2023 Guide To Executive Condominiums (EC) In Singapore

Deborah Gan

Deborah Gan

Last updated 16 January, 2023

From finding out your eligibility to own an Executive Condominium (EC) to a step-by-step process of getting your hands on a unit, here’s the ultimate guide to all you need to know about ECs.

 

An accessible pool to clock in laps, a big-enough gym that is fully functional, the option of having a BBQ party with the under-utilised BBQ pits, and not forgetting the peace of mind from the added security — what is there not to like about condominiums?

When the government announced the 1st half of the 2023 Government Land Sales (GLS) programme, it included a total of seven new housing sites, including 3 ECs in the confirmed and reserved lists. This raises the projected number of private housing units, including ECs, by 16.7% from 2022 H2 to a total of 17,020 units

From a 2021 poll, we found that most Singaporeans prefer to live in a condominium penthouse over a landed property if they have the financial means. What’s stopping people from living in a private condominium is of course, the hefty price tag.

If you’re bogged down by the exorbitant prices but want the facilities that a condominium offers, an Executive Condominium (EC) might be a good option.

Not only are they slightly less pricey, but these public housing also have great investment potential once they become privatised after 10 years.

Intrigued? Here’s all you need to know about ECs and whether they might become your next (not exactly) humble abode.

What is an executive condominium (EC)?

Known as the ‘sandwich flat’, ECs are catered to the small percentage of home-seekers whose income ceiling is too high for an HDB flat but are unable or unwilling to purchase a private condominium. 

It is a hybrid form of private-public housing, as it is considered public housing when first sold to the buyer but is automatically privatised after a decade. 

In terms of functionality, ECs look the part and walk the talk — they resemble a private condo and offer the same amenities, including swimming pools, gyms, clubhouses, tennis courts, etc. You’ll also have tight security around the compound.

List of ECs to look out for 

Latest New ECs Upcoming ECs Recent ECs
North Gaia @Yishun North Ave 9 New EC @Tampines St 62 Parcel B (estimated launch: March 2023) Parc Greenwich @Fernvale Lane (expected TOP 2024 Q4)
Copen Grand New EC @Tengah Garden Walk New EC @Bukit Batok Ave 8 (expected launch: 2024) Provence Residence @Canberra Link (expected TOP 2024 Q4)
Tenet New EC @Tampines St 62 Parcel A New EC @Bukit Batok Ave 5 (expected launch: 2023 H2) Parc Central Residences @Tampines Ave 10 (expected TOP 2023 Q3)
  New EC @Tengah Plantation Loop (estimated launch: 2024 Q4) Piermont Grand @Punggol (expected TOP 2022 Q4)
  New EC @Senja Close (2022 H2 Reserved Site GLS) Parc Canberra @Canberra (expected TOP 2023 Q3)
  New EC @Plantation Close (estimated launch date: June 2023) Ola EC @Anchorvale Crescent (expected TOP 2024 Q3)

source: URA

Who is eligible?

Unlike private condos that are basically accessible to any who have the financial capability to purchase them, ECs come with more requirements.

Similar to the eligibility requirements to get an HDB flat, you’ll have to qualify for one of these schemes:

  • Public Scheme
  • Fiancé/Fiancee Scheme
  • Orphans Scheme
  • Joint Singles Scheme

At least one applicant must be a Singapore citizen, while one of you must be at least 21 years of age. If you’re applying under the Joint Singles Scheme, you must be at least 35 years old.

The only aspect that differs is the income ceiling which currently stands at S$16,000 and below. This means that if you and your co-applicant have a combined income of more than S$16,000, you won’t be allowed to apply for an EC.

You’re also not allowed to own other property overseas or locally or have disposed of any within the last 30 months. On top of that, you must not have just bought a new HDB/DBSS flat or EC, or received a CPF Housing Grant before, or have only bought one of these properties or received one CPF Housing Grant thus far.

If you're still shopping for other properties, consider growing your savings at a priority banking account, where you'll earn preferential interest rates for fixed deposits, loans, and more privileges. 

What grants are available?

Thankfully, there are still some CPF grants available to help you shave off the purchase price of your home: mainly the Family Grant and Half-Housing Grant. To be eligible, at least one of you will have to be a Singapore citizen and a first-time applicant, and your combined income ceiling cannot exceed S$12,000.

Source: HDB

Unfortunately, the Enhanced CPF Grant is not applicable for ECs.

Process of buying a new EC

1. Visit the showroom

Firstly, you’ll need to pick a project that you’re interested in. Before you apply, it’s best to head down to their showflat to view the available units and to get an overview of the amenities, location, etc. We also recommend taking a trip down to the exact site to get a sense of the general vibe — is it a noisy neighbourhood? Are certain units blocked by ongoing construction? These are some things you can’t know just by viewing the showflat.

Do remember to bring the necessary documents like your NRIC, 12 months’ worth of income slips, Notice of Assessment (for the unemployed), proof of marital status and birth certificates. It’s best to check beforehand which documents are necessary before you drop by.

For EC projects that are yet to be launched, you will need to indicate your interest online. But don’t worry, you are not obligated to purchase a unit!

2. Submit your application

Once you’ve picked the project of your choice and can remotely see yourself living there for at least the next five years, it’s time to submit your application online or via walk-in (depending on the developer). The developers will go through your application again, to ensure that you’re eligible, before assigning ballot numbers. This will include the appointment date for you to head down to confirm a unit.

3. Book your flat

If you’ve made it this far, it means that your application was successful! Now it’s time to physically head down to choose a unit. It’s best to plan out a few unit choices that you’d like beforehand, so you don’t end up rushing to select a random unit because of the time crunch when you’re there.

But don’t worry if you’re not satisfied with the available units, because you can still withdraw your application.

If you choose to proceed with it, you will need to sign an Option To Purchase (OTP) agreement, which is a law-binding contract to ‘reserve’ the unit. Since you’re ‘reserving’ a unit, you’ll also have to pay a 5% option fee in cash. HDB will then review your application, which can take up to four weeks. You should also submit your CPF housing grant application form at this stage, if applicable.

4. Sort out your finances 

While HDB gets back to you to approve your application, start applying for a bank loan, get the Letter of Offer (LO) and hire a conveyancing lawyer to settle all your admin matters for you. Remember to hand them a copy of your OTP agreement as well.

Since you are not eligible for an HDB loan, it would be good to shop around for a bank loan. Do you prioritise lower interest rates? Do you prefer a fixed loan? You’ll have to take all these into consideration.

5. Sign S&P documents and pay stamp duties

Once HDB approves your application, you can make it official by signing the Sales and Purchase Agreement (S&P) that will be sent to you within three weeks. At this juncture, you’ll also have to pay your BSD and the remaining 15% down payment. There’s also 1% to 3% legal and stamp fees that you’ll have to foot within nine weeks via CPF funds or cash.

You should also submit your LO to the bank of your choice since your unit is confirmed. 

6. Collect your keys

Congratulations! After a painful couple of years of waiting, your house is ready. You’ll receive an invitation to collect your keys. You can now start your renovations and finally move into your home sweet home.

EC vs Private condominium

Here is an overview of the differences between an EC and a private condo:

  EC Private condominium
Price Less expensive More expensive
Lease 99 years 99 years or freehold
Private or public? Public for the first 10 years Private
Minimum Occupancy Period (MOP) Five years(but 10 years to be privatised) NA
Income ceiling S$16,000 NA
CPF housing grants availability Housing Grant or Half-Housing Grant for first times NA
Location Usually quite inaccessible Very spread out
Launch frequency One to two per year Any time of the year
Completion date Up to five years depending on development Immediately

Pros and cons of an EC

Pros of an EC Cons of an EC
More affordable: Typically cheaper than private condos MOP applies: Bounded to the house for five years before you can sell or rent it out, while it takes an additional five years for it to be privatised
Great for investment: High appreciation potential that will be good for investment Low availability and poor locations: Very few launches compared to private condo and locations are generally quite inaccessible
Grant availability: CPF housing grants like the Family Grant and Half-Housing Grant are applicable, unlike for private condos Long completion time: You’ll have to wait for ECs to be constructed and completed before collecting your keys and moving it, which usually ranges from three to six years

Who should opt for it?

Generally, most would go for an HDB flat as their first choice. But if you exceed the income ceiling of S$14,000 and want the convenience of facilities that condominiums offer, you can opt for an EC instead that is generally less expensive than a private condo.

Those who are looking for investment opportunities might also benefit from an EC the most, since it becomes privatised after 10 years, offering a high appreciation potential in the long run.

However, you’ll have to be prepared to wait out the construction period before you can move in. If not, you can always opt for alternatives like an HDB resale flat (which does not have an income ceiling), a private condo or a landed property.

You also can’t be picky with location as most ECs are located at inaccessible spots that are usually not within close proximity to MRT stations.

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A mahjong addict with an undying love for dogs, Deborah is always on the hunt for cheap deals because she is always broke. That is why she is attempting to be more financially savvy to be.. less broke