For Singapore PR – 2016 Restrictions And Process Chain In Buying a HDB flat

When it comes to buying property in Singapore, Singapore PR have more choices than foreigners living in the Lion City. But the restrictions are still there. Here’s some of them.

HDB flat is the most popular choice of living here, with the government giving sufficient subsidies. Up to 85% of Singaporeans live in HDB flats.


There are two types of HDB flats: brand new and resale. The first one is through a balloting process, and is open to Singapore citizens only. For eg: a married couple interested in buying a new flat, both must be Singapore citizens. Or rather, one of them must be a Singapore citizen, with his/her spouse a Singapore PR. There have been certain cases when a Singapore citizen and a non-Singapore PR have successfully applied for a flat in a non-mature town, although they need to meet certain conditions.

P/S: Nowadays, siblings who are Singapore PR can no longer apply for a HDB flat together.

However, a couple, both of them Singapore PRs can apply for a resale flat at the open market. But they will need to gain PR status for at least three full years. And they would need to dispose any overseas private property within the next half year after the purchase.


HDB flats, of course, are cheaper than private condominiums. They are the optimal choice of young working couples. A four room HDB flat typically costs S$400,000. Minus a first down-payment of 10%, and the rest can be paid over the next 30 years. The monthly installment, with interest rates taken into consideration, are deducted from the couple’s CPF ordinary account. That should be just enough for them.

Let’s take a look at how Singapore PRs buy their HDB flats.


Eligibility and Affordability are two things taken into mind. Here’s some Eligibility scenarios:

  • Normally, the reason why PRs buy flats:
  • 2 PRs getting married
  • 2 PRs registering for marriage (need to submit ROM cert for first meeting with HDB officer)
  • Study mamas coming here to accompany their children. One PR alone cannot buy a HDB flat. That is the same rule for a couple, as long as one has not held PR status for more than 3 years.
  • Professionals that have gained PR status normally won’t have problem buying a HDB flat. But there have been exceptions when only one of the couple is only working, or very young. Under HDB rules, a buyer is required to show a letter of authorization from the bank he/she received a home loan from.

What about Affordability?

A PR can apply for a home loan up to 80%.

They can use the CPF ordinary account, or real cash:

  • Stamp duty, real estate fees, first S$180,000 charged at 1%, the next $180,000 charged at 2%…S$360,000 and above is charged at 3%.
  • Lawyers fee at around S$2,500
  • Valuation fee 15%
  • 5% extra stamp duty or real estate fees, if both are Singapore PRs.

For those intending to use cash.

The deposit will be equal to the OTP fee execution fee (less than S$5,000)

That’s adding to a 5% valuation fee, additional COV (cash over value).

Registration and valuation fee can go up to S$500 too.

Housing agent fee, 1% (subject to GST)

Procedures to buy a HDB Flat.

  • Letter of offer
  • A letter of authorization from the bank he/she received a home loan from. It must be in hand before executing the OTP. The Housing Loan Eligibility (HLE), which gives grants to buyers, is also a must. If you have both HLE and OTP in place, you should be okay.
  • Option to Purchase (OTP)
  • When a buyer has reached an agreement with a seller over the price of a HDB flat, he is required to fill in this OTP. The main details are date of cash deposit (also effectively the OTP date). The purchase price (resale price of the flat), and the option fee (between S$1 to S$1,000) will also need to be stated. The option expiry date (21 calendar days from the option date, including weekends and public holidays). Names and NRIC numbers of all the sellers and buyers. The first appointment deadline (1-90 days) after EXE OTP.

Normally, after discussions with the agent, the seller will sign on the OTP. Once he signs that, he MUST not sell his flat to anyone in the next 14 days. The buyer must then obtain a home loan within 14 days. It is also a cooling-off window for him to consider. If he decides to give up, the deposit will be forfeited. Otherwise, he would need to EXE OTP within that time frame.


After submission of documents, they will need to meet up again within the next 1-90 days to submit a resale application to HDB. After which, a HDB officer will head to the flat within a week to do some checks. Normally, he will check for illegal modifications to the flat, which could block the sale. Both buyer and seller are required to bring along all certifications for the meeting with the HDB officer. If a child’s name is used for a joint application, he/she is also required to attend.

PR buyer can complete the transaction by getting their lawyers to sign on a letter of authorization. The lawyers will then take care of the rest paperwork, and most importantly, the keys. Yes, the keys to your little heaven!

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