Types of HDB BTO flats in Singapore


BTO HDB Types in Singapore
Types of HDB BTO flats in Singapore

What’s a 2-room Flexi and how is it different from a regular flat? Who can apply for a 3Gen flat? Which categories can singles apply for?

These are some questions you might have if you’re a complete newbie when it comes to Built-To-Order (BTO) HDB flats in Singapore – brand new apartments which you bid and apply for before they’re even built.

For the benefit of those who are 100% clueless, here’s a guide to the different types of HDB BTO flats in Singapore, with details like floor space, prices, and who can apply for them all nicely laid out.

Before we delve into the details, note that the category of a certain type of flat does not denote the number of bedrooms; A 3-room flat does not have 3 bedrooms, but rather, 2 – this is because HDB considers the living room as a “room” in itself. In general, all flat categories come with 1 less room than in title – apart from 5-Room flats, which only have 3 rooms. Don’t let the names confuse you!

P.S. Check out this list of requirements to see if you’re eligible to apply for a BTO flat.

Note: Prices listed are starting prices, based on recent estimates. Layouts featured are only suggestions, subject to each project’s floor plan.

Read our other BTO-related articles here:


2-room Flexi


2-room flexi
Image credit: 
@ericis.me

2-room Flexi flats are named as such because of the flexible lease periods extended to the elderly. Typically, HDB flats come with a 99-year lease, but it wouldn’t make sense for old folks to go with such a long lease when they’re probably going to be using less than half of it. Assuming you purchase a new flat at the age of 65 and you live till 100, that’s just 35 years, which is a waste, really.

This flexibility is available to those aged 55 and above, with lease periods between 15 to 45 years – so long as it covers the occupants up to the age of at least 95 years. The lease period also has to be selected in increments of 5 years (eg: 15, 20, 25, etc), which means you cannot pick a non-standard number like 32.

This is a good option for those who find a larger flat unnecessary after their children have moved out and wish to downgrade to a smaller-sized apartment in old age. A smaller space is easier to clean, and more convenient to move about in – an important consideration when you’re old and less able-bodied.

A significant portion of 2-room flat spaces are usually reserved for the elderly, and some launches are reserved solely for these aged folks. However, families and singles can also apply for 2-room flats on a 99-year lease. This is an affordable option for low-income families, as well as newly-married couples who wish to save up first before upgrading to a larger flat after having kids.

Do note that the 2-room category is the only BTO category in which singles can apply. You will have to do so under the Joint Singles Scheme with up to 3 other friends (maximum 4 people). All of you have to be single Singapore Citizens of at least 35 years old (unmarried, divorced, or widowed), and all are to be co-applicants.

If you cross the income ceiling as a single, you will have no choice but to apply for a resale flat instead.

2-room flexi
Image credit: HDB

A 2-room Flexi flat comes with:

  • 1 bedroom
  • Kitchen
  • Shared bathroom
  • Storeroom/bomb shelter

Floor space: 36sqm or 45sqm
Income ceiling: 99-year lease: $7,000 | Short-lease (15-45 years): $14,000
Price: From $80,000


3-room


3-room
Image credit: @eainteriordesignspte

3-room flat is ideal for those who want to start small, with the option to sell off the flat after 5 years and move to a bigger space after amassing their wealth. It also offers a cosy space for childless couples and small families with 1 or few children.

If you’re planning on having 2 or more kids and finances are not an issue, you might want to reconsider this option for a larger flat size. A 3-room flat comes with 2 bedrooms, one of which is the master bedroom. This leaves you with only 1 room for the children. If your second child isn’t the same gender as the first, sharing a room as they grow into their adolescent years will come with some privacy issues if you purchase the flat with the intention of staying long-term.

3-room
Image credit: HDB

A 3-room flat comes with:

  • 2 bedrooms, including 1 master bedroom with attached bathroom
  • Kitchen
  • Living/dining area
  • Common bathroom
  • Service yard
  • Storeroom/bomb shelter

Floor space: 60 sqm
Income ceiling: $7,000 (non-Mature) or $14,000 (Mature)
Price: From $150,000


4-room


4-room
Image credit: @roootstudio

The most popular BTO flat option is the 4-room flat, and it’s just as well that there are usually the most number of such units in a given flat launch. It’s a good choice for families – whether it’s couples with a few kids or those living with their parents. Any remaining bedrooms can be turned into a study room, home office, walk-in wardrobe, or entertainment zone.

4-room
Image credit: HDB

A 4-room flat comes with:

  • 3 bedrooms, including 1 master bedroom with attached bathroom
  • Kitchen
  • Living/dining area
  • Common bathroom
  • Service yard
  • Storeroom/bomb shelter

Floor space: 90 sqm
Income ceiling: $14,000, or $21,000 if purchasing with extended or multi-generation family
Price: From $240,000


5-room


5-room
Image credit: @chiospace

Before you jump to the decision of buying a 5-room flat, it is worth noting that moving up to this category will not get you an additional bedroom compared to a 4-room. However, depending on the project, you will get additional floor space of around 15-20 square metres, and this may include a balcony.

The additional floor space is distributed amongst the 3 bedrooms and the living room. This may give you the option to section off part of the living room to create a little study area or some in-built hidden storage.

Not all 5-room flats come with a balcony, so if that is something you’re adamant on, make sure you properly check the details of the project you’re eyeing before bidding.

5-room
Image credit: @design_4_space

While the thought of having a mini garden or romantic al fresco dinners in your own home sounds super appealing, remember that having a balcony comes requires some maintenance and thus can be troublesome – you’ll need to constantly clean the area to make sure dust doesn’t settle, and ensure rainwater doesn’t come in. It’s also potentially dangerous if you have young kids of pets.

A bit of extra floor space and a balcony are always good to have, but they’re a luxury, not a need. If these are things you can do without, you might want to consider a 4-room instead, as it’ll save you a whopping $100,000 or so.

5-room
Image credit: HDB

A 5-room flat comes with:

  • 3 bedrooms, including a master bedroom with attached bathroom
  • Kitchen
  • Living/dining area
  • Common bathroom
  • Service yard
  • Storeroom/bomb shelter

Floor space: 110 sqm
Income ceiling: $14,000, or $21,000 if purchasing with extended or multi-generation family
Price: From $330,000


3Gen


3Gen
Image credit: @wwwsamieme

If you want a close-knit family unit that includes your parents or in-laws, consider applying for a 3Gen flat. With a total of 4 bedrooms – including 2 that come with attached bathrooms – everyone can have sufficient privacy while still being near each other. This is the only category of BTO flats with 2 master bedrooms, and there’s about 5 square metres more of floor space compared to a 5-room flat.

3Gen flats are available to either married couples applying with their parents, or a widowed/divorced person with their child/children and parents. In both cases, at least 1 parent must be a Singapore Citizen or Singapore Permanent Resident.

One downside to 3Gen flats is that you can only sell them off to similar multi-generation families, which limits your sales opportunities.

5-room

Image credit: HDB

A 3Gen flat comes with:

  • 4 bedrooms, including 2 with attached bathrooms
  • Kitchen
  • Living/dining area
  • Kitchen
  • Common bathroom
  • Service yard
  • Storeroom/bomb shelter

Floor space: 115 sqm
Income ceiling: $14,000, or $21,000 if purchasing with extended or multi-generation family
Price: From $350,000


Loft flats


Loft flatsImage credit: Superhome Design

Loft flats are the rare unicorn versions of 5-room HDBs, and the amazing thing about them is that they come with 2 storeys. These usually cost twice the price of a regular 4-Room flat – so make sure you have loads of spare cash to splash!

These can be used as multi-generation flats, but they don’t have to be – you could just be a really well-to-do couple wanting to live the condo life without splurging extra on an actual condo.

Launches for lofts flats are extremely rare – the last sales launch for a Punggol location was open in 2007, with the building completed in 2010, with only 15 of such double-storey units. They’re basically the BTO equivalent of maisonettes, which are no longer being built. Some examples of these are SkyTerrace@Dawson, Treelodge@Punggol, and Punggol Sapphire.

No upcoming sales are in the talks, and one should not hold out for these lest they don’t get launched for another 10 years, if ever. Your next best alternative is to get an EC, condo, or resale loft – though a resale was reportedly sold for over $900k (almost a million!) in 2019.

Loft flat
Image credit: Property Hunt

Floor space: 149 square metres


Types of HDB BTO to apply for


Now you know what terms like “2-room Flexi” and “3Gen” mean – and can thus make a more well-informed choice when selecting the types of HDB BTO categories to bid for. Remember that bigger isn’t always better, and it’s more important to choose something that suits your lifestyle needs as well as your finances.