Guide to the New Measures to Help First-Timer Families Buy A HDB Flat

Wondering how the new measures to help first-time families buy a home affect you? We break down what exactly these new measures are so you can have a better grasp when you apply for your HDB BTO.

ValueChampion Editorial Team

by ValueChampion Editorial Team on Feb 14, 2024

young family at home

First-time home-owners in Singapore can now take advantage of more enhanced housing measures that can help them improve their HDB Build-To-Order (BTO) applications. According to National Development Minister, Desmond Lee, the new measures will allow first-time HDB applicants secure a new flat more quickly and with more supporting grants to ease financial burdens.

If you are planning to buy an HDB flat in Singapore as your first home and need a guide to your HDB application, here are five new measures you should look out for.

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apartment blocks
Source: Unsplash

1. Introduction of The Parents and Married Couples priority category

For starters, a new priority category was introduced in August 2023. Under this category, first-time home-owners in Singapore with Singaporean children aged 18 and below as well as married couples aged 40 and below, will get their hands on a BTO flat more quickly.

This new Parents and Married Couples priority category, or FT(PMC) in short, is only available to families that have no home ownership in Singapore or have not sold a residential property in the past. Also, only first-timer applicants who have not had a chance to book a flat in the past five years will be eligible. If you have been invited to buy an HDB BTO flat in Singapore in the past but did not do so, you will be considered a second-timer and not qualify for this new category.

Related: Thinking of Buying Your First Home? Don’t Forget About These 5 Expenses When Creating Your Budget

2. Increased Public and Private Homes Supply

First-time home-owners in Singapore can look forward to increased supplies of residential properties. About 100,000 private and public homes are expected to be completed between 2023 and 2025.

Even if you are only eyeing on BTO flats, the supply of new BTO units hitting the market remain strong. In 2023 alone, 22,780 new HDB BTO flats were introduced. A further 37,000 units are slated to be delivered over 2024 and 2025 to meet soaring demands in Singapore. Those who wish to move nearer to parents living in mature estate will also find more BTO flats being made available in those areas to meet their needs.

If you are eligible for the FT(PMC), you will be in the prime spot to access more new flats than applicants in other categories. 40% of BTO flats together with 60% of Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) units are reserved for FT(PMC) applicants. This means not only will you have fewer applicants to compete with, but there are also ample flat choices to select from.

Related: Sale of Balance Flats vs Open Booking Flats, vs BTO Flats vs Resale Flats – Which Should You Get in 2023?

HDB flat Singapore
Source: Unsplash

3. Additional Ballot Chance for BTO and SBF Applications

One of the enhanced measures to help first-time home-owners in Singapore in FT(PMC) is the extra ballot chance for HDB BTO and SBF applications. This is to help young families secure their flats at a much faster pace and settle down quickly with minimum delays.

Compared to other applicants, those under the FT(PMC) will receive one more ballot chance than other first-timer applicants and two more than second-timer applicants. The new ballot structure took effect from the August 2023 BTO exercise.

Home Buyer CategoryNo. of Ballot Chances
First-Timer Family/ Couple2

It is good to note that all first-time applicants, whether FT(PMC) or not, will get one additional chance for every subsequent unsuccessful BTO application in the non-mature estates if they have been unsuccessful for two or more BTO applications in the non-mature estates previously.

4. More Grant for Resale Flats

If for some reason you need to pick out a resale flat instead of a BTO unit, there are also new benefits that you can tap into. With effect from 14 February 2023, first-timer families buying two- to four-room resale flats can tap into S$80,000 worth of CPF Housing Grant, previously limited at S$50,000. The grant limit for buying five-room or larger units has also been increased from S$40,000 to S$50,000.

Resale FlatsNew CPF Grant
Two- to four-room flatsS$80,000

(If one of the applicants is a Singapore Permanent Resident (SPR), the grant is reduced to S$70,000)

Five-room or larger flatsS$50,000

(If one of the applicants is a SPR, the grant is reduced to S$40,000)

To be eligible for the CPF grant, at least one applicant must be a first-timer to receive the housing grant. He or she must not have taken any housing subsidy in the past. Additionally, all applicants and occupiers must not own any local or overseas private property, have disposed of any private property in the last 30 months and must not be buying an HDB flat that has less than 20 years in tenure or has been announced for 20 years of tenure or announced for the Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS).

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5. Tighter Rules for First-time BTO Flat Applications

The increasing demand for BTO flats has triggered the need to implement stricter rules during application to ensure more efficient allocation of flats. In the past, nearly 40% of HDB BTO flat applicants in Singapore did not turn up or decline to book a flat at their selection appointments. This not only disrupts the application process but also causes delays and inconveniences for genuine buyers who have urgent housing needs.

To mitigate this issue, sales exercises from August 2023 onwards have streamlined the BTO application process by downgrading first-timer applicants who do not select a BTO flat to second-timer status in subsequent flat applications for a year. The measure is intended to reduce the number of people hogging the queue while clearing the line for quicker BTO flat applications for real buyers.

handing over house key
Source: Pexels


If you are a first-time home-owner who is serious about buying a HDB BTO or resale flat in Singapore, make sure to tap into the benefits of the new measures when making your HDB application. These measures are introduced to help you set up your new home faster and with more financial support.

Do not let the cost of setting up your dream home derail you. There are many home loans for HDB flats in the market that offer affordable rates to help you finance your home with ease.

Not sure which home loan is suitable for your housing choice? Our research analysts have shortlisted some of the best home loan packages for HDB homes.

Find All The Best Home Loans in SingaporeFind Out More

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