How To Buy A House In Singapore: A Complete Guide (2023)

SingSaver team

SingSaver team

Last updated 30 September, 2022

A comprehensive list of questions you might ask as you look to buy a house in Singapore. This includes the latest property cooling measures announced by the Singapore Government on 29 September 2022.

If the American Dream is a house with a white picket fence, 2.5 kids, and a dog, then the Singapore equivalent would be to own property.

Singapore may rank as the ninth costliest city in the world, but thanks to extensive government measures in the form of market regulation and financial grants, most Singaporeans can still afford to own a home specifically, the 2019 home ownership rate in Singapore was 90.4%.

Here are the basics of what you need to know about home ownership in Singapore:

What type of properties can a Singaporean buy in Singapore?

There are 3 main types of properties in Singapore:

  • HDB flats
  • Private properties
  • Executive Condominiums (ECs)

To buy a HDB flat, you must be a Singapore Citizen or a Permanent Resident (PR).

Singapore Citizens and PRs are also allowed to purchase any type of private properties (including apartments and landed bungalows) and ECs, but do take note of certain restrictions regarding ownership of HDB flats.

Back to top

What types of properties can foreigners buy in Singapore?

Foreigners can purchase private properties such as private apartments and condominiums, but will need government approval to buy landed properties like bungalows.

Foreigners can only buy Executive Condominiums (ECs) that are at least 10 years old.

Foreigners cannot purchase HDB flats in Singapore.

Back to top

At what age can you buy a house in Singapore?

To purchase a resale HDB flat, the minimum age is 21 years old, provided that you are purchasing as part of a family nucleus. The nucleus can include:

  • Spouse and children
  • Parents and siblings
  • Children under your legal custody (if widowed or divorced)

If you are purchasing a resale HDB flat as a single person (unmarried or divorced), the minimum legal age is 35 years old. If you are widowed or orphaned, the minimum legal age is 21 years old.

Read more: How To Save Money For A Flat Before Your 35th Birthday

To purchase private property, the minimum legal age is 21 years old. However, there are cases where a purchase can be made under a trust if the property owner is under 21.

Back to top

Can singles buy HDB flats?

Yes, singles can buy HDB flats. but there are certain criteria to be met, depending on which scheme you are applying under. In addition, you will need to be a Singaporean Citizen (single PRs are not eligible to buy HDB flats, resale or otherwise) and at least 35 years old.

Read more: What Type of HDB Flats Can Single Singaporeans Buy?

Back to top

What is an essential occupier for HDB?

According to HDB, an essential occupier is defined as 'one who forms a family nucleus with the applicant to qualify for a flat from HDB'. An essential occupier is required as part of the application process for Built-To-Order (BTO) and Sale of Balance Flats exercises.

More importantly, an essential occupier as listed in the flat application must physically and continuously occupy the flat throughout the 5-year or 10-year (for prime areas) occupation period. If this criterion is not fulfilled, HDB can cancel the application and forfeit your deposit(s).

Do note that only Singapore Citizens and PRs can be listed as essential occupiers.

Back to top

How much does it cost to buy a house in Singapore?

The actual cost of a home in Singapore will vary based on many factors, including the maturity of the estate, proximity to amenities, type and age of the property, and condition of the unit. The average price of property in Singapore in 2018 was US$874,372 (approx. S$1,183,025).

It is important to note that in addition to the actual price of the property, there are additional expenses that go into becoming a homeowner. Examples include legal fees and stamp duties, maintenance fees (conservancy fees), home insurance, and more.

Read more: How Much Do You Need To Buy Your First Home In Singapore?

Back to top

How much housing loan can I borrow to buy my home?

If you are buying an HDB flat, you can apply for an HDB Concessionary Loan.

The Loan-To-Value (LTV) limit for HDB housing loans is up to 80% of the property value or selling price, whichever is lower. This limit was recently cut by the Singapore Government in a bid to help home buyers borrow money prudently and avoid future difficulties in repaying home loans.

The remaining 20% downpayment can be financed with cash and/or your CPF savings.

If you are buying an HDB flat, you can also choose to take a private bank loan. The LTV limit for private bank loans is up to 75% of the property value or selling price, whichever is lower.

The remaining 25% is split into 20%, which can be paid using cash and/or your CPF savings, and a minimum of 5% compulsory cash component.

If you're thinking of applying for a home loan, remember to compare the best home loan rates on a financial comparison site like SingSaver.

Read more: How Much Can You Borrow For Your Home Loan?

Back to top

What is HDB Concessionary Loan?

HDB offers housing loans at a concessionary interest rate to flat buyers (not applicable to Executive Condominiums). Flat buyers will need to meet the eligibility conditions to take up a HDB housing loan.

The amount of HDB housing loan that one can borrow is dependent on the price and remaining lease of flat, in addition to the income, age and financial commitments of the borrower.

Read more: How To Qualify And Apply For The HDB Loan?

Back to top

Can I use all my CPF savings to buy a HDB flat?

The amount of CPF Ordinary Account (OA) savings you can use is subject to the CPF housing limits, namely the Valuation Limit (VL) and Withdrawal Limit (WL).

The VL refers to the valuation price or purchasing price of your HDB flat, whichever is lower. You can use your OA savings to finance up to the VL of your flat. If you would like to request to withdraw more of your OA savings, you can – but you must first ensure that you fulfil the Basic Retirement Sum (this amount varies depending on which year you turn 55).

The WL is 120% of the VL. This is the absolute maximum amount of OA savings you can use to finance your flat. Anything above the WL will have to be funded by cash.

You can use this CPF Housing Withdrawal Limits Calculator to help you estimate when you will reach your CPF withdrawal limits for housing.

Back to top

Can private property owners buy HDB flats?

Currently, private property owners must sell off ('dispose of') their private properties (local or overseas) within 15 months of purchasing a resale HDB flat. However, seniors above 55 years old who are downgrading to a 4-room flat or smaller are exempted from this ruling.

Private property owners who are interested in a BTO flat must first dispose of all their private properties at least 30 months before they apply for a BTO flat.

This translates to a pretty long waiting time in-between homes, so ensure your finances and living arrangement are planned to cater for those factors.

Back to top

Can I own more than one property in Singapore?

There is no limit to the number of private properties you can own as a Singapore Citizen or PR.

HDB owners who wish to purchase private property can only do so after the minimum occupation period of five or 10 years (for prime locations). This means that if you want to own both an HDB flat and private property, you must first purchase a HDB flat and occupy it for at least 5 or 10 years before investing in a private property (local or overseas).

Do note that you cannot own more than one HDB flat. If you purchase a second HDB flat, you must dispose of the first flat within 6 months of the second purchase.

Ownership Restrictions for HDB flats

Criteria Details
Income ceiling There is no income ceiling for buying an HDB resale flat. However, you may wish to note that there are income ceilings for CPF Housing Grants and HDB housing loans.
Ownership/interest in HDB flats If you or any persons listed in the application owns a HDB flat, that HDB flat must be disposed of within 6 months of the resale flat purchase.
Ownership/ interest in property in Singapore or overseas other than HDB flats If you or any person listed in your resale flat application owns a private property either locally or overseas, these private properties must be disposed of before or within 6 months of the resale flat purchase.


Note: If you own a private property, you are not eligible for the CPF Housing Grant or HDB housing loan.

Source: Housing & Development Board

Back to top

Affordable home loans on SingSaver

Buying your first home? Compare and apply for a home loan through SingSaver to enjoy interest rates as low as 1.80% p.a. with a 2 years lock-in.


Read these next:
HDB BTO Launches In 2021 (Bukit Batok, Tengah, Kallang – Whampoa, Toa Payoh – Bidadari, Woodlands, Bukit Merah, Geylang)
What Type Of HDB Flats Can Single Singaporeans Buy?
How Much Can You Borrow For Your Home Loan?
HDB BTO, SBF Or Resale: Which Should You Pick?
8 Hacks To Improve Your HDB BTO Ballot Chances


At SingSaver, we make personal finance accessible with easy to understand personal finance reads, tools and money hacks that simplify all of life’s financial decisions for you.


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!