Settling down and getting your own flat in Singapore is a huge life and financial commitment.

In this article, we included everything you need to know before applying for your first HDB BTO!

  • BTO Eligibility
  • HDB Loans vs Bank Loans
  • HDB BTO Housing Grants
  • BTO Application process
    • Flat announcements
    • Application period
    • Appointment with HDB/Selecting your choice flat
    • Lease agreement
  • Collecting Your Keys
  • Cancellation Consequences
The BTO-ER TEE ($30.90) from

* This article serves as a general overview and guide to the HDB BTO application process. ShopBack will not be held responsible for any inconvenience resulting from any reliance on the information in this article. Please conduct your own research to understand all the options available and before you make this monumental life decision!

Featured Image: Christian Chen from

1. HDB BTO Eligibility

Eligibility for BTO

Here are some basic conditions you need to meet to be eligible to apply for a HDB BTO flat:

  • At least 1 must be a Singapore Citizen
  • At least 1 other Singapore citizen or Permanent Resident (first-time households with only 1 Singapore Citizen and 1 or more PRs will have to pay $10,000 premium at the point of purchase)
  • At least 21 years old
  • You do not own other properties overseas or locally and have not disposed of any within the last 30 months
  • You have not bought more than 1 new HDB/DBSS flat or EC before
  • You have not received more than 1 CPF Housing grant thus far

For more in-depth eligibility criteria, especially if you are under the Fiancé/Fiancée scheme, read more here.

2. HDB Loans vs Bank Loans

HDB Loan and Bank Loan

After you have confirmed your eligibility to apply for a HDB BTO flat, here are the available loans that you may be eligible to take up to ease the financial burden:

HDB loan

  • Up to 90% loan of the purchase price (for new flats) or 90% of resale price or market valuation, whichever is lower (for resale flats)
  • Must use all of the available savings in your CPF Ordinary Account for the purchase before a housing loan from HDB is granted for the remaining amount (subject to CPF withdrawal limits)
  • 10% downpayment (can be paid with CPF)
  • Interest rate fixed at 0.1% above the prevailing CPF Ordinary Account interest rate (~ 2.6%)

HDB Loan Eligibility

  • You are applying for an HDB flat
  • You must be a Singapore Citizen
  • You are 21 years and older
  • Gross monthly household income is less than $12,000 ($18,000 for extended families)
  • You do not own, or have not owned any residential private property in the 30 months before the application for the HDB loan
  • You do not own more than one market/hawker stall or commercial/industrial property
  • If you do own a market/hawker stall or commercial/industrial property, you must work in it yourself and have no other sources of income

Bank Loan

Besides the HDB loan, it is also possible to finance your house with a bank loan.

  • Lower interest rates than HDB loan.
  • Bank loans offer floating or fixed rate packages
  • Amount of loan you are eligible for varies by case and your income (consult your bank for  more details)
  • 20% downpayment (at least 5% must be cash)
  • Early repayment penalty

Bank Loan Eligibility

  • If your gross monthly household income is more than $12,000, you are not eligible to apply for an HDB loan, thus bank loans are your only option
  • Other eligibility conditions differ from bank to bank; check with your bank provider for more information

Most people choose to opt for HDB loans instead of Bank loans, mainly because the interest rates are fixed (for better or for worse) whereas bank loans interest rates may fluctuate and change. Furthermore, HDB loans finance up to 90% of the total cost, whereas bank loans only finance up to 80%.

However, there are many variables at play, so choose what would work best for you and your partner!

3. HDB BTO Housing Grants

To help to ease the financial burden of buying a house, there are some grants available to help subsidize the housing cost and ease the paying process. Take note that this information is only applicable to those who are applying for a flat for the first time.

Additional CPF Housing Grant

  • Applicable for 2-room flexi or larger flat
  • Income ceiling of $5,000 per month
  • Up to $40,000 grant depending on household income

Special CPF Housing Grant

  • Applicable for 2-room flexi, 3-room, or 4-room flat in a non-mature estate
  • For applications received from November 2015, income ceiling is $8,500
  • For applications received between July 2013 – May 2015, income ceiling is $6,500
  • For applications received between February 2011 – May 2013, income ceiling is $2,250
  • Up to $40,000 grant depending on household income

4. Application Process

Singapore HDB

1. HDB BTO Launch

HDB’s flat launches are every 3 months where the locations, type of flat and number of units to be built will be released.

Alternatively, instead of stalking the HDB site every three months, you can sign up for their HDB eAlert service to receive emails or SMSes whenever there are new sales launches.

2. HDB BTO Application Period

With every launch, there will be a one-week application period where indicative prices and preliminary designs are made available for you to apply for your desired estate. You can apply online, at any HDB branch, or at the HDB hub. Note that a $10 administrative fee will apply.

3. HDB Flat Selection Appointment

After waiting for about 6 weeks, you will be notified of the outcome of your application. If successful, HDB will set up an appointment date with you, where you get to book your desired flat (HDB block and unit!).

What to note when you go for your appointment:

  • Have a few HDB flats (we recommend 12 or more!) in mind to reduce disappointment and rash decisions; chances are, someone before you would have selected that same flat you’ve been eyeing.
  • Bring your NETS card – you need to pay an option fee of $1000 for a 3-room flat, and $2000 for a 4-room or bigger flat. This fee will be reimbursed to you at a later date if your CPF Ordinary Account exceeds the required down payment for your flat. If you opted for a bank loan instead, the option fee will go to paying the cash portion of your down payment.
  • If you applied for the HDB Loan, bring a valid HDB Loan Eligibility Letter (HLE) which you can get from here.
  • Bring all required certificates depending on the scheme you applied through. (Eg, Married Child Priority Scheme requires your birth certificate and your parent’s marriage certificate.)
  • Bring your income documents

4. Signing the Lease Agreement

After a few more months of waiting, you will be notified to sign the lease agreement. At this point, you will be required to make your down payment. This is the final step to finally getting your new house! When you go down to HDB hub to sign the lease agreement, make sure to bring your:

  • Identity cards
  • HDB Loan Eligibility Letter (if you are taking up the HDB loan)
  • If you are taking up a bank loan, bring a letter of offer from the bank
  • Bank passbook and photocopy the page with your name and account number
  • Latest CPF statements if you are a CPF Board employee
  • Receipt of your option fee

During this appointment, you may also be required to pay stamp duties and legal fees.

stamp duties and legal fees cost

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5. Collecting Your Keys

BTO key collection

Finally! After months of paperwork and years of waiting for the flat to be completed, you are finally receiving the keys to your first house! However, expect to pay more miscellaneous fees before getting your keys.

You may need to pay a Survey fee, Lease In-Escrow registration fee, and legal fees (applies only if you are taking a bank loan).

Here’s a table for reference:

like of things to pay during key collectionImage credit: 

For survey fees, how much you pay depends on your flat type:

survey fees table

Image Credit: 

There are 2 kinds of registration fees:

  1. Lease In-Escrow registration fee (paid if HDB acts for you in the flat purchase): $38.30
  2. Mortgage In-Escrow registration fee (paid if you take a housing bank loan): $38.30

6. Cancellation

Buying a house takes a lot of future planning, and sometimes the future doesn’t turn out as planned. So what happens when you change your mind?

Cancellation of BTO

Depending on how “far” you are in the process of securing the flat, the consequences differ. Generally, you will have to submit the relevant forms to any HDB Sales office to let them know you are pulling out of the order. You may also be suspended for a year and be made to forfeit your payments.

Before the Appointment

If you decide to cancel the BTO before the HDB appointment (before selecting your unit), you will have to:

  • Complete and submit this form to any HDB Sales Office.
  • Your first-timer priority will be suspended for a year if you reject 2 chances to select a flat (and another year if you continue to miss appointments)
  • No financial forfeiture

After the Appointment, Before Lease Agreement

After you’ve selected your desired unit and paid the option fee, to withdraw from the order, you will need to:

  • Complete and submit this form to any HDB Sales Office.
  • You must wait for a period of 1 year from the date of cancellation before you can apply for any flat or Executive Condominium (BTO, DBSS, EC, Resale flats).
  • You will have to forfeit your option fee of $1000/$2000.

After Lease Agreement, Before Collection of Keys

When it gets to this point, the consequences get serious:

  • Complete and submit this form to any HDB Sales Office.
  • You must wait for a period of 1 year from the date of cancellation before you can apply for any flat or Executive Condominium (BTO, DBSS, EC, Resale flats).
  • Forfeit 5% of the flat purchase price.

Applying for your first BTO is one of the hugest commitments in your life! It pays to be informed of the process involved and all of the options available to you.

So will you say “I do”?

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