No Valentine’s? No problem. How to qualify for a flat from HDB as a single?

Being alone on Valentine’s Day can be a mood-kill for singles out there, with no one to spend the special season together. A recent trend to make headlines would be the option of ‘renting-a-boyfriend/girlfriend’ where singles are able to take strangers on the internet out on a date for a fee, be it to impress the family or just to make special occasions feel a little less lonely.

Well, fortunately for singles out there, being single does not entirely deprive you of the ability of getting your very own home! Although the Singapore government highly encourages the formation of nucleus families with the hopes of increasing the worryingly low birth rates, a single individual is well able to qualify for his or her own flat, and here is how!

Before we dive into the housing options made available to you as a single, let us first understand the eligibility requirements which form the pre-requisite before any application can be made to HDB. This is where things may get a little disappointing if you are an eager young bachelor or bachelorette waiting to move into a place of your own but is under the age of 35. Unfortunately, HDB still maintains a certain level of barriers when applying for a HDB flat as a single, with the minimum age requirement at the time of application being age 35 and above. This requirement is only pardoned under certain circumstances such as being an orphan with unmarried siblings or widowed with a child which would allow affected individuals to apply for a flat starting from the age of 21 instead.

In the case of orphans, the requirement stipulates that at least one of the parents must have been a Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident (PR). Should an orphan below the age of 35 have siblings who are also single and below the age of 35, a successful application will only be granted when none of the siblings currently own another flat under the Orphans Scheme, Single Singapore Citizen Scheme or Joint Singles Scheme. This means that orphaned single siblings are required to live in the same flat purchased or consider renting as an option. Now that we have cleared the basic requirements out of the way, let us move on to introducing the various housing options available to you as a qualified single applicant.

1.  Built-to-Order (BTO) flats

While BTO’s have commonly been cited as being the norm for attached couples who have yet to wed under the fiance-fiancee scheme, with a majority of flats allocated especially to these first-timer applicants, singles are able to take part in the BTO sales launches too! However, there are some caveats that come attached. First up, singles are only able to apply for BTO units in non-mature estates, with your option being the smallest flat sizes, 2 room Flexi Flats. It is not exactly the biggest of options, with the expected size being only 36sqm or 387sqft. You can apply either as a sole individual, or with your group of maximum 3 bachelor best friends to comprise a total of 4 individuals. This is where things get a little more difficult, with the maximum household income ceiling for a 2 room Flexi Flat capped at $7,000. The average income for 2019 was recorded to be $3,331, which means that only you and one other single buddy can apply for the BTO flat at any given point in time. In summary, BTO flats are not exactly the most forgiving or convenient housing option for a single, notwithstanding the already stiff competition that goes on every sales launch!

2. Resale flats

If you agree that the BTO option seems too demanding or too limited based on your lifestyle needs, perhaps a resale flat would fit you better. Fortunately, your options are no longer limited to just the tiny 2 room Flexi flat options and are free to choose from the full range of housing types that HDB has to offer. There are also no existing income ceilings when it comes to purchasing a resale flat, with HDB assessing your income if you are taking up a HDB loan or any of the housing grants or subsidies. Under the Single Singapore Citizen Scheme, you are entitled to live entirely on your own without restrictions, renovating your home into the chic and modern bachelor pad you have always dreamed of.

3. Rental

The question on whether to buy or rent has been an age-old debate, with different individuals standing on different sides of the fence. If you are a single who does not like the idea of cramming into a BTO 2 room flat, nor can you currently afford the mortgage on a resale flat, you might want to consider renting! In fact, the cost of renting a HDB in certain prime areas might actually get you an alternative option in a condominium in a quieter part of Singapore. That way you can have access to amenities such as the shared swimming pool and gym facilities. Being single means that you have no obligations or commitments to a family, which gives you plenty of time and opportunity to experiment living around various parts of the island across various sizes to see which fits you best. Who knows, one day you might just meet the right one, then your years of property hopping would give you a better understanding of what you prefer in a home!

Being single in Singapore which is a country largely guided by Asian cultural beliefs, it can be quite a chore having to explain your relationship status every festive season. While the pressure can seem a little overbearing at times, being single presents you a lifetime of freedom to explore and live by your own terms! If you are single, what is your take on your next home purchase?

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