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HDB Flat Vs Private Property? How Would You Choose

Singapore is one of the world’s most attractive countries for property investment. With strong economic fundamentals and a stable political climate, property prices continue to go up despite the COVID-19 pandemic and political unrest in other parts of the world.

Many HDB resale flats are transacting at the million-dollar range and private property prices continue to go up.

In today’s article, we look at HDB flat vs private property and factors to help you choose.

Government grants

The Singapore government has provided housing grants for those buying HDB flats, both new and resale, to make public housing affordable and ensure that all citizens are able to own a home.

Those looking to buy a private condo or landed property, obviously, are not eligible for the grants.

Therefore, buying an HDB flat, in this case, makes sense (unless you are extremely loaded and have no need for the grant).

Singapore citizens and PRs are eligible for various housing grants such as Enhanced Housing Grant (EHG), Family Grant and Proximity Housing Grant (PHG).

The grant amounts are listed below.

HDB Type

CPF Housing Grant

Income Ceiling

Grant Amount

BTO / Resale Flat

Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (EHG)


$5,000 - $80,000

Resale Flat

Family Grant


$30,000 - $50,000

Resale Flat

Proximity Housing Grant (PHG)


$10,000 - $30,000

Resale issues

For HDB flats, there is a Minimum Occupancy Period (MOP), meaning you have to live there for a minimum of 5 years before you can sell it or rent it out.

For private properties, there is no MOP as you can sell it anytime you wish to, but there is the Seller Stamp Duty (SSD).

In a bid to curb property market speculation, the government had implemented the following SSD:

  • Sell within the 1st Year – 12% SSD

  • Sell between 1st and 2nd Year – 8% SSD

  • Sell between 2nd and 3rd Year – 4% SSD

  • Sell after more than 3 years – No SSD

For HDB flats, you do not face SSD but there is a resale levy if you sell the first flat and buy a second subsidized HDB flat or an Executive Condominium (EC) direct from the developer.

The amount payable differs for the different flat types and is listed below.

Source: HDB

Housing loans and downpayment

For private properties, you cannot take a housing loan from the HDB. You can only take housing loans from banks or financial institutions. The loan amount and interest also vary for HDB loans and bank loans.

For private properties, you will need to pay at least a 25% down payment of which 5% must be in cash and the remaining in either cash or CPF.

That would mean you can only borrow up to 75% for the purchase of the property.

However, you have to take note of the Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR).

The current TDSR threshold is at 55%, meaning a borrower's gross monthly income that goes towards repaying monthly loan obligations such as car loans, study loans, personal loans etc, including the loan being applied for, cannot be more than 55%.

If your TDSR exceeds the threshold, you may have to fork out a higher down payment.

In the case of an HDB flat, there is no cash down payment as you can use CPF funds and you can borrow up to 85% of the purchase price of the HDB flat.


All HDB flats are on a 99-year leasehold, which is similar to an EC and many private condos.

Some people may worry about what happens to their home when the lease is up.

The government has a Lease Buyback Scheme (LBS), which allows you to sell some of the leases back to the government and yet continue to live there.

It is also a way to monetise your flat, receiving a steady income for retirement.

Whilst most private properties are also on a 99-year leasehold, there are some which are freehold or 999-year leasehold, which essentially means the property will stay with the family forever, passing down from generation to generation.

In summary, there are pros and cons to buying an HDB flat or private condo and landed.

It is more important to do your due diligence and ensure that you make a prudent financial decision when choosing a home.


Are you looking for private properties or the latest HDB resale listings? Head to to browse your preference of properties for sale with 3D Map.

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


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