HDB Grant for First Timer

Complete Guide to HDB Grant for First Timer Applicants 2021

Singapore has the second-highest property ownership in the world. But that does not mean that houses and apartments are cheap. To ease the financial burden of buying a home, the government, through HDB, provides an HDB grant for first-timer applicants of public housing.

Upon approval, applicants do not receive cash. Instead, HDB credits the approved grant amount to their CPF Ordinary Account to pay the downpayment. Only if there is excess can buyers use it to reduce the principal.

 

HDB Flats Sales Schemes and Executive Condo Overview

HBD flats have three sales schemes. In addition, Singaporeans can also choose to buy an executive condo. At any rate, each one can qualify for one or more CPF housing grants.

1. HDB Build-to-Order (BTO)

HBD launches and sells BTO flats four times a year. Construction only begins when they sell 70% of the apartments. Although unlikely, cancellation of construction may happen if there are not enough buyers. However, buyers need to wait 3 to 4 years before the flats are ready for occupancy in most cases.

2. HDB Sales of Balance Flats (SBF)

For Singaporeans unwilling to wait years before occupying a flat, SBF is one of two options – the other being resale flats. Essentially, this scheme pools balance flats (or unsold flats) from previous BTO launches and repurchased flats.

SBF flats are generally cheaper than resale flats. HBD, however, sells them at market value which is higher than BTO.

3. HDB Resale Flats

Buying a resale flat is another option. These apartments are at least five years old – the Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) before owners sell their homes. Generally, HDB resale flats are more expensive than their BTO and SBF counterparts. Then again, buyers can move in after completing the purchase transaction and documentations.

4. Executive Condominiums (EC)

Some middle-income Singaporeans looking to buy a home have a dilemma. On the one hand, their average household income exceeds the income ceiling imposed by HDB on flats. Hence, their only recourse is to turn to private property. Unfortunately, they may not be able to afford the high purchase price.

The solution to this predicament is to buy an executive condominium. These are public-private housing hybrids that may be more expensive than BTO, SBF, and resale flats. But they are also cheaper than private residential property.

 

HDB Grant Eligibility for First-Time Applicants

HDB provides several types of CPF housing grants for first-timers. Each one has distinct purposes and requirements. At any rate, the following are the general requirements.

Eligibility Criteria Description
Citizenship Singaporean citizen (single)

Singaporean citizen plus at least one Singaporean citizen or permanent resident (family)

Age 21 years old or older

35 years old or older if applying under:

  • Single Singapore Citizen Scheme; or
  • Joint Singles Scheme; or
  • Public Scheme (if the parents are among the co-applicant or occupants)
Family Nucleus Family includes:

  • Spouse
  • Fiance/fiancee
  • Children
  • Children under your legal custody
Employment Status Must have worked for 12 months continuously before the date of application
Average Income Ceiling per Month Average monthly gross income household income from the past 12 months must not exceed S$9,000
Remaining Lease 20 years or more

For maximum grant, the remaining lease must be enough to cover the youngest buyer, spouse, or fiancé(e) to the age of 95

Previous Housing Subsidies Applicants, co-applicants, and essential occupiers are all first-timers, not receiving any HDB grant before
Property Ownership or Interest Applicants and co-applicants must not own or have previously disposed of the following within 30 months of the date of application (local and overseas):

  • HDB flat
  • Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) flat
  • Executive condominium
  • Private residential property, including privatized Housing and Urban Development Company (HUDC) flat
  • Building
  • Land

Cannot invest in a private residential property from the date of application up until after the 5-year MOP or Minimum Occupation Period

 

Types of CPH Housing Grants Available for First-Timers

HDB provides so many grants, but not all apply to specific housing units or sales schemes. But the good news is that you can combine applicable HDB grants under certain conditions to receive more grant money.

Grant Type BTO & SBF Resale EC
Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (EHG) Available Available N/A
Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (EHG) Singles Available Available N/A
Family Grant (FG) N/A Available Available
Half-Housing Grant (HHG) N/A N/A Available
Proximity Housing Grant (PHG) N/A Available N/A

 

1. Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (EHG) (Family)

In 2019, the HDB began implementing the Enhanced CPF Housing Grant scheme for two reasons:

  • Streamline the old CPF Housing Grant system comprising the Additional CPF Housing Grant (AHG) and the Special CPF Housing Grant (SHG)
  • Widen the pool of buyers by making HDB flats more affordable to help more Singaporeans buy own their home
  • Resale flat buyers can now apply for this grant

EHG Comparison with the Old Housing Grant System

Eligibility Conditions AHG SHG EHG
Average Income Ceiling per Month Up to S$5,000 Up to S$8,500 Up to S$9,000
Property Type BTO, SBF, and resale BTO and SBF (2-room, 3-room, and 4-room flats in non-mature estates) No restrictions
Maximum Grant Amount S$40,000 S$40,000 S$80,000

 

EHG Grant Amount Calculation

Average Gross Monthly Income of Couples/Families EHG Grant Amount for Couples/Families
Not more than S$1,500 S$80,000
S$1,501 to S$2,000 S$75,000
S$2,001 to S$2,500 S$70,000
S$2,501 to S$3,000 S$65,000
S$3,001 to S$3,500 S$60,000
S$3,501 to S$4,000 S$55,000
S$4,001 to S$4,500 S$50,000
S$4,501 to S$5,000 S$45,000
S$5,001 to S$5,500 S$40,000
S$5,501 to S$6,000 S$35,000
S$6,001 to S$6,500 S$30,000
S$6,501 to S$7,000 S$25,000
S$7,001 to S$7,500 S$20,000
S$7,501 to S$8,000 S$15,000
S$8,001 to S$8,500 S$10,000
S$8,501 to S$9,000 S$5,000

 

2. Enhanced CPF Housing Grant for Singles (EHG) (Singles)

As a single Singaporean, daily expenses may not equate to that of families. Nonetheless, the cost of living is still prohibitive. HDB thus helps them buy their home through the Single Singapore Citizen Scheme (SSCS).

SSCS, in essence, is half of the Enhanced CPF Housing Grant.

EHG (Singles) Grant Amount Calculation

Average Gross Monthly Income SSCS Grant Amount
Not more than $750 S$40,000
$751 to $1,000 S$37,500
$1,001 to $1,250 S$35,000
$1,251 to $1,500 S$32,500
$1,501 to $1,750 S$30,000
$1,751 to $2,000 S$27,500
$2,001 to $2,250 S$25,000
$2,251 to $2,500 S$22,500
$2,501 to $2,750 S$20,000
$2,751 to $3,000 S$17,500
$3,001 to $3,250 S$15,000
$3,251 to $3,500 S$12,500
$3,501 to $3,750 S$10,000
$3,751 to $4,000 S$7,500
$4,001 to $4,250 S$5,000
$4,251 to $4,500 S$2,500

 

3. Family Grant (FG) and Half-Housing Grant (HHG)

For engaged and married couples, buying a home offers a degree of security as they grow their new family. The HDB Family Grant makes it easier to buy resale flats. But suppose a spouse or fiance/fiancee has previously received a housing subsidy. In that case, they can only apply for the Half-Housing Grant.

The maximum grant amount given to families and couples depends on the type of property they acquire – HDB resale flat or executive condominium.

FG for Resale Maximum Grant Amount

Household 2-room, 3-room, 4-room Resale Flat 5-room or Bigger Resale Flat
Singaporean Citizen + Singaporean Citizen S$50,000 S$40,000
Singaporean Citizen + Permanent Resident S$40,000 S$30,000

 

HHG for Resale Maximum Grant Amount

2-room, 3-room, 4-room Resale Flat 5-room or Bigger Resale Flat
S$25,000 S$20,000

 

FG & HHG for EC Maximum Grant Amount by Income Ceiling

Average Gross Monthly Household Income of Applicant and All Co-Applicants Family Grant for Singaporean Citizen plus Singaporean Citizen Family Grant for Singaporean Citizen plus Permanent Resident Half-Housing Grant for Singaporean First-Timer plus a Singaporean Second-Timer
S$10,000 or lower S$30,000 S$20,000 S$15,000
S$10,001 to S$11,000 S$20,000 S$10,000 S$10,000
S$11,001 to S$12,000 S$10,000 None S$5,000

 

4. Proximity Housing Grant (PHG)

The Proximity Housing Grant is for Singaporeans who want to live with or near their parents, in-laws, or children. To qualify, the HDB flat you are buying must be within 4 km of another HDB block or private residential property.

With the Proximity Housing Grant, you are essentially receiving a reward or subsidy for convenience. 

Additional PHG Conditions:

The child helping the applicant qualify, if single, must be 35 years old or older and:

  • Must live in the resale flat being purchased; or
  • Living in an HDB flat or private residential property within 4 km of the HBD flat being purchased

At least one of the parents or children helping in the PHG application is a Singaporean citizen.

If parents or child does not own the private residential property, it must be occupied by immediate family members.

PHG Maximum Grant Amount

Family Nucleus Living with Parents/Child Live Near Parents/Child
Family S$30,000 S$20,000
Single S$15,000 S$10,000

 

Apartment Building

HDB Grants for Couples/Families Applying for the First Time

Married or engaged couples and families applying for subsidies for the first time may avail of up to three HDB grants. But that depends on which type of flat you are planning to buy.

1. HDB Flat (BTO and SBF) Housing Grants

If you buy a brand new HDB flat, the only grant you can apply for is the Enhanced CPF Housing Grant. The average gross monthly household income dictates how much money gets credited to your CPF Ordinary Account (OA).

HDB calculates the grant amounts by adding up the average monthly incomes of all working people in the household. As a general rule, the lower the income, the higher the grant money.

Example of How EHG Reduces the Cost of HDB Flats

  • Average Gross Monthly Income: S$2,000
  • Price of 3-room Flat in Non-Mature Estate: S$180,000
  • Downpayment (10%): S$18,000
  • Balance Purchase Price: S$162,000 (S$180,000 – S$18,000)
  • CPF OA Savings: S$20,000

Based on the EHG Income Ceiling Table, the couple is eligible to receive S$70,000. If their average household monthly income were less than S$1,500, they would have received the maximum HGB grant amount of S$80,000.

Without EHG assistance, the couple would only have S$2,000 left in their CPF OA savings.

  • S$20,000 (CPF OA) – S$18,000 (10% DP) = S$2,000

The mortgage loan they need would be S$160,000.

  • S$162,000 (balance purchase price) – S$2,000 (remaining amount in CPF OA) = S$160,000

With EHG, the couple does not need to touch their original CPF savings. The couple would still have S$52,000 balance grant money.

  • S$70,000 (EHG grant money) – S$18,000 (10% DP) = S$52,000

Their total CPF OA would be S$72,000.

  • S$52,000 (balance from EHG grant) + S$20,000 (original CPF OA) = S$72,000

The mortgage loan they need would be significantly lower at S$90,000.

  • S$162,000 (balance purchase price) – S$72,000 (CPF OA) = S$90,000

Aside from easing the burden of paying the downpayment, EHG also helped lower the mortgage loan amount from S$160,000 down to S$90,000. As you can imagine, their monthly payment, including interest charges, would be much lower.

 

2. HDB Resale Flat Housing Grants

HDB resale flats are usually more expensive than BTO or SBF HDB flats. Even so, it can still be affordable. Besides EHG, you may also qualify for a Family Grant and Proximity Housing Grant. Also, resale flats are usually available, while BTO/SBF flats need to go through balloting.

Maximum HDB Grant Amounts for Resale Flats

Total Grant Amount S$160,000
  • EHG
S$80,000
  • Family Grant
S$50,000
  • Proximity Housing Grant
S$30,000

 

Example of How EHG, FG, and PHG Reduce the Cost of HDB Resale Flats

Suppose a family qualifies for the three grants, and their income ceiling allows them to avail of maximum grant amounts. They decided to buy a 4-room resale flat in a non-mature estate.

  • Price of 4-room Resale Flat in Non-Mature Estate: $480,000
  • Downpayment (10%): S$48,000
  • Balance Purchase Price: S$432,000

Let’s also assume that the CPF OA of the family is S$20,000, which is not enough to pay for the downpayment. In this case, they need to add S$28,000 in cash.

But with the maximum grant amount from three HDB housing grants, they no longer need extra cash. Even better, there would still be S$112,000.

  • S$160,000 (grant money) – S$48,000 (10% DP) = S$112,000

Their total CPF OA would be S$132,000.

  • S$112,000 (balance from HDB grants) + S$20,000 (CPF OA) = S$132,000

The mortgage loan they need would be significantly lower at S$300,000.

  • S$432,000 (balance purchase price) – S$132,000 (CPF OA) = S$300,000

In this scenario, the family can buy a resale HDB flat without adding cash to the downpayment. More importantly, instead of taking out a S$432,000 housing loan, they only need S$300,000.

 

3. Executive Condominium Housing Grants

Couples or families who – by choice or “forced to” – buy an executive condominium can only avail of a Family Grant for EC. Being forced to, in this case, refer to those couples and families whose household income exceeds the ceiling of EHG.

The average cost of executive condominiums is a little over S$1 million. For these units, buyers need to pay over S$100,000 in down payment. For most Singaporean couples and families, their combined CPF OA would not be enough.

If they qualify for a family grant, the most they could receive is $30,000 (refer to this table). Although it is not as much as EHG, this money still helps reduce the cash they need to produce.

 

4. HDB Grants for Singles Applying for the First Time

It is almost impossible to find another country that helps its citizens buy a home. Through the Single Singapore Citizen Scheme, he/she can avail of the Enhanced CPF Housing Grant for singles.

Like couples and families, which type of grant and how much grant amount they receive depends on property type, among others.

 

5. HDB Flat (BTO and SBF) Housing Grants

For new HDB flats, buyers can apply for the EHG Singles Grant. But there is a limitation on the size of the flat. At present, it is restricted to 2-room Flexi units in a non-mature estate. As an option, Singles can also apply for the Proximity Housing Grant.

Example of How EHG (Singles) Reduce the Cost of HDB Flats

  • Average Gross Monthly Income: S$1,000
  • Price of 3-room Flat in Non-Mature Estate: S$160,000
  • Downpayment (10%): S$16,000
  • Balance Purchase Price: S$144,000 (S$160,000 – S$16,000)
  • CPF OA Savings: S$20,000

Based on the EHG (Singles) Income Ceiling Table, the applicant can receive S$37,500. If the average household monthly income were less than S$750, the grant money would be the maximum amount of S$40,000.

Without EHG assistance, the single buyer would only have S$4,000 left in the CPF OA savings.

  • S$20,000 (CPF OA) – S$16,000 (10% DP) = S$4,000

The mortgage loan needed would be S$140,000.

  • S$144,000 (balance purchase price) – S$4,000 (remaining amount in CPF OA) = S$140,000

With EHG Singles, the buyer does not need to touch the original CPF savings. Using the grant money to pay for the downpayment, he/she would still have S$11,500 balance grant money.

  • S$37,500 (EHG grant money) – S$16,000 (10% DP) = S$11,500

The total remaining CPF OA would be S$31,500.

  • S$11,500 (balance from EHG grant) + S$20,000 (original CPF OA) = S$31,500

The mortgage loan, in this case, is significantly lower at S$90,000.

  • S$144,000 (balance purchase price) – S$31,500 (CPF OA) = S$112,500

EHG (Singles) Grant, in this scenario, helped cover the cost of downpayment. Not only that, but the remaining grant also reduced the principal loan amount needed from S$140,000 down to S$112,500.

Example of How EHG + PHG for Singles Reduce the Cost of HDB Flats

Aside from EHG (Singles), buyers may also avail of the Proximity Housing Grant for Singles.

Suppose the applicant qualifies for the maximum PHG (Singles) grant amount of S$15,000 (refer to this table).

Using the same scenario in the previous section, the buyer would have a total housing grant of S$52,500.

  • S$37,500 (EHG Singles grant money) + S$15,000 (PHG Singles grant money) = S$52,500

After paying off the downpayment, the remaining grant money would be S$36,500.

  • S$52,500 (grant money) – S$16,000 (10% DP) = S$36,500

The total remaining CPF OA would be S$

  • S$36,500 (balance from the grants) + S$20,000 (original CPF OA) = S$56,500

The mortgage loan, in this case, is significantly lower at S$87,500.

  • S$144,000 (balance purchase price) – S$56,500 (CPF OA) = S$87,500

From S$140,000 without any grants, the mortgage loan needed became S$112,500 because of EHG (Singles). But with the addition of PHG (Singles), it lowered to S$87,500.

 

6. HDB Resale Flat Housing Grants

First-time single applicants can avail of up to three types of grants.

  • Singles Grant (or Half-Housing Grant)
  • Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (Singles)
  • Proximity Housing Grant

Example of How Singles Grant, EHG (Singles) and PHG (Singles) Reduce Cost of HDB Resale Flats

Assume, for instance, that the single applicant qualifies for three grants. Moreover, this person can avail of the maximum grant amounts.

  • Price of 4-room Resale Flat in Non-Mature Estate: $460,000
  • Downpayment (10%): S$46,000
  • Balance Purchase Price: S$414,000
  • CPF OA Savings: S$20,000

Without any grants, the single buyer would need an additional $S26,000 to pay the downpayment. But with the maximum funding from the three subsidies:

Total Grant Amount for Singles S$80,000
  • Singles Grant (or HHG)
S$25,000
  • EHG (Singles)
S$40,000
  • PHG (Singles)
S$15,000

The buyer, in this case, can pay the downpayment and still have S

But with the maximum grant amount from three HDB housing grants, they no longer need extra cash. Even better, there would still be S$34,000.

  • S$80,000 (grant money) – S$46,000 (10% DP) = S$34,000

Their total CPF OA would be S$54,000.

  • S$34,000 (balance from HDB grants) + S$20,000 (CPF OA) = S$54,000

The mortgage loan needed would be S$360,000.

  • S$414,000 (balance purchase price) – S$54,000 (CPF OA) = S$360,000

As you can see, the three grants made buying a resale flat more affordable for singles. There is no need to add cash to pay for the downpayment. Instead of taking out a S$414,000 housing loan, the buyer now only needs to borrow S$360,000.

 

7. Executive Condominium Housing Grants

Private condos are costly. For that reason, executive condominiums are a great alternative. Any single can avail of the Half-Housing Grant to reduce the cost of downpayment.

Unfortunately, ECs cost more than a million. It is not likely for anyone to have over S$100,000 in their CPF OA savings. The maximum HHG for Singles is S$10,000 (refer to this table). Although this amount is small, it still helps reduce the cash required.

 

HDB Grants for First-Timers Make Buying a Home More Affordable

HDB housing grants are not discounts but financial products offered by HDB to help you buy a home. Instead of cash, the grant is credited to your CPF OA savings. Before you can use grants to reduce the loan principal, it has to be allocated first towards paying the downpayment.

Key Takeaways:

  • There are different HDB grants for first-timers – Enhanced CPF Housing Grant, Family Grant, Singles Grant, Proximity Housing Grant, and others.
  • How much grant money you receive for EHG and some other grant types depends on your income ceiling.
  • Grants not only reduce or eliminate the need for cash to pay a downpayment. Any excess can be used to reduce the mortgage loan required, thus resulting in lower interest and monthly payments.

Owning your own home sure is a big aspiration to most Singaporeans, but it is not without much planning and strategy. If your HDB Grant isn’t enough to cover your downpayment cost, it is always smart to review your financing options. 

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