What Type of HDB Flats Can Single Singaporeans Buy?

by Laura

Single and looking for a home you can call your own in Singapore? Tired of spending exorbitant amounts of money to rent a tiny room? Exhausted from dealing with parents who will not stop nagging? If you fall into any of the above categories, rest assured you are most definitely not alone.

Which is why today, we will be addressing the popular question at the top of many single adults in Singapore: “What type of HDB flats can I buy?”

Being Single in Singapore and Housing Implications

With more Singaporeans putting their careers first and getting hitched later in life or making the conscious decision to stay single, it is inevitable for the burgeoning proportion of singles in our population. In fact, the latest General Household Survey shows that they make up almost 70% of the 25-29 age group.

Given the huge expense that is housing in land-scare Singapore, affordability for single homeowners is a huge issue. Private housing that has little conditions and restrictions cost an arm and a leg. But buying HDB flats come with so many conditions – let us help you clear that up.


For LGBTQ couples, the lack of recognition of same-sex relationships in any form (particularly marriage) in Singapore, prevents them from being recognized as a family in the eyes of law. Given HDB home ownership requires a legal family nucleus as a prerequisite, many non-heterosexual couple are unable to fulfil those conditions to own a HDB flat.

Buying HDB flat for Singles: A Simplified Guide for The Clueless

With so many restrictions and conditions, how can a single adult own a house in Singapore? Can you even buy one if you are below the age of 35?

We know it is tough sifting through the endless pages of conditions and jargon, so we did it for you, and consolidated all the useful things you need to know:

  • Eligibility to Buy A HDB as a Single Adult
  • Useful HDB Schemes for Singles
  • HDB Grants Available for Singles
  • Choosing Between A BTO & Resale Flat

Eligibility to Buy HDB as a Single Adult

Taking into consideration the aspect of affordability, we will only be focusing on HDB – the most affordable housing option in Singapore. And since the discussion will revolve around HDB flats – it is obvious that they are eligible only for Singaporeans or Permanent Residents (PRs).

If you are an expat or foreigner, you will have to fork out the premium for private housing.

Even for PRs, you are only eligible to buy a HDB BTO flat if your spouse is a Singaporean citizen. So, for the single PRs out there, unfortunately you will not be able to buy HDBs. Similarly, your alternative is private housing or rental.

For the single Singaporeans, you might be familiar with the notion that you must be above the age of 35 to apply for a HDB BTO or resale flat. That is absolutely right!

But did you know there are also other conditions?
For example, if you are orphaned, widowed or a single parent, you can apply for HDB BTO or resale once you are above the age of 21.

The two main choices of HDB flat for single Singaporeans who fit the above criteria are:

  • New Flat: 2-Room Flexi HDB BTO (Non-Mature Estate)
  • Resale Flat: Any size of HDB resale flat on the open market (no limitations on estate)

HDB Schemes for Singles

If you fulfil the above the criteria to purchase a HDB BTO or resale flat, congratulations! Let us take a look at the 3 important schemes that could be relevant to you:

  • Single Singapore Citizen Scheme (SSCS)
  • Joint Singles Scheme (JSS)
  • Orphan’s Scheme

Single Singapore Citizen Scheme (SSCS)

The Single Singapore Citizen Scheme (SSCS) is the more common scheme singles rely on to purchase a HDB flat. It is as the name suggests, under this scheme, the applicant will be the sole owner of the HDB flat.

The eligibility criteria simply require an unmarried or divorced single to be above the age of 35 and widows or orphans to be above the age of 21. For orphans, at least one of the deceased parents must be a SC or PR and no another sibling must not have tapped on any of the above singles schemes before.

Income Ceiling: Your average gross monthly household income cannot exceed $7,000

Type of flat allowed to purchase: 2 Room Flexi Flat (non-mature estate) for BTO and resale flats

Joint Singles Scheme (JSS)

Don’t want to stay alone? The Joint Singles Scheme (JSS) is for you! The scheme is suitable for singles who decide they want to stay with other people (up to 4 single Singapore citizens who are at least 35 years old). This works out well for LGBTQ unmarried couples, friends who cannot live without each other and more.

The age eligibility criteria are the same as the SSCS. All applicants must be SCs (sorry cannot be PR). Additionally, the flat must be bought jointly. That means each SC staying in the flat must be part of the application.

Income Ceiling: Your average gross monthly household income cannot exceed $7,000

Type of flat allowed to purchase: 2 Room Flexi Flat (non-mature estate) for BTO, EC and resale flats

Orphan’s Scheme

Only relevant for Singapore citizens, this scheme is specific for siblings who are orphaned and would like to jointly own a HDB flat together. As long as your age is 21 years and above, you can apply with at least 1 other single SC or PR sibling as an owner or occupier in the flat. 

Do take note that siblings who apply under this scheme cannot own any other property separately.

Income Ceiling: Your average gross monthly household income cannot exceed $7,000 (for 2 Room Flexi Flat), for larger flats – depends on projects (either $7,000 or $14,000).

Type of flat allowed to purchase: All flat types for BTO and resale flats

HDB Grants Available for Singles

Checked all the eligibility criteria for at least one of the schemes above? Congrats, you are on your way to owning your very own home.

Now, to help you alleviate the burden of a paying for a house, here are some grants that could be of use!

Single Singapore Citizen Scheme Joint Singles & Orphan’s Scheme
Singles Grant Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (EHG) Top-Up Grant (at a later stage) Proximity Housing Grant Singles Grant Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (EHG) Proximity Housing Grant (for Joint Singles Scheme only)

If you’re applying as a single applicant under the SSCS scheme, these grants could come in handy:

Grant Maximum Grant Value Monthly Household Income Cap
Singles Grant – For HDB resale $25,000 (2- to 4-room resale flat)   $20,000 (5 room resale flat) $7,000
Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (EHG) (Singles)  – For HDB BTO and HDB resale up to $40,000 $4,500
Top-Up Grant – if you subsequently marry a SC or PR Tops up the difference between the prevailing Family Grant and the Singles Grant(s) that was/were earlier provided earlier. $9,000
Proximity Housing Grant – if within 4km radius of your parents’ home $10,000 No income ceiling

If you’re applying as an applicant under the JSS or Orphan’s scheme, these grants could come in handy:

Grant Maximum Grant Value Monthly Household Income Cap
Singles Grant – For HDB resale $50,000 (2- to 4-room resale flat)   $40,000 (5 room resale flat) $14,000
Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (EHG) (Singles)  – For HDB BTO and HDB resale up to $80,000 $9,000
Proximity Housing Grant – if within 4km radius of your parents’ home $10,000 No income ceiling

BTO in non-mature estate versus Resale Flat

To get a BTO or a resale flat – that is the question. If you are debating between these two options, here is a quick comparison between the two:

2 Room Flexi BTO (Non-Mature Estate) Resale Flat
Lower priceLimited to non-mature estatesTakes time (ballot and wait to build)Lower availability (limited 2 Room Flexi BTOs are offered in projects)Has income ceiling of $7000Full 99 year leaseSmaller (36sqm to 46sqm)Rent – only whole apartment & after MOP Likely more expensive (especially in mature estates)No limitation on choice of locationCan move in immediatelyDepends on open market availabilityNo income ceiling for purchaseDepends on remaining leaseCan be larger (36sqm to 120sqm)Rent – can rent out rooms

There is no right answer that works for everyone. It really depends on what you want out of the home!

If affordability is a big concern for you, going for a BTO is definitely a better choice.

If location is critical, then resale flats would work in your favor since you can choose from a larger pool. You don’t really get a say for BTO projects.

If you need more space than a 2 Room flat, then the answer is clearly for resale.

So, the question is, what do you value in a home?

Decisions, decisions, decisions

The purchase of a home is a huge and expensive affair, so do make sure you take your time to go through the relevant information (and max out grants available to you!)

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