HDB Income Ceiling for BTO, EC & Resale Flats [Definitive Guide 2022]

By Amanda Goh HDB Income Ceiling for BTO, EC & Resale Flats [Definitive Guide 2022] |Published 21 Nov 2022 4 minutes

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At a glance...

Singaporeans are stuck between a rock and a hard place when buying HDB flats. You must walk a fine line between working hard to make enough money to buy a flat and not working too hard so you don’t become ineligible to buy a flat. It can be challenging to scroll through government websites to find the information you need regarding the HDB income ceiling. So, we’ve got you covered with a complete guide on everything you need to know.

The basics of the HDB income ceiling

HDB is a form of subsidized government housing with an income ceiling. The price of HDB flats is intentionally lower than that of private housing. The difference between subsidized housing in Singapore versus other countries is Singapore’s public housing is not necessarily for “the poor.” Instead, the income ceiling is more about protecting the middle class’s access to affordable housing and ensuring the rich cannot take advantage of the housing market.

Overview (HDB income ceiling)

HDB Type

Income ceiling (Average Gross Monthly Household Income)

BTO (Built to Order)

$7,000 for 2-room flexi (99-year lease) and some 3-room flats. $14,000 for all other flats

EC (Executive Condominium)

$16,000

Resale flat

None

How the HDB’s income ceiling is calculated?

HDB’s income ceiling is based on a combined household income. Therefore, if you buy a flat with your partner, the sum of both of your monthly incomes cannot exceed the income ceiling.

For example, you earn $6,000 monthly, and your partner makes $3,000. That would mean your household income is $9,000.

For salaried employees, your gross monthly income is calculated as an average from your last 3 months of revenue. This is important to know if you have variable pay. Let’s say you made $2,500 one month, $3,000 the next, and $3,500 the month after; your average monthly income would be reported as $3,000. The HDB will use your last-drawn pay if your wage is fixed. Now, what happens if you take no-pay leave? If you’re on leave for 6 months or less, the HDB will use your last-drawn pay. But if your leave extends for more than six months, you will be considered unemployed. Regarding freelancers and self-employed freelancers, the HDB will calculate your income based on the average of your last six months’ income.

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Considerations

The good thing about how the income ceiling is calculated is that bonuses and overtime income are not included, although it does include allowances. So, if you get a weekly transportation allowance, that will be factored in.

HDB BTO income ceilings

Look at the figures in the first graph to understand the typical family nucleus. However, review the second graph below if you’re a single buyer or applying as a multi-generational family.

Single buyers are limited to 2-room flexi flats, and the income ceiling of $7,000 is fixed. Families and couples, on the other hand, typically remain at the $14,000 income ceiling, but there may be particular instances where exceptions are made for 2-room and 3-room flats. You can find more information about this in the BTO info sheets. Regarding multi-generational families, the highest income ceiling is set at $21,000.

HDB BTO income ceiling 2022

HDB Type

Income ceiling (Average Gross Monthly Household Income)

2-room flexi flat (99-year lease)

$7,000

2-room flexi flat (short lease, 15 to 45 years)

$14,000

3-room flat

$7,000 or $14,000, depending on project*

4-room flat & above

$14,000

Appling as

Income ceiling

Single

$7,000

Family/couple

$7,000 for 2-room flexi (99-year lease) and some 3-room flats. $14,000 for all other flats

Extended/multi-gen family

$21,000

HDB EC income ceiling

The income ceiling for buying executive condominiums (ECs) is slightly different. The standard is $16,000, higher than the $14,000 for BTO flats.

Another critical difference is that singles are not permitted to buy ECs independently. Although, if two or more singles join, they can purchase an EC through a Joint Singles Scheme. The income ceiling of the individuals would not be able to exceed $16,000.

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Considerations

It’s also crucial to note that you cannot get an HDB loan on executive condominiums. However, you can take out a bank loan for the 25% down payment.

HDB resale flat income ceiling

When it comes to resale blessings, it’s a blessing and a curse. No income ceiling exists on resale flats; they can be bought and sold on the open market. Because of this, many flats are being sold at a market value of over $1 million. Typically this happens after an owner finishes their Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) and decides to sell their flat.

Once the buyer decides to sell, the flat price is no longer suppressed by HDB valuations. However, all other HDB criteria still apply, including buying as a family nucleus or as a single over 35 and ethnic and non-citizen quotas. Another thing to note is you can apply for a CPF Housing Grant to purchase a resale flat.

Are HDB’s income ceiling fair?

Let’s break it down to the cold hard truth. In 2020, the median gross monthly income was $4,534, and the median monthly household income was $9,198. Therefore, at a $14,000 income ceiling for couples, about 80% of households in Singapore will be under the income ceiling.

Some people think the income ceiling should be lowered so more Singaporeans who actually need it have access to affordable housing. While other people believe the BTO income ceiling should be removed altogether, allowing Singaporeans to buy HDB flats regardless of income.

On the other hand, the government has been raising BTO income ceilings over the years. In doing so, they likely track income across the country to ensure a fixed percentage of households can qualify for the flats. There is no doubt that it is crucial to keep affordable housing in Singapore for lower-income families

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