Note: The November 2022 BTO launches have been released. Applications close on 1 December 2022, 11.59pm.
The November 2022 BTO launch at Kallang/Whampoa, Queenstown, Bukit Batok, Tengah, and Yishun have been released. If you’re attending to submit your BTO application for one of these projects (or are already looking ahead at the February 2023 BTO launches), you may be wondering how to apply for a BTO flat.
Before you ask your partner to “apply for BTO together leh” and submit your BTO application, you’ll need to know a few key things, including your BTO eligibility as a couple. Here are some tips to help you get started.
BTO Application and Eligibility for Couples: 5 Key Things to Consider
BTO eligibility for couples
Can you and your partner even apply to BTO?
Proximity to parents or in-laws
How close do you want to live with your parents and/or in-laws?
How much in mortgage repayments can you afford each month?
Home loan eligibility
Which home loans (bank vs HDB) and how much loan can you take?
Renovation and furnishing
How much must you spend to renovate and furnish your BTO before it is ‘move-in ready’?
1. Check Your Eligibility Before Applying for BTO
You want to apply for BTO, but can you even BTO?
Checking BTO eligibility for couples is the first step to getting a new HDB BTO flat. Well, some of these key criteria include your citizenship, income ceiling, if you have any other property (maybe your parents put another house in your name), and so on.
Since this article is on asking your partner if they want to apply for a BTO flat with you, we’re assuming it’s your first time applying for an HDB BTO flat, you’re at least 21 years old, and that you’ll be applying under the Fiancé/Fiancée Scheme with no children in tow.
Please remember that you must marry within three months of receiving the keys to your HDB BTO flat. A photocopy of your marriage certificate must also be submitted to HDB as proof of your marriage.
2. Decide How Close You Want to be to Your Parents (Or In-Laws)
It makes sense to want to live close to your parents (or in-laws) if you get together frequently. Living near to each other is also ideal if you frequently worry about your parents, require assistance with your children (and they are eager to assist), or if your mother is a great cook.
Some couples, however, would rather live in seclusion without surprised knocks on their door from family members. Because of this, determining how far your HDB BTO apartment is from your parents’ house is important before submitting your BTO application.
However, do note that the proximity to parents is an advantage in winning the BTO ballot. Getting a flat close to your parents can improve your chances through various HDB priority schemes.
Married Child Priority Scheme
For example, the Married Child Priority Scheme helps a married child and his/her parents live with or close to each other for mutual care and support. This extends to Fiancé/Fiancée Scheme applicants too. You’ll need to apply for a BTO flat within 4km from your parents (or with your parents), and there is a 5-year Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) where both parties cannot move house.
For flats under the Public Location Public Housing (PLH) model, the MOP is 10 years. That’s a long time!
Multi-Generation Priority Scheme
There’s also the Multi-Generation Priority Scheme, where the couple and the parents get new flats in the same precinct. They can make a joint application for two flats in the same BTO project, provided there are 2-room Flexi or 3-room flats available.
3. Consider What You Can Afford Before Applying for a BTO Flat
It’s one thing to want to live in a 5-room BTO flat in Bishan, but realistically, your household income may not support that. Even if you scrimp and save to pay the cash outlay, how sustainable is that in the long term, especially if you’re planning to have a baby?
You don’t want to be caught in a situation where you regret your BTO application after getting a good queue number or even have to cancel your BTO flat.
In 2021, Singapore’s median monthly household income from work was $9,520. Assuming that you are a young couple who have just started their careers, it’s likely your take-home pay is lower than the median household income.
Granted, the salary you’re drawing now may not be the salary you’ll be taking home in four to five years when the keys to your BTO flat are finally ready. Nevertheless, you should stay woke and be practical about what you can afford to pay for your new home.
Assuming you opt for an HDB-granted loan at 2.6% interest over 25 years and a Loan-to-Value (LTV) limit of 80%, here’s how much you should budget for. Do note that the following prices are estimates:
Type of HDB flat/location
3-room BTO flat (Non-mature estate)
$704 (for a loan amount of $155,200)
4-room BTO flat (Non-mature estate)
$1,005 (for a loan amount of $221,600)
5-room BTO flat (Non-mature estate)
$1,415 (for a loan amount of $312,000)
3-room BTO flat (Mature estate)
$1,343 (for a loan amount of $296,000)
4-room BTO flat (Mature estate)
$1,383 (for a loan amount of $304,800)
5-room BTO flat (Mature estate)
$1,887 (for a loan amount of $416,000)
With our rising median monthly household income, many Singaporeans can likely still afford a brand new 5-room BTO flat. However, affording the down payment and subsequent monthly mortgage repayments may be tricky and strain your finances.
For a more detailed look at how much you can actually afford, check out PropertyGuru’s mortgage affordability calculator. When working out how much monthly mortgage repayments you can afford, be sure also to keep the Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR) and Mortgage Servicing Ratio (MSR) in mind. If all these calculations boggle you, you can always ask our mortgage experts for help, at no cost!
3. Look up Your Housing Loan Eligibility
In addition to checking your affordability, you’ll also need to check your housing loan BTO eligibility for couples and how much down payment you and your partner need to make for your HDB BTO flat.
As housing is a shared cost, pool your savings together to see how much upfront cash you can afford for the down payment and other fees, and do discuss if you’d prefer a bank loan or an HDB loan (each has its merits). You should also check if you’re eligible for any CPF housing grants.
For young couples who don’t have a lot of cash, opting for an HDB loan is a common choice as it allows for a higher LTV limit and you can pay your entire down payment via your CPF savings. With the announcement of the September 2022 property cooling measures, the HDB LTV limit is now 80%.
Meanwhile, a bank loan has a lower LTV limit of 75%. You’ll also need to pay at least 5% of the 25% down payment of your bank loan in cash (that’s $25,000 on a $500,000 BTO flat), with the balance payable with your CPF OA monies. Read up on the differences between an HDB loan vs a bank loan before deciding on how to finance your property purchase.
4. Budget for Renovation and Interior Design Costs
Chances are, while your BTO flat is on its way, you’ll also be busy sourcing for a renovation contractor or an interior designer. Even if you decide to opt for the BTO floorings and fixtures, at the very least, you’ll need to install lights, appliances, window grilles/blinds/curtains, and buy furniture.
Costs vary depending on the HDB fittings you’re opting for, how elaborate you want your renovation to be, and if any hacking is involved. One piece of good news is that BTO flats, unlike their resale counterparts, are cheaper to renovate. Here are some cost estimates provided by Qanvast.
Expected Median Renovation Cost for BTO Flats in 2022
3-room BTO flat
$35,000 to $38,000
4-room BTO flat
$40,000 to $46,000
5-room BTO flat
$47,000 to $56,000
How Much Money Should You Set Aside to Buy a BTO Flat
Here is the breakdown for the total estimated cost of getting a 4-room BTO flat in Singapore.
May be done multiple times, if the ballot isn’t successful
Booking of flat
Option fee: $1,000 to $2,000
Depends on the size of your flat; forms part of your down payment
Signing of Agreement for Lease
Depends on the cost of your flat (Stamp Duty Calculator)
At this stage, you’re paying stamp duty and legal fees
Down payment (20% for HDB loan; 25% for bank loan)
~$30,000 (depends on the cost of your flat)
Those on an HDB loan can pay with CPF entirely; those on a bank loan need to pay at least 5% in cash
Collection of keys
At this stage, you’re paying stamp duty and legal fees
Home Protection Scheme
Compulsory if you’re using CPF to pay for your housing loan
Compulsory if you’re taking an HDB loan
Balance of the purchase price (monthly instalments)
~$1,400/month over 25 years (can vary)
Amount you pay depends on the cost of your flat and the interest rate of the loan
~$44,000 (for a 4-room flat)
Cash or renovation loan
Costs depend on your desired renovation works
In total, you can expect to pay about $496,000. Do keep in mind that these are just estimated costs. The actual cost will vary, depending on the actual cost of your flat, loan type and LTV limit, extent of the renovation, amount of available CPF OA monies, as well as any possible changes to HDB policies in the future.
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