Just like any other normal day, you wake up, scroll through your Facebook app on your phone, “Like” a bunch of photos of your friends’ kids on a family adventures. Meanwhile, you look at your unshaven face in the mirror and remember why you’re still single. However, this day is different! It’s your 35th birthday. That means you can now apply for your own flat. Congratulations!
That’s right, the government is finally giving you the ultimate consolation prize for turning 35 without a happily ever after. No longer to you have to suffer the embarrassment of living off your parents. You can hold your head high as you move into your own place. Once you get it.
Here’s what you need to know about getting a flat as a single person.
1. Age Limit – You need to be 35, unless…
Only Singapore Citizens can buy a flat, and as a single, you need to wait till you’re 35 before you become eligible. However, there are special exceptions. If you’re widowed or orphaned, you can actually apply to buy a flat as soon as you turn 21.
However, if you are an orphan under 35 years old, do note that there a couple of conditions you need to meet to be eligible. At least one of your parents must have been a Singapore Citizen or PR and you must not have another sibling below 35 who is trying to buy their own flat.
2. Income Ceiling
If you earn more than $6,000 a month, you’re not eligible for a new flat. Sorry. Your only option is the resale market.
(UPDATE 25/7/2016: As of November 2015, the income ceiling for singles to buy a new flat from HDB has been raised from $5,000 to $6,000.)
Say you earn less than $6,000 a month and you want to get a new Build to Order (BTO) HDB flat. You’re only eligible for a 2-room flat in a non-mature estate. That means the only new flat you’re getting is going to redefine the word “cosy”. One room, one kitchen, one glorified storero—I mean, bomb shelter. At only 45 square metres, you’ll need a good interior designer if you want to transform it into a similarly-sized hotel room at the Ritz-Carlton.
Non-mature estates refer to residential areas that are considered less than 20 years old. More specifically, this includes neighbourhoods like Bukit Batok, Sembawang and Punggol.
There’s no income ceiling for singles who want to buy an HDB flat from the resale market. However, there is a maximum income limit if you want to apply for a CPF Housing Grant or HDB Loan. We’ll talk a bit more about this later.
But essentially that means if you have no problems paying for a flat by the time you’re 35, then you won’t need or get any help paying it off! Cheapskate.
3. Owning Multiple Properties – Don’t be greedy.
If you already own a private property, you will still be allowed to apply to buy an HDB flat, whether on the BTO or resale market. However, you will be expected to dispose of your previous property within 30 months BEFORE the date of application (for BTO) or 6 months of the purchase (for resale).
This is because if you buy an HDB flat, you are expected to live in it, regardless of how many other properties you own or can afford.
4. Grants and Loans for Singles
Buying any property in Singapore will probably be the biggest transaction you’ll ever make in your life, so you’ll want to take not of what’s available to help you finance your purchase.
5. One other thing you should take note of…
If you apply for a BTO flat, there will be a ballot and you may be invited to book. If you don’t book a flat then, maybe because you’re not really keen on the location, you are given one more opportunity to re-apply. If you still do not book a flat on the second ballot, you will be forced to wait for a year before you can participate in any future HDB sales exercises.
This is also known as “STOP BEING AN ENTITLED DOUCHEBAG”.
What else should 35-year-old singles know about buying an HDB flat? Let us know.
Choo Yut Shing
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