widowed or an orphan, then the age requirement is 21 years and above.

(3.1) Orphans Scheme

To apply under this scheme, you must include at least 1 single (i.e.unmarried, divorced, or widowed) SC or SPR sibling as a co-applicant or occupier in your application.

Both applicants must be orphans and single, i.e. unmarried, divorced or widowed and at least 1 of the deceased parents was a Singapore Citizen or Singapore Permanent Resident.

Please note that under the Orphans Scheme, siblings cannot buy/rent flats separately.

First-timers versus second-timers

If you are applying for a BTO for the first time, you will enjoy greater priority and other privileges.

First-timer means you’ve never received any form of housing subsidy or similar benefit. If your spouse is a second-timer, but you’re a first-timer, you’ll both enjoy first-timer benefits when you apply as a couple.

First-timer privileges include a higher proportion of flat supply and more ballot chances.

For first-time applicants, more flats are set aside during the BTO launches. If you had been unsuccessful in previous BTO applications, you will be given an additional ballot chance in subsequent applications.

Resale flats

Buying a resale flat is less complicated than applying for a BTO.

Firstly, there is no income ceiling for buying a resale flat.

However, the income ceiling will apply when it comes to CPF Housing Grants and HDB housing loans.

To be eligible to buy a resale flat, the following criteria must be met:

  • At least one family member is a Singapore Citizen (SC) or both buyers are Singapore Permanent Residents (PRs)

  • At least 21 years and above if you're buying in an approved family nucleus, or 35 years if you're buying as a single

  • Within the Ethnic Integration Policy and Singapore Permanent Resident quota of the block/neighbourhood

  • Not own any other residential properties or any houses/buildings/land whether locally or overseas, or have disposed of them in 6 months before the resale flat application

If you meet the above criteria, the schemes that you can purchase a resale flat are the same as the above BTO schemes such as

  • Public Scheme

  • Fiancé/ Fiancée Scheme

  • Single Singaporean Citizen Scheme

In the next article, we will take a look at the HDB proximity housing grant.

Are you looking for a new home? Head to to browse your preference of properties for sale or rent in Singapore.

Have a question? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook post.


bottom of page