How To Be Financially Prepared to Buy An HDB Flat Before You Turn 35

Home ownership in Singapore is an expensive affair. Here are some useful tips for singles who want to be able to afford an HDB before they turn 35.

Priscilla Lee

by Priscilla Lee on Jan 26, 2024

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If owning an HDB flat has always been a dream of yours, your best bet to make that dream come true is to start saving early. While the growth in HDB prices might be slowing in recent months, it still saw a 4.9% increase over 2023 causing how to afford an HDB flat in Singapore to become a rising concern amongst home buyers.

HDB resale price index 1994 to 2023
Source: Housing & Development Board (HDB)

Even if you think you can keep the cost of home ownership in Singapore low by opting for a BTO flat, perhaps you need to rethink your finances too. A quick comparison between past and current BTO launches also indicated a slight increase in new flat prices.

The May 2023 BTO HDB Flat prices indicated that an HDB two-room flexi flat, which is the only flat type that Singaporean singles from the age of 35 is eligible to purchase, ranged between S$125,000 to S$155,000 in non-mature towns and S$165,000 to $203,000 for mature towns. The price range has increased from the previous August 2022 BTO Exercise which sold the same flat type in non-mature towns at prices from S$97,000 and mature towns from S$198,000.

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

How Singles Can Save for HDB Home Ownership in Singapore

If you are a first-time HDB flat buyer, do note that you must be a single person who is at least 35 years old and your monthly household income should not be more than S$7,000. You must meet these two conditions before you are allowed to buy a new two-room HDB flexi flat or a resale flat of up to five-room configuration.

Do not fret if you are merely in your twenties because this means you will have more time to start saving for your future home. As long as you remain mindful about your finances, it is really not that hard to own your dream home.

Here are a few tips to help you save up and keep any unnecessary debts away.

Related: Types of HDB Flats Single Singaporeans Are Eligible to Buy

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Source: Unsplash

Get Smart About Saving and Budgeting

Start with the right budgeting method that brings a systematic approach to how to save, spend, and grow your money. Whether you choose the 50/30/20 method or the Envelope System, the crux of the matter lies in deliberate management of your income so that you can limit overspending and cultivate long-term saving habits.

Be very clear about your financial goal, which in this case is to save enough to buy a HDB flat. Then, evaluate your current financial status and how to afford a Singapore HDB flat with the best budgeting strategy that can help you achieve that dream within a specific timeframe.

Related: The Best Low-Risk Places to Store Your Emergency Funds in Singapore

Get Your CPF in Order

Besides stashing away cash in savings, it is also essential to build up substantial funds in your Central Provident Fund Ordinary Account (CPF-OA). This is because there is a Loan-To-Value (LTV) Ratio in Singapore that limits the amount of mortgage loan homebuyers can take out from HDB or banks. The outstanding sum that a loan cannot cover must be paid with cash and/or CPF-OA.

For example, HDB will only offer a loan of up to 80 percent of the HDB purchase price, the remaining 20 percent must be paid with a combination of cash and your CPF-OA. If the BTO flat you are eyeing is S$150,000, HDB’s loan will be no more than S$120,000. You must have at least S$30,000 in cash and your CPF-OA to pay for the balance. If you prefer to go with a bank, you will need to save up even more in cash and CPF-OA because banks will only loan up to 75 percent of the flat price.

Related: Here’s How to Invest Your CPF-OA, (and What You Can Invest it In)

Find the Cheapest Home Loans in Singapore

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Source: Pexels

Manage Your Loans Wisely

Any type of loans that you take out will affect your Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR). This ratio measures your debt obligations against your income and is set at 55 percent or below (as of September 2023) by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). This means, if you earn S$6,000 a month, total monthly debt repayment must be within S$3,300. Should you have several on-going loans that already amount to a monthly repayment of S$3,000, your chance of getting a mortgage loan will be close to zero. As such, your home ownership in Singapore may have to be delayed until other loans are cleared.

It is unlikely for any lending institution in Singapore to extend your TDSR because it is a measure that encourages financial prudence among borrowers and prevents over-leveraging. This is why you need to manage your loans wisely to ensure your eligibility for a home loan is not affected when you turn 35.

Related: Debt Consolidation – How A Personal Loan Can Help Save Money Paying Off Credit Card Debt

Grants Available to Singles Ready for HDB Home Ownership in Singapore

There are three generous CPF housing grants available to singles who are first-time home buyers to help to defray the costs of home ownership in Singapore. You may even apply for more than one of the following grants as long as you meet the conditions.

Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (EHG)You may apply for EHG which range between S$27,500 and S$40,000 to help with your new or resale flat purchase.
CPF Housing Grant for Resale FlatsIf you are buying a resale flat, you may be eligible for a grant of S$40,000 for the purchase of a two- to four- room resale flat or S$25,000 for a five-room resale flat
Proximity Housing Grant (PHG)If you are buying a resale flat to live with or near your parents or child, you may claim for S$15,000 to live with your parents or child or S$10,000 to live within 4 km to your parents or child

Related: HDB Housing Grants Available for Different Types of Flats in Singapore (2023)

HDB flats singapore
Source: Unsplash

Find the Cheapest Home Loans in Singapore

How to Apply for a Mortgage Loan

When you are ready to purchase a HDB flat, you should first compare the interest rates and conditions between HDB loan and several bank loans to ensure you are getting the best deal. Consider using our home loan calculator for the most up-to-date rates, as well as estimate your interests and monthly payments.

You may also refer to our roundup of the Best Home Mortgage Loans in Singapore 2023 for a list of top home loan packages in Singapore. This will save you a lot of time and effort to find the right home loan out of the long list of packages available in the marketplace.

Before committing to the purchase of the flat, always get an In-Principle Approval (IPA) from the banking institution that you shortlisted. This step is crucial because it ensures the bank or HDB agrees to offer you a loan and assures your affordability to purchase the flat. This reduces the risk of having to back out from a deal and end up losing the option fee. If you intend to take out a loan from HDB instead of a bank, you may apply for an HDB Flat Eligibility (HFE) letter via the HDB Flat Portal to get to know your financing options. Information you will be provided includes the amount of housing grants and HDB housing loan you are eligible for.

The In-Principle approval process may take a few days or up to two weeks. Upon receiving it, you can proceed to secure the flat you intend to purchase and finally embark on your home ownership journey in Singapore.

Related: 5 Common Mistakes of First-Time Home Buyers

Conclusion

With rising home prices, getting your finances in order is a critical step to home ownership in Singapore. Especially when it comes to home loans, selecting one with an affordable interest rate can ease up your monthly mortgage repayment and lower your home expenses in the long run.

Refer to the list of best home mortgage loans shortlisted by our team of loan experts to help you find the best home loans available.

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