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Complete Guide To HDB Income Ceilings For BTO, Resale Flats, And Executive Condominiums

Buying an HDB flat is the only time you might have wished to earn less.


It goes without saying that home affordability is tied to our income. The more we earn, the more we could set aside for housing-related expenses, allowing us to own bigger and more desirable homes.

However, one instance where earning more may not be as advantageous is if you want to own an HDB flat. Unlike private housing developments, HDB flats, which are home to over 80% of the population, have strict eligibility criteria.

In order to qualify to buy an HDB flat, in addition to forming a typical family nucleus, you must not earn more than the income ceiling, which varies depending on the type of public housing and scheme of purchase.

What Is HDB Income Ceiling?

The HDB income ceiling represents the maximum combined monthly household income of all the persons (owners and occupiers) listed in the HDB Flat Eligibility (HFE) letter to qualify for the purchase of the public housing flat. It is different from the household income that is used for the credit assessment of HDB housing loans, which does not factor in the occupier’s income.

The current HDB income ceiling was last reviewed in 2019, when it was revised from $12,000 to $14,000 for families buying BTO flats and from $14,000 to $16,000 for families buying executive condominiums (ECs). This allows 8 in 10 Singaporeans to be eligible to apply for a BTO flat and about 9 in 10 Singaporeans to apply for an EC unit.

By imposing the income ceiling, HDB ensures public housing is within reach for the majority of the population, with housing subsidies given to those that need them the most.

How Is The HDB Monthly Household Income Calculated?

The HDB monthly household income (regardless of fixed or variable pay) is calculated over 12 months, ending two months preceding the month of the HFE letter application. For instance, if you submitted your HFE letter application in May 2024, the assessment period will be from April 2023 to March 2024.

During the assessment period, if you have any months of no-pay leave, they will be considered as unemployment. In those cases, the monthly income would be based on the average income earned over the months worked.

For example, if you earned a gross monthly income of $4,000 for the first 6 months and took three months of no-pay leave before resuming work at the same pay, your assessed gross monthly income would be: $4,000 monthly income x 9 months worked, averaged over 12 months = $3,000.

When determining the monthly income, HDB will consider all income components from your employment or trade, including overtime pay, allowances like transport or handphone reimbursements, and employee benefits such as birthday incentives and marriage tokens. However, bonuses, including the annual wage supplement (AWS) and national service allowances are not factored into the assessment.

Read Also: [BTO Guide] Eligibility Criteria For Buying A HDB In Singapore

Income ceiling For Single Citizens   

2-room Flexi Flat on Short Lease 2-room Flexi Flat on 99-Year Lease and with HDB Housing Loan Resale Flat with CPF Housing Grant for Singles and HDB Housing Loan Executive Condominium from Property Developer 
SSC or JS Scheme SSC or JS Scheme SSC Scheme* JS Scheme Single with Parents JS Scheme
$14,000 $7,000 $7,000 $14,000 $14,000 $16,000

*For the purchase of up to 5-room resale flat on the open market.

Singles aged 35 and above can purchase up to 5-room resale flats on the open market or 2-room BTO flexi flats on 99-year leases in non-mature locations (which will be reclassified to Standard, Plus, and Prime based on their locational attributes from the October 2024 sales launch). These flats have a income ceiling of $7,000.

On the other hand, 2-room flexi flats on short leases, which are a special form of housing for seniors aged 55 and above, have a lease balance of 15 to 45 years. Whether you purchase them under the SSC or JS Scheme, this type of flat has a income ceiling of $14,000.

If you’re earning above $7,000, you could either consider purchasing a resale flat or an executive condominium (EC) unit from the developer under the JS Scheme, which has a higher income ceiling of $14,000 and $16,000, respectively.

Unlike HDB flats, you cannot buy an EC unit on your own under the SSC Scheme, but you’re allowed to join with up to 3 other singles aged 35 and above under the JS Scheme. Together, all applicants’ combined income must not exceed the $16,000 income ceiling.

Income Ceiling For Citizen Families

Flat from HDB / Resale PLH Flats Resale Flat with Housing Grant HDB Housing Loan EC Unit from Property Developer
2-room Flexi 3-room 4-room or Bigger
Short Lease 99 years
$14,000 $7,000 $7,000 or $14,000 $14,000 $14,000 $14,000 $16,000

 

The income ceiling for families/couples is typically $14,000 for BTO HDB flats, Prime Location Public Housing (PLH) flats, resale flats bought with housing grants or using HDB loans. However, for certain 2-room BTO flexi flats on 99-year leases and 3-room BTO flats, the income ceiling might be lower at $7,000, depending on the project. Details regarding the income ceiling will be released during the launch.

Buyers who exceed the HDB flat income ceiling can consider executive condominiums, which have a slightly higher income ceiling of $16,000. However, unlike HDBs, you will not be able to finance the EC purchase using HDB loans, which typically cost more.

Instead, you will need to use private bank loans, like private properties, to service your mortgage. Consequently, you would need to pay an upfront downpayment of 25% of the purchase price, of which 5% must be in cash. In other words, to purchase an EC directly from the developer, you need sufficient savings to cover any shortfall in financing based on your household income and to meet the cash component of the downpayment requirements.

Read Also: Complete First-Timers’ Guide To Buying A New Executive Condominium (EC) In Singapore

Income Ceiling For Extended Families 

Alternatively, if an EC is beyond your financial capacity, you can consider buying a 4 or 5-room HDB flat with your children (who should be earning an income) as co-applicants or occupiers under the extended or multi-generation family scheme.

Under this scheme, extended families are given a higher household income ceiling of 1.5 times the generic income ceiling or $21,000.

The average gross monthly household income for extended families is calculated as follows:

Family Profile Income of Group A (cannot exceed $14,000 per month) Income of Group B (cannot exceed $14,000 per month) Income Ceiling of Extended Family
Parents with single working children Parents with one single working child Other single children Total incomes of Groups A & B must not exceed $21,000
Parents with married child* Parents with single working children (if any) Married child’s family*

*Includes applicants buying a flat with their fiancé/fiancée.

The family profile is grouped into two categories, with each group’s income not exceeding $14,000 and the combined income of both groups not exceeding $21,000.

For example, assuming a married couple with three single working children wish to upgrade to a 5-room flat with HDB housing loan. Their average monthly income are as follows:

Husband: $6,000
Wife: $5,000
Child 1: $5,000
Child 2: $3,000
Child 3: $2,000

Their monthly household as an extended family would amount to:

Group A Group B Total Income
Parents and one child:
Husband ($6,000) + Wife ($5,000) + Child 2 ($3,000)
Remaining children:
Child 1 ($5,000) + Child 3 ($2,000)
$21,000
$14,000 $7,000

 

This way the family could qualify for a bigger HDB housing loan as their monthly household income is bigger than the generic income ceiling of $14,000.

What If Your Income Exceeds The HDB Income Ceiling

While it’s a fortunate position to be earning more than the median population, it makes you ineligible to purchase a flat directly from HDB or receive any housing grants. However, it doesn’t prevent you from buying a resale HDB flat in a location of your choice.

Resale HDB flats are the only type of public housing that do not have any income ceiling requirement, as transactions are conducted on a “willing buyer-willing seller” basis. As a result, you may end up paying a higher price for your resale flat than BTOs, which are sold with significant market discounts relative to comparable resale flats nearby.

Another option is to purchase private property, including resale ECs, which comes with fewer restrictions. For instance, private property buyers are not subject to income ceilings and can purchase as singles as young as 21. However, as they are of a relatively higher quantum than HDB flats, it’s important to exercise due diligence in ensuring your affordability.

Read Also: Is The HDB Monthly Household Income Ceiling Still Relevant Amid Higher Wages & Inflation?

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