What Kind of Help Can Young Couples Get From HDB When Buying Their First Home?

What Kind of Help Can Young Couples Get From HDB When Buying Their First Home?

In conventional Singaporean fashion, every couple looking to settle has to plan years ahead with a BTO application. While it may sound unromantic, it’s still the most affordable way to secure a home. Should you and your partner be looking to get hitched, working towards home ownership should take more priority than planning a wedding. 

Given the price hikes in HDB resales over the years, BTOs remain the most affordable option for young couples. Thankfully, the government is also chipping in to take some load off the younglings’ shoulders. On top of the $50,000-$80,000 Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (EHG) increment, the Ministry of National Development will roll out policies favouring first-time homeowners in June and new residential developments in the pipeline. 

How should our first-time hopefuls navigate the BTO market in 2024 in light of the upcoming policies? Here’s what you need to know.


Young couples can now defer their income assessment up to the key collection period 

Currently, HDB requires applicants to be employed throughout the 12 months of income assessment after submitting an HDB flat eligibility letter. They also have to meet a combined monthly household income of around $7,000 for 2-room to $14,000 for 4-to-5-room BTO Flexi flats ($21,000 if you purchase a flat with your extended family). 

With the new changes, you can now apply for a flat, then defer the assessment period until a later stage—all the way up to before key collection (less than 3 years in 2024, down from 3-4 in previous years). This would allow full-time students, recent graduates, or national servicemen, who plan to get married, time to build up their little nest before the assessment period. Most couples should be able to afford a BTO with 3 years of savings. 

The deferment in income assessment only applies to those who are:

  • Married or applying under the Fiance-Fiancee Scheme
  • Not older than 30 years old
  • At least one applicant is a first-time buyer

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ALSO READ: Breaking Up After Applying For a BTO Flat—How Much Money Do You Lose?


Young couples can benefit from the improved Staggered Downpayment Scheme (SDS)

Say you successfully exercised your option, it’s time to consider how to pay the downpayment. Most young couples won’t have the liquidity or sufficient CPF savings to pay the entire sum upfront. You’re looking at $72,500 in one go for an average 4-room BTO. 

Here’s where the SDS comes into play. HDB allows you to divide the downpayment into 2 phases: the first and smaller portion is due at the signing of the Agreement for Lease (AFL), while the rest can be paid at key collection, which typically occurs 2-3 years after the completion of your flat

The duration gives you ample time to prepare and accumulate your funds. Depending on your financing options, you only need to pay the initial downpayment of 5% to 10% of the purchase price, instead of the usual 10% to 20%:

Source: MoneySmart

With the revised SDS rolling out this June, if you are already eligible for the deferred income assessment, you can pay an even smaller sum, reduced from 5% to 2.5%, of the initial downpayment. More details below: 

Source: MoneySmart

Waiting for your first flat to complete? The Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme (PPHS) has got you covered 

BTO flats can take up to 3 years until completion. For young couples wanting to start a new life, it can be quite a long wait. With PPHS, it provides subsidised housing options to those with children under 18 and expectant parents, who earn $7,000 or less per month and have completed the BTO ownership process but are awaiting construction. 


The scheme also prioritises Dual-income-no-kid (DINK) couples and divorced/widowed parents with children. PPHS rent rates are often much lower than the market rate. You can get a 3-room flat in Ang Mo Kio for $800 per month, which is around the same price tag for just one room in Queenstown or Toa Payoh. This way, more of your savings can go towards paying for your new home. 

Monthly Rental Rates of PPHS Flats. Source: HDB


However, if you are unable to secure a rental supplemented by the PPHS and are looking for flats in the open market, HDB offers some help with a voucher of $300 per month to offset the rental costs. Take note that your close relatives will not be counted for the voucher, and it will be valid for only a year, starting this July

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ALSO READ: What is The HDB Resale Price Index? 


New housing areas are rolling up to meet demands 

Aside from the new initiatives, HDB is developing housing areas in the North, East, and Central Regions, which are set to launch under the Plus and Prime classifications in the second half of this year. 

These new categories of BTOs will be located in more mature estates while remaining affordable to low-to-middle-income young couples. Furthermore, there are additional subsidies on top of the usual EHG grants. Check out the upcoming housing areas that will meet housing demand from Singaporeans.

Around 10,000 units are being developed in Chencharu, Yishun 

Situated near Khatib MRT, BTOs in Chencharu are classified as Plus flats. At least 80% of homes will be set aside for public use and focus on providing flats for families wanting to live close to their parents in the area

The first project will launch as early as June, with 1,200 units of 2-room Flexi to 5-room flats. The rest of the development will come in subsequent phases.

7,000 units are expected to be built in Bayshore, Bedok 

Designed as a green car-lite estate and an extension of the Bedok neighbourhood, 70% of Bayshore will be reserved for the public. 

Residents will enjoy the convenience of Bedok South MRT station and bus-only pathways such as the Transit Priority Corridors. 1,400 2-room Flexi, 3 and 4-room flats are slated for completion around the same time as the Chencharu estate. 

Gillman Barracks are being primed for public housing 

Gillman Barracks, a historical art enclave, is also being eyed as a potential candidate for new public residential neighbourhoods with a mix of public and private housing options available by 2030. Given its central location, most BTOs developed will be Prime or Plus flats and likely to cost more than the newly-developed estates of Bayshore or Chencharu. 

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Closing Thoughts 

With the improved SDS policy, more young hopefuls can be more confident in affording their future home. With more projects being announced, you and your partner will enjoy a variety of options to consider in their application. As further details are only announced 3 months before the official launch, there will be ample time to conduct your research and consider which launch will be best suited for you both.

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