HDB Grants Guide 2021 — What’s the Max CPF Housing Grant You Can Get?

HDB Grants 101

If you’re buying an HDB flat in Singapore for the first time, you’re just beginning to realise how much it costs to live in what is essentially a tiny space in the sky. Fortunately there are HDB grants to help those of us who aren’t exactly rolling in cash.

HDB grants are technically CPF housing grants, since they are disbursed in the form of CPF top ups and have to be returned to your CPF when you sell the flat. Still, that’s not gonna stop most Singaporeans from seeing them as “free money” or “gahmen give discount”.

The thing is, these grants are a confusing bunch, with different conditions to fulfil before you can qualify. This article breaks down the requirements and how you can get as much as you can qualify for.

Contents

  1. HDB grants (CPF housing grants) at a glance
  2. Enhanced CPF Housing Grant — for HDB BTO & resale
  3. Family Grant (HDB Resale Grant) — for resale HDB
  4. Proximity Housing Grant — for resale HDB
  5. Family Grant — for executive condo
  6. How do HDB grants factor into your housing options
  7. Things to note about HDB grants

 

TL;DR: HDB grants (CPF housing grants) at a glance

CPF (or HDB) Housing Grants are given to lower- and middle-income families to help make their home purchases more affordable. 

The grants will be fully credited into an applicant’s CPF Ordinary Account after flat booking, and be used to offset the purchase price of the flat, hence lowering the home loan amount required.

Assuming you’re applying for an HDB flat as a couple, you’re both Singapore citizens, and are first time buyers, this is an overview of HDB grants available for different housing types:

HDB type CPF housing grant Income ceiling Grant amount
BTO / resale Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (EHG) $9,000 $5,000 to $80,000
Resale Family Grant $14,000 $40,000 to $50,000
Resale Proximity Housing Grant (PHG) None $20,000 to $30,000
EC Family Grant $16,000 $10,000 to $30,000

Totalling it up, this is the maximum grant you can get for the different flat types, assuming you qualify for all:

  • HDB BTO grant: EHG = up to $80,000 (also applies to sale of balance flats too)
  • HDB resale grant: EHG + Family Grant + PHG = up to $160,000
  • EC grant: Family Grant = $10,000 to $30,000

how to get all the hdb grants in Singapore

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1. HDB BTO & resale grant: Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (EHG)

The Enhanced CPF Housing Grant is a catch-all HDB grant that is meant to help all local lower- to middle-class couples afford a home. It’s applicable to all HDB BTO and HDB resale flats and there is no restriction on flat size or estate. Woohoo!

Who is it for: Singaporean couples/families earning $9,000 or less per month, calculated as average household income across the past 12 months. At least one applicant has to be working for at least a year.

HDB flat eligibility: Both new (BTO/sale of balance) and resale flats are eligible. For resale flats, the remaining lease must be at least 30 years.

Grant amount: From $5,000 to $80,000. The grant amount is inversely proportionate to your household income, so the less you earn, the more you get. 

What about singles? Singles aged 35 applying for a resale HDB flat are eligible for EHG. The income requirement and grant amount are both halved, so you can get up to $40,000.

What about foreigners? Under the Non-Citizen Spouse Scheme, Singapore citizens who are married to foreigners qualify for the singles’ grant. You can get up to $40,000 in grants depending on your household income. The only difference is that you would qualify from age 21 (instead of the usual 35, for singles).

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2. HDB resale flat grant: Family Grant

Buying an HDB resale flat tends to be more expensive than a BTO, but first-time HDB applicants get a significant one-off Family Grant as a “discount”. You can stack the Family Grant together with the EHG (above) to make HDB resale flats a lot more affordable.

Who is it for: First-timer couples or families buying a resale flat. The combined income ceiling for couples is $14,000. If you’re applying together with more family members, such as with your parents, the household income ceiling is $21,000. 

HDB flat eligibility: Any resale flat, 2-room and larger.

Grant amount: For couples/families who are all Singapore citizens, the Family Grant is either $50,000 (2- to 4-room flat) or $40,000 (5-room and up). If applying as a citizen-PR couple, you get $10,000 less, but you can get it back later on if the PR converts into citizen or if you have a child. 

What about singles? There’s a singles version of this, known as the Singles Grant. As with the EHG, the income ceiling and grant amounts are halved. The Singles Grant is $25,000 (2- to 4-room) or $20,000 (5-room or bigger). 

What about foreigners? Citizen-foreigner couples are eligible for the same Singles Grant just mentioned. Your gross monthly household income must not exceed $14,000.

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3. HDB resale flat grant: Proximity Housing Grant (PHG)

There are lots of advantages to living with or near your parents. They can look after your young children. They can sign for deliveries that come during the day while you’re out at work. They can tell your spouse how to be a better child-in-law.

Okay, that last one might not be an advantage… 

If you have an okay relationship with the folks, consider the Proximity Housing Grant (PHG) when shopping for a resale flat. You can get this grant as long as you stay within 4km of them. PHG can be stacked with the EHG and Family Grant, which stretches your dollar when it comes to buying a resale flat.

Who is it for: HDB resale flat buyers living with OR within 4km of their parents. It also applies to older couples who want to move closer to their married children. There is no income ceiling and you do not have to be a first-time applicant.

HDB flat eligibility: Any resale HDB flat (2-room or bigger) as long as the lease has at least 20 years left. (Note: The parents’ / married children’s home need not be HDB flat; it can be private property too.) This is a one-time grant.

Grant amount: $20,000 if you live within 4km radius of your parents/married children. Or get $30,000 if you apply to live together as an extended family.

What about singles? Don’t worry, the Proximity Housing Grant applies to filial singles too. As with all the other grants, you get half the grant amount. Not a bad reward for ensuring you can always go visit your parents for dinner whenever you feel like it.

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4. HDB executive condominium (EC) grant: Family Grant

First-time HDB buyers benefit from a Family Grant when they buy an EC, although it’s less than what you would get for a resale flat. 

Who is it for: First-time housing applicants applying for an executive condo as a couple or family unit, with a household income ceiling of $16,000. If one of you is a first-timer and the other is a second-timer applicant, you can also qualify for the “Half Housing Grant”, which is basically half of the Family Grant.

HDB flat eligibility: ECs of any type, when bought directly from the developer. You can apply for the Family Grant at the point of booking your EC unit.

Grant amount: Assuming the buyers are both Singapore citizens, you can get $10,000 to $30,000, depending on your income. For citizen-PR households, the grant is $10,000 less, which you can get “refunded” later if you have a child or the PR converts into a citizen.

What about singles? Erm… Sorry, singles are not even allowed to buy brand new ECs, at least on your own. You have to apply jointly with another single. And of course, both of you must be at least 35. However, there’s no grant available if you do so. 

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HDB grants 2021

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Examples of HDB grants in action…

Let’s say you and your fiancee (straight couple, both citizens) are fresh grads, have been working for a year, and command a princely $6,000 a month in combined salaries. 

This is the best time to apply for an HDB flat since your income is at its all-time low, so you qualify for all public housing types and for most grants. Here’s how the HDB grants factor into your options:

Purchase price HDB grant amount Final price
HDB BTO/SBF $350,000 $35,000 (EHG) $315,000
HDB resale flat $450,000 $50,000 (Family Grant) + $35,000 (EHG) + $20,000 (PHG) = $105,000 $345,000
Executive condo $800,000 $30,000 (Family Grant) $770,000

Now let’s consider another couple who are a few years into their careers and earning a combined $9,000 a month. Perhaps at this point, they may be considering only HDB flats in the more prestigious “top school” locations, which impacts the price of the properties:

Purchase price HDB grant amount Final price
HDB BTO $550,000 $5,000 (EHG) $500,000
HDB resale flat $650,000 $50,000 (Family Grant) + $5,000 (EHG) + $20,000 (PHG) = $75,000 $575,000
Executive condo $800,000 $30,000 (Family Grant) $770,000

As you can see, the stacked HDB grants close the gap between HDB BTOs and resale flats.

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Important things to know about CPF housing grants

There are just 3 quick points we need to make:

1. You have to return all HDB grants to your CPF with interest

HDB grants aren’t discounts. Instead, the grant money is credited into your CPF OA, and then deducted for your home downpayment.

So once you sell your flat, you’ll need to pay back any grants back into your CPF, including accrued interest of 2.5% per year. (Same rule applies to whatever CPF savings you used to pay for the flat downpayment or mortgage.)

Theoretically, this isn’t a big deal since you can use your CPF OA savings on your next home. But there’s a clause saying that if you got more than $30,000 in grants, some of it might get diverted to your SA or Medisave, which can’t be used on housing.

2. You can’t use the grants to skip out on your downpayment or monthly repayment

All the HDB grants are used to subsidise the initial purchase price — you cannot use it to avoid making any home loan repayments.

If you have taken out a bank loan, you will need to pay 5% of the purchase price in cash. You can’t use the grants to pay that portion. You also can’t use the grants to offset entire monthly repayments.

If you’re trying to decide between taking an HDB loan or bank loan, you can easily speak to MoneySmart’s Mortgage Specialists to figure out which makes more financial sense for you.

3. You may need to pay a resale levy when buying a new property

If you buy a new HDB flat or receive a CPF Housing Grant, you will need to pay a resale levy if you plan to buy another new HDB flat or a new EC unit. This is the government’s way of ensuring you don’t enjoy too many property subsidies in your lifetime.

The amount of the resale levy is based on the size of your first HDB flat. There is no resale levy if you buy a resale flat or private property.

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