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[Part 3/4] Buying Guide on BTO Vs Resale Flat: Size, Location and Lease

In today’s article, we take a look at the size, location and lease.

Flat sizes

Talking with folks living in older HDB towns, one of the most common topics is how small the new BTO flats are.

According to the HDB, the later flats are indeed smaller than those built 30 years ago.

Almost all flat types built in the 1980s and 1990s were bigger than the current ones. The table below will show the difference in sizes for the various flat types.

Flat type

1980s/1990s size (Approx.)

Current size (Approx.)

​3-room flats

70 sqm

65 sqm

4-room flats

110 sqm

95 sqm

5-room flats

130 sqm

110 sqm

Not only are the sizes different, the layout between BTOs and resale flats are also different.

Older flats tend to have a big open squarish living room, with a huge kitchen cum dining space. The common toilet is also located within the kitchen area.

For the current BTO flats layout, the living and dining space is located in the main area of the home, alongside a rather small kitchen. The bedrooms are located along a small walkway with the common toilet nearby.


Young couples would prefer the BTO flats’ layout as it provides a clear division of space and provides some form of privacy.

Families with children may prefer the older flats’ layout as it is squarish in shape and allows more options when it comes to renovating and customisation.

Location of flats

A check on the HDB website shows the upcoming November new launches of BTO flats are generally in the non-mature estates of Tengah, Choa Chu Kang, Hougang and Jurong West, with only 430 units available in the Kallang/Whampoa area.

So you can imagine the demand for those 430 flats, which is guaranteed to be oversubscribed many times.

Applying for a BTO flat would mean living in areas some distance from the city centre.

For resale flats, you can choose which area of Singapore you want to live in.

There are HDB flats in the central area (Pinnacle@Duxtion, Chinatown) but be prepared to pay a lot more than the average cost of an HDB flat. If you want a convenient location, there are flats in areas near the city such as Queenstown, Bukit Merah and Toa Payoh.

So, if the location is a key factor, the obvious choice would be a resale flat.

Remaining lease

Buying a BTO flat means having a fresh 99-year lease, and everything is brand new.

A resale flat obviously would have a lesser lease period. So it is important to check the lease remaining, as the lesser the lease, the smaller the value of your flat.

Even the HDB lease buyback scheme has a minimum lease period of 20 years.

Choosing BTO or Resale?

If location is of paramount importance, then a resale flat would be your consideration.

Older HDB flats are also larger in size with a squarish layout, making them ideal for families with children.

BTOs are generally in the outlying areas and slightly smaller in size, but everything is brand new and you do not have to worry much about wear and tear.

BTOs have a fresh 99-year lease as compared to a shorter remaining lease for resale flats.

Whether you are looking for a BTO or resale flat, do check out with its smart search functions to help find your next dream home.

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


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