Are you ready to buy your first HDB flat? Buying a HDB flat is a life accomplishment for many. This pivotal moment marks the start of adulthood for many Singaporeans. Undoubtedly, the process of buying a house can be daunting. From finding your ideal location to one that is within your budget, there are many factors to assess.
With a mound of factors to consider, making a decision may seem overwhelming, but fret not -- we have come up with three key considerations to guide you through the process of purchasing your dream house.
1. Location and Amenities
Singapore has three different regions -- Core Central Region (CCR), Rest of Central Region (RCR) and Outside Central Region (OCR). Due to locality and prestige, each region has different housing prices. For example, the real estate market will be more competitive in popular districts such as District 9, 10, and 11.
Homebuyers tend to pay more for housing in these districts. Hence, when choosing your ideal location, you should consider the district it is located in to fit your budget.
For example, with a S$500,000 budget, you could purchase a 5-room flat in Woodlands. However, you would probably get an old 3-room flat with the same budget at a more prestigious location like Balestier or Tiong Bahru instead.
Apart from home districts, there are two other factors that can help narrow down your options -- HDB's proximity grant and the Prime Location Housing (PLH) model.
Firstly, if you intend to buy a resale flat, you might want to pick a location within 4 km of your parents' house. You will be entitled to a S$20,000 HDB proximity grant. To check if you qualify for this grant, you can use the Distance Enquiry for Proximity Housing Grant calculator.
Secondly, if you plan to purchase a BTO flat in a prime location, the latest announcement of the PLH Model will affect you. Some key features of this new model include a longer minimum occupation period, tighter rental conditions, priority allocation quota for Married Child Priority Scheme (MCPS) and more.
Therefore, these two factors are worth considering when deciding which location to purchase your HDB flat as they have a significant impact on the value and cost of your house. After you have narrowed down a few locations, you should also survey the neighbourhoods before making your final decision.
If public transport is your regular mode of transport, you might want to find a flat close to a bus stop or MRT station. On the other hand, finding a flat near an expressway would be more convenient if you drive daily. You should also consider amenities such as coffee shops, supermarkets, malls, hospitals, playgrounds, schools and hawkers.
2. Financing Your Flat in Singapore (HDB Loan vs Bank Loan)
For most Singaporeans, home financing is a necessity. Buying a home is one of the greatest financial commitments you will ever make. Hence, you must pick a home loan that is right for you. You can either opt for a HDB loan or a bank loan when you buy a HDB flat. But what are some differences between these two types of housing loans in Singapore?
If you opt for a HDB loan, you are looking at an interest rate of 2.6%. The Housing & Development Board offers housing loans with a concessionary interest rate pegged at 0.1% above the CPF Ordinary Account (OA) interest rate. This rate, however, is not as competitive as many other bank loans. Despite the high-interest rate, there are still some noteworthy features of HDB loans. Firstly, HDB loans have a higher loan-to-value (LTV) limit of 90%. Secondly, the required down payment can be paid using CPF, housing grants or cash. Lastly, if you want to repay your HDB loan sooner, you can do so without a penalty fee.
HDB Housing Loan Eligibility Summary
- HDB loans are only applicable for the purchase of HDB flats
- At least one buyer must be a Singapore citizen
- Family's monthly income must not exceed $14,000 ($21,000 for extended families)
- Buyers must not own any private residence
- Must dispose of private residential property more than 30 months before the HDB loan application
- Buyers are only eligible for 2 HDB Home loans in lifetime in Singapore (may not apply for a 3rd)
Bank loans are a more affordable and flexible option. What are some key features that make bank loans stand out? Firstly, there are fewer eligibility requirements. While HDB loans require one buyer to be a Singaporean, bank loans do not. Secondly, bank loans offer a more competitive rate. This means that borrowing is cheaper for buyers. In Singapore, the average rate for a bank loan is between 1.2% to 1.5%. Moreover, borrowers can also refinance their loans at more competitive rates every few years.
Home Mortgage Loan Calculator (Singapore)
To get a better understanding of how much a bank loan will cost, you can use the home loan tool below. This mortgage calculator uses live interest rates that are currently available in Singapore. This is critical due to the fact that bank's home loan rates tend to fluctuate often.
Find the Cheapest Home Loans in Singapore
Key Differences Between HDB Loan and Bank Loan
|HDB Loan||Bank Loan|
|Down Payment||10% of purchase price (Can be paid in full using CPF’s Ordinary Account)||25% of purchase price (At least 5% must be paid in cash)|
|Interest Rate||2.6% (0.1% above the prevailing OA interest rate)||Lower than HDB loan interest rate (Dependent on market conditions)|
|Lock-in Period||No penalty for early repayment||Most banks have an average lock in period of two to three years. Early repayment would usually incur a penalty that is usually 1.5% of the loan amount.|
3. Renovating Your Flat (Renovation Loans)
Remodelling your home to make it your dream home is one of the most exciting parts of buying a flat. Fancy a luxury contemporary interior design style? Or do you prefer a more traditional interior design style? The best part of owning a home is that you can renovate it to your liking. However, renovations can be pricey. To ease your financial burden, you might want to opt for a home renovation loan.
Renovation Loans in Singapore
1. Maybank Renovation Loan
|Maturity||Processing Fee||Interest Rate (Rest Rate)||Monthly Instalment||Total Cost|
|*Assuming loan of S$15,000|
2. HSBC Personal Loan
|Loan Duration||Flat Rate||Processing Fee||Effective Interest Rate||Monthly Instalment||Total Cost|
|*Assuming S$10,000 loan and income of S$30,000; includes processing waiver & online cashback|
3. Friday Finance
|Tenure||Interest Rate||Admin Fee||Monthly Repayment Amount||Total Cost|
|*Assuming loan of S$15,000|
Plan For Your Dream Home Today
Buying a home is one of the most momentous decisions you will ever make in your lifetime. To recap, the three key factors to consider when buying a HDB flat in Singapore are location, renovation loans as well as housing and mortgage loans.
Do remember to do your own research so that you have a clear understanding of all your available options. Kickstart your home buying process and turn your dreams into reality today!