HDB Sale Of Balance Flats (HDB SBF) 2024: Everything You Need To Know

Yen Joon

Yen Joon

Last updated 21 February, 2024

The HDB SBF scheme allows you to fast-track your chance of getting a home. Here’s what you need to know. 

Best home insurance in Singapore

Aviva Home Lite | AXA Smart Home Insurance | MSIG Enhanced HomePlus | FWD Home Insurance | Tiq Home Insurance | Sompo HomeBliss | HL Assurance Home Protect360 | AIG Homes Advantage Package | AIG Enhanced Public Housing Contents Insurance Policy

The HDB Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) scheme may not be as popular as BTO flats, however, these ‘leftover’ flats oftentimes have high subscription rates during launch exercises.

For example, in the HDB SBF Nov 2022 launch, more than 25,000 applicants were vying for just 1,071 flats. This meant that the application rate was 23.7!

For comparison, there were 24,562 applications for the Nov 2022 BTO flats, with an application rate of 2.5. 

If you’re looking to buy a home, but find the long waiting times of BTO flats too long or are priced out from the sky-high prices of resale flats these days, getting an HDB Sale of Balance Flat may just be your answer.  

In this article, we’ll explain what exactly is an HDB SBF and why you should (and shouldn’t) consider getting one.

SCB PL_KV1_BLOGARTICLE_800x250

Singsaver Exclusive Offer: Receive the following rewards when you apply for an SCB CashOne Personal Loan.

New Customers: Receive an Apple iPhone 15 128GB (worth S$1,311) or a Dyson Purifier Cool Air Purifier TP07 (worth S$909) or an Apple iPad 10th Gen 10.9 64 GB (worth S$529) or a Dyson V8 Slim Fluffy (worth S$509) or a Nintendo Switch Gen 2 (worth S$399) or up to S$1,040 eCapitaV upon loan approval when you apply for a minimum loan of S$8,000. Valid till 30 June 2024.  T&Cs apply.

Existing Customers: Receive up to S$520 eCapitaV upon loan approval when you apply for a minimum loan of S$8,000 with a tenure of 3 to 5 years. Valid till 30 June 2024. T&Cs apply.

Plus, enjoy up to S$4,100 cashback when you apply for a min. loan of S$12,000 with a tenure of 3 to 5 years. Valid till 30 September 2024. T&Cs apply.

 

Table of contents



What is an HDB SBF or Sale of Balance Flat?

As mentioned, HDB SBFs are basically unsold flats from previous BTO exercises, surplus flats from Selective En Bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS), and flats that were repurchased by HDB.

Before, HDB SBF launches happened twice a year and usually coincided with BTO launches in May and November. However, starting from 2024, there will only be one SBF exercise per year

The majority of flats sold under the HDB SBF scheme are either new or under construction, so most come with a fresh 99-year lease.

That said, they aren’t as many flats offered compared to BTO launches. For instance, in May 2023, there were 1,500 HDB SBFs available. In contrast, 5,495 BTO flats were offered in the May 2023 BTO exercise.  

Pros and cons of Sale of Balance Flats

Pro: It has a shorter waiting time compared to BTO flats

BTO flats will only start construction if 70% of the units are booked. Therefore, it takes about four to five years on average for them to complete. With further construction delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the waiting times for some of these projects have been pushed back until early 2025

On the other hand, HDB SBFs are mainly flats that have been completed or are under construction, so the waiting time is much shorter, up to nine months from your application submission date. 

Hence, the main reason to consider an HDB SBF over a BTO flat is if you don’t want to wait that long for your flat to complete. While you can get a resale flat, remember that Sale of Balance Flats are subsidised by the government, making them a more affordable option. 
 

Con: HDB SBFs tend to be slightly more expensive than BTO flats

Prices of HDB SBFs are adjusted to market conditions. This means that they typically cost more than their BTO counterparts in the same launch. 

Pro: But HDB SBFs aren't always more expensive than BTO units

That said, not all balance flats are more expensive than BTO flats; for instance, in the HDB SBF launch in May 2022, a 4-room room flat in Queenstown started from S$331,000. In the same May 2022 BTO exercise, a 4-room flat in Queenstown was priced from S$511,000, or about S$180,000 more. 

Back to top

Con: The HDB ethnic quota applies to HDB SBF units

Another barrier you might encounter is the Ethnic Integration Policy (EIP). Yes, HDB SBF units are still subject to EIP.

The EIP is one of many schemes in the government’s toolbox to foster racial harmony and tolerance.

In a nutshell, the EIP stipulates a quota of different ethnicities in each HDB housing block. This could raise or lower your chances of getting a unit, depending on the existing quotas in your housing block. 

Want to get the best home loan rates? Speak to a Mortgage Master Specialist by filling up the form below:

 


Pro: More locations and flat types available

Unlike a typical BTO launch, which usually only offers flats in three or four locations, HDB SBFs are pooled together from many different locations, across both mature and non-mature estates

This means you have a greater number of locations to choose from, especially if you want to live in a particular estate that isn’t available in the BTO launch. If you’re extremely lucky, this could be a second chance for you to get a flat in the area you’ve been eyeing.

For the same reason, you will usually encounter a large selection of different unit types on offer, ranging from 3-room units all the way up to 3Gen flats

Back to top

Con: You have a shorter time to get your finances ready

While HDB SBF units have shorter waiting times, the compromise is that you have less time to save up for the downpayment as well as other costs such as renovation. 

With BTO flats, you have a buffer time of about three to five years to save up before your flat is ready. 


 

 

 

Pro: There’s more information about HDB SBF units compared to BTO flats

Since HDB SBF units are either completed or almost completed, you know a lot more about the launch such as the flat’s location, block and unit number, and even the EIP and Singapore Permanent Resident (SPR) quotas. These are not present in BTO launches.

That said, HDB only releases information about HDB SBF on the day of the launch, so you only have about a week to look through the information and submit the application.
 

Con: Limited selection of flat choices

As these flats consist of leftover units, they can be deemed ‘undesirable’. Some of these include being located on lower floors, facing the centralised refuse chute, west-facing units, or units with ‘inauspicious’ Feng Shui… you get the idea.

Hence, HDB SBF units are only suitable for buyers who do not mind their ‘flaws’, a thorny task made even more difficult given the small pool of available units to choose from. 

Back to top

Pro: HDB SBF buyers are eligible for CPF Housing Grants

Similar to HDB BTO flats, you’re also eligible for the Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (EHG) of up to S$80,000. If you’re a second-time home buyer buying a subsidised 2-room or 3-room HDB SBF unit, you can also receive up to S$15,000 in grants via the Step-Up CPF Housing Grant (SUHG).

Con: Not all HDB SBFs are new flats

While most HDB SBF units are unsold flats from previous BTO exercises, some also consist of remaining flats from SERS as well as flats that were repurchased by HDB from their previous owners. 

In particular, repurchased flats are old flats that were sold to HDB by their previous owners can be quite old. Some of the reasons why the owners chose to give up their flats include couples who broke up before the Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) and previous owners who were unable to keep up with the mortgage repayments. In other words, some HDB SBFs don’t come with a fresh 99-year lease and could be decades-old.

Pro: However, they’re still cheaper than resale flats 

If you don’t mind buying an old SBF, you can snag an HDB SBF that’s below the price of resale flats in the market. 

For instance, in in the May 2023 HDB SBF launch, the starting price of a 4-room flat in Ang Mo Kio was selling for S$298,000 (excluding grants). In contrast, a 4-room resale flat in the estate was priced from S$402,888 to nearly a million dollars.

Back to top

Con: Housing privileges and priority schemes also apply

Aside from the EIP, SBF launches are also subject to various housing priority schemes. So for example, first-timers will be given priority and will have two ballot chances, compared to second-timers.

Those who qualify under the Parenthood Priority Scheme (PPS) and Married Child Priority Scheme (MCPS) will also be at an advantage here.

In addition, a higher proportion of flats will also be allocated to first-time applicants. For instance, in non-mature estates, 95% of the remaining non-senior flat will be reserved for first-timers.  

This means that if you’re a second-time applicant, you’ll only be invited for unit selection after the priority groups, and even then, only if there are more than 34 units available for public application. Moreover, only 5% of the units will be allocated to you.

Back to top

CIMB_PL_TIERED_BLOGARTICLE_800x250 (3)

SingSaver Exclusive Offer: Receive a Macbook Air 256 GB 13 Inch M2 Chip (worth S$1,613.80) or a Dyson V12s Detect Slim Submarine™ Complete (worth S$1,449) or a PlayStation 5 (Disc Version) (worth S$799) or a Dyson AM07 Tower Fan (worth S$459) or up to S$1,200 Cash when you get approved for a CIMB Personal Loan with a min. loan amount of S$8,000 and tenure of 3 to 5 years. Applicable to new customers only. Valid till 19 June 2024. T&Cs apply.

 

HDB SBF vs open booking of flats: what’s the difference?

You may have also heard of open booking of flats, so how’s it different from HDB SBFs?

Basically, the Open booking of flats exercise consists of unselected HDB SBFs. In other words, they’re ‘leftover’ flats from HDB SBF sales exercises. 

This also means that there will be even fewer units and unit types offered compared to Sale of Balance Flat exercises. 

Before 2020, all unsold HDB SBFs would be pooled together and sold through the Re-Offer of Balance Flat (ROF) scheme. If there were still any unselected flats, they will be reoffered again via Open Booking of Flats.

However, HDB has since scrapped the ROF scheme to allow home buyers to access flats more quickly. So now, all unsold HDB SBFs will be offered for open booking. 

Flats offered under the open booking scheme are based on a first come first served basis. You can apply for a flat online at any time and receive a queue number to book a flat as early as the next working day.

There aren't any flats available for Open Booking; the latest exercise was concluded on 29 March 2023. 

Schemes HDB SBF Open booking of flats
Units offered Unsold flats from previous BTO exercises, remainders from SERS and flats repurchased by HDB All units that remain unsold from HDB SBF exercises
Availability Once a year, next in Feb Subject to availability, which will be announced by HDB
Application period One week (during SBF launch) Open throughout the year
Unit types offered Mixture of different unit types, including 3Gen flats Limited unit types
HDB ethnic quota Applicable Applicable

 

How does the HDB SBF Scheme work?

HDB SBF launches are typically timed to coincide with BTO launches, with both offered under a single joint exercise. 

However, applicants may not apply for both BTO and HDB SBF units during the same launch - they have to pick one or the other. Hence, you’ll have to be sure about what you want before applying. 

In terms of the application process, applying for an HDB SBF unit is pretty similar to applying for a BTO flat. You may want to review our guide on BTO applications.  

In any case, here’s a quick summary of how to apply for an HDB SBF flat.

Back to top

HDB Sale of Balance Flat (SBF) application process in six steps

We assume you’ve checked your eligibility to apply for an HDB flat, and have prepared the appropriate financing schemes

Here are the steps in the application process.

  1. Watch out for the SBF announcement by HDB.
  2. Submit your application within the launch period (one week).
  3. Wait for the results of the HDB ballot. This could take a few weeks.
  4. Depending on your queue number, you may be invited to select and book a unit.
  5. If selected, and you find a suitable unit, make your booking.
  6. Wait to collect your keys. This could be as soon as three months for completed flats.

Sale of Balance Flats sales launch in Feb 2024

The Feb 2024 SBF launch will see 1,588 flats available across various towns. You can apply online by 28 February 2024, Wednesday, 11:59pm.

Mature towns

Towns

Flat application category

Flat supply

Selling price (excluding grants)

Ang Mo Kio



2-room Flexi (short lease

20

From S$132,000

2-room Flexi (99-year/balance lease)

From S$231,000

4-room

32

From S$594,000

5-room

19

From S$794,000

Clementi

2-room Flexi (short lease)

7

From S$97,000

2-room Flexi (99-year/balance lease)

From S$169,000

3-room

11

From S$337,000

4-room

6

From S$441,000

5-room

3

From S$644,000

Kallang/Whampoa

2-room Flexi (short lease)

47

From S$134,000

2-room Flexi (99-year/balance lease)

From S$234,000

3-room

10

From S$402,000

4-room

48

From S$562,000

Queenstown

3-room

41

From S$444,000

4-room

134

From S$592,000

Tampines

2-room Flexi (short lease)

27

From S$89,000

2-room Flexi (99-year/balance lease)

From S$153,000

3-room 

7

From S$289,000

4-room

67

From S$370,000

5-room

52

From S$551,000


Non-mature towns/estates

Towns

Flat application category

Flat supply

Selling price (excluding grants)

Bukit Batok



Community Care Apartments (CCA)

51

From S$62,000

2-room Flexi (short lease)

20

From S$69,000

2-room Flexi (99-year/balance lease)

From S$118,000

3-room (income ceiling S$7,000)

31

From S$249,000

4-room

18

From S$346,000

5-room

17

From S$481,000

Choa Chu Kang

2-room Flexi (short lease)

9

From S$77,000

2-room Flexi (99-year/balance lease)

From S$133,000

3-room (income ceiling S$7,000)

6

From S$249,000

4-room

15

From S$317,000

5-room

11

From S$486,000

Hougang

2-room Flexi (short lease)

20

From S$78,000

2-room Flexi (99-year/balance lease)

From S$135,000

4-room

21

From S$378,000

5-room

11

From S$531,000

Jurong West

2-room Flexi (short lease)

25

From S$74,000

2-room Flexi (99-year/balance lease)

From S$128,000

3-room (income ceiling S$7,000)

5

From S$263,000

4-room

 

From S$366,000

5-room

 

From S$542,000

Sengkang

2-room Flexi (short lease)

58

From S$68,000

2-room Flexi (99-year/balance lease)

From S$118,000

3-room  (income ceiling S$7,000)

7

From S$237,000

4-room

30

From S$350,000

5-room

13

From S$480,000

Yishun

2-room Flexi (short lease)

290

From S$51,000

2-room Flexi (99-year/balance lease)

From S$88,000

3-room (income ceiling S$7,000)

6

From S$215,000

4-room 

190

From S$268,000

5-room

187

From S$382,000



Back to top

 

Find and compare the best home loans on SingSaver

Planning to get a Sale of Balance Flat? Apply for a home loan on SingSaver now.

 


Or protect the contents of your home with a home insurance plan

A home insurance plan is a standalone plan that is different from the compulsory fire insurance plans that comes with your HDB/bank loan.

Long story short, a fire insurance plan's coverage is limited to structural damages to the building whereas a home insurance plan is more comprehensive as it insures your home contents, personal contents, pets, personal liabilities and much more. 

Check out the best home insurance plans in Singapore below:

Aviva Home Lite | AXA Smart Home Insurance | MSIG Enhanced HomePlus | FWD Home Insurance | Tiq Home Insurance | Sompo HomeBliss | HL Assurance Home Protect360 | AIG Homes Advantage Package | AIG Enhanced Public Housing Contents Insurance Policy

Read these next:
Step-By-Step Guide To Buying Your Very First HDB BTO In Singapore
How Much Do You Need To Buy Your First Home In Singapore?
The Complete Guide To Transfer Of HDB Ownership
How To Negotiate And Offer The Right Price When Buying A HDB Resale Flat
What Type Of HDB Flats Can Single Singaporeans Buy?

 

In my past life, I was always broke because of a lack of financial literacy. Now, I publish a few posts every week* on personal finance to help you manage your money better. *I mean, I’ll try

FINANCIAL TIP:

Use a personal loan to consolidate your outstanding debt at a lower interest rate!

Sign up for our newsletter for financial tips, tricks and exclusive information that can be personalised to your preferences!