Singles’ Guide to Purchasing Your First HDB

Singles, we feel you. As if it wasn’t hard enough fending off intrusive questions from nosy relatives about when you’re getting married, being single in Singapore can also make you feel penalised in today’s economy. While it’s expensive to be single, things might start looking up when you turn 35 years old. After all, that’s when you can apply for your own flat – finally!

Purchasing your first HDB flat doesn’t have to be a lonely journey. Fret not – we’ve got you all covered. Read on to find out everything you need to know about purchasing your first HDB flat.

What is the eligibility criteria to get a HDB flat?

First of all, you will have to be a Singapore citizen of at least 35 years old in order to apply as an unmarried or divorced applicant. The only exceptions are those who are widowed or orphaned, aged 21 years old and above. These individuals can then apply under the Singles Scheme.

Read more: A Singaporean’s Guide to Buying Your First Resale HDB Flat

What are the HDB schemes that I can apply for?

In a nutshell, there are two HDB schemes available for singles. These are the Single Singapore Citizen Scheme (SSCS), and the Joint Singles Scheme (JSS).

SSCS is meant for individuals applying for a flat alone, while JSS allows joint ownership of a minimum of 2 singles – up to 4 singles. This means that JSS allows you to apply for a flat together with your best friends, unmarried partner, or other unrelated singles.

Of the two, the SSCS will be the more straightforward option since you would be the sole owner, whereas the JSS would involve you and up to three other flat owners. Nonetheless, both options require you to adhere to the Ethnic Integration Policy (EIP) quota for the neighbourhood or block. The EIP was introduced in 1989 to maintain a balanced mix of ethnic groups within HDB estates and promote racial integration in Singapore.

Here’s a quick comparison table of the two schemes:

Single Singapore Citizen Scheme (SSCS)
Joint Singles Scheme (JSS)
Eligibility criteria35 years old & above (if unmarried or divorced)

21 years old & above (if widowed or orphaned)

35 years old & above (if unmarried or divorced)

21 years old & above (if widowed or orphaned)

Number of applicants1
Minimum of 2, up to 4 single applicants
EIP quotaWill have to be within the EIP quota
Will have to be within the EIP quota
Property typeBuild-To-Order (BTO) & resale HDB
Build-To-Order (BTO), resale HDB, executive condo (EC)
Household income ceilingS$7,000 for BTO

No restriction for resale

S$14,000 for BTO

No restriction for resale

S$16,000 for EC

Flat size2-room flat only for BTO

No restriction for resale

2-room flat only for BTO

No restriction for resale or EC

LocationNon-mature estates for BTO

No restriction for resale

Non-mature estates for BTO

No restriction for resale

ECs usually built in non-mature estates

Read more: ​​How to choose the perfect HDB Resale Flat in Singapore

What type of HDB flats can I buy as a single Singaporean?

You can either purchase a BTO flat or a resale HDB flat. However, you are limited to only 2-room flexi flats in non-mature estates should you opt for the BTO route. Non-mature estates are those less than 20 years old, including:

  • Woodlands
  • Yishun
  • Sembawang
  • Punggol
  • Sengkang
  • Hougang
  • Bukit Panjang
  • Bukit Batok
  • Choa Chu Kang
  • Jurong East
  • Jurong West

While resale flats are usually more expensive than BTO, you have the freedom to choose the type of flat and estate you’d like to live in. However, newer HDBs in prime locations under the Prime Location Housing model will not be available for singles. This is only applicable to new BTOs starting from the November 2021 BTO launch that are built in prime areas, and will still be in effect even as they go on the resale market. However, the existing resale HDBs are not restricted to these rules.

How do I afford a HDB flat as a single?

Buying your own place in Singapore is known to be expensive, but thankfully, there are various loans and grants you can apply for to cushion the costs of buying your first place:

Type of GrantType of FlatSum
CPF Housing Grant for Resale Flats (Singles)Resale

SCSS: S$25,000 (2- to 4- room resale flat) or S$20,000 (5-room resale flat)

JSS: S$25,000 (2- to 4-room resale flat, i.e. a total of $50,000) or $20,000 (5-room or bigger resale flat, i.e. a total of S$40,000)

Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (Singles)BTO or resale

SCSS: Up to S$40,000

JSS: Up to S$80,000

Proximity Housing Grant (Singles)Resale

S$10,000 to live near your parents/ child (within 4km)

S$15,000 to live with your parents/ child

Read more: How To Negotiate When Buying a Resale HDB

Keep your finances in check

Having your own place is a Singaporean dream, but make sure that you have enough finances before taking the plunge. Whether you decide to opt for the SSCS or JSS, remember to check your eligibility in each scheme.

Before you start searching for your first property, it will help to know what you can afford. Use this calculator to determine what monthly mortgage repayment you can expect.

If you’re a single who has yet to hit 35 but are already yearning for your own place, why not take this plan to plan out your finances? Simply download the Planner Bee app on the App Store or Google Play store to keep track of your finances, or make use of our Investment Return Calculator to project the required investment you need to hit your goal.

Need more financial advice? Simply email us at ask@plannerbee.co!

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