Buying Property in Singapore

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  3. Buying Property in Singapore

HDB Apartment Buying | Glossary

Embarking on the journey of purchasing an HDB apartmentis akin to traversing a labyrinth of terms and processes. As you peel back thelayers of the HDB Apartment Buying Glossary, you'll uncover a wealth ofinformation waiting to guide you through the intricate world of real estate transactions.

Each term you encounter holds the key to opening a deeperunderstanding of the nuances involved in securing your ideal home. Byfamiliarizing yourself with this glossary, you'll be equipped to make informeddecisions and set out on your home-buying venture with newfound clarity.


You should pay attention to key aspects whenconsidering a property purchase:


            Flat Type

            Floor Level

            Lease Commencement Date

            Remaining Lease

Understanding these points can help you determine thesuitability of a specific HDB apartment for your needs and preferences. Byfocusing on these property details, you can make a well-informed decision andmake certain that the property aligns with your long-term plans.


Estates and Districts refer to the different neighborhoodsand regions where HDB properties are located, each with its own uniquecharacteristics and amenities.

When considering purchasing an HDB apartment inSingapore, understanding the significance of estates and districts is essentialfor making informed decisions about property investments.

HDB estates are grouped into districts like Queenstown orTampines, each with distinct features. Districts impact property value based onamenities, transportation, and schools.

Knowing district characteristics helps buyers alignchoices with their preferences and lifestyle needs for the best investment.

Flat Type

'Flat Type' refers to the specific configuration andlayout of the residential unit, such as 3-room, 4-room, etc. It indicates thenumber of bedrooms in the property.

Understanding the different types of HDB flatproperties available in Singapore plays a significant role in makingwell-informed decisions when purchasing a home in specific districts likeQueenstown or Tampines.

HDB flat types range from 2-room to 5-room flats, cateringto various household sizes. 3Gen flats accommodate multi-generational families,Executive flats offer spacious layouts, Jumbo flats combine two units forextended families, and Community Care Apartments cater to senior-friendlyliving needs.

Floor Level

'Floor Level' refers to the physical height of aresidential unit within an HDB property. It indicates how many floors up ordown the unit is situated in the building.

Exploring the elevation of a property within a buildingcan greatly impact its desirability and value in the real estate market.

Higher floors offer better views and enhanced privacy.

Mid-level floors provide a balance between accessibilityand views.

Floor level influences property value, with premium pricesoften linked to higher floors in sought-after locations.

Choose wisely based on your preferences and needs.

Lease Commencement Date

The 'Lease Commencement Date' for buying HDB Properties isthe starting date of the lease period, marking when the property can beoccupied and used by the buyer or lessee.

Considering the Floor Level of a property, now shiftyour focus to the Lease Commencement Date for HDB properties, a key factordetermining the lease term granted by HDB to buyers.

The Lease Commencement Date marks the start of theleasehold property, typically 99 years in Singapore.

It's important to verify this date to understand theremaining lease period, specified in the title deed, for evaluating theproperty's value and resale potential.

Remaining Lease

'Remaining Lease' refers to the number of years left on aproperty's lease before it reverts back to the government. When buying HDBproperties, it's important to consider the remaining lease as it affects theproperty's value and potential resale value.

When buying HDB apartments, be mindful of the remaininglease period as it directly impacts the property's value and potential resaleprospects.

1.         Properties with shorter remaining leases facechallenges in resale and loan eligibility due to lease decay.

2.         Consider the remaining lease period forlong-term investment viability.

3.         Understanding the impact on property valuedepreciation is essential for informed decision-making.

Renovation Status

Renovation Status refers to the condition of an HDBproperty in terms of recent renovations or refurbishments. Buyers should checkthis status to assess the property's maintenance and potential renovation needsbefore purchasing.

To evaluate a property fully, assess its renovationstatus to understand the quality of work done and potential impact on value. Verifythe property condition through inspection reports to guarantee transparency.

The renovation status can influence the property's marketvalue, resale potential, and appeal. During the negotiation process, considerthe renovation status when factoring in potential repair or modification costsbased on the existing condition.

Asking Price

Asking Price refers to the price set by the seller of anHDB property as the amount they are seeking from potential buyers. It isnegotiable and does not necessarily reflect the final selling price.

Understanding the asking price is essential whenevaluating HDB apartments for potential purchase.

            Negotiating the price can be an emotionalrollercoaster for buyers.

            The asking price sets the tone for the purchaseprocess.

            Buyers need to assess if the asking price alignswith the value of the HDB flat they desire.

Secondhand Property

Secondhand property refers to HDB properties that havebeen previously owned and are being resold by the current owner. Theseproperties are not directly purchased from HDB but from the existing owner.

Considering purchasing a secondhand property can offerbuyers a wider selection of locations and unique features compared to new BTOflats. These pre-owned HDB flats present cost savings and potential investmentopportunities.

The resale process for secondhand properties involvesdifferent considerations than buying new from HDB. Understanding the condition,valuation, and eligibility requirements is essential for moving through theresale market effectively.

Financial Considerations

When considering buying an HDB apartment, you should bemindful of:

            CPF payments

            The likelihood of Cash Over Valuation (COV)

            Your eligibility for grants and subsidies

Understanding these financial aspects will help youplan your budget effectively and make informed decisions throughout thepurchasing process.

CPF Payments

CPF Payments refer to using funds from the CentralProvident Fund to finance the purchase of HDB properties in Singapore, subjectto CPF rules and limits. CPF payments offer a viable financial avenue forfinancing your HDB apartment purchase in Singapore.

            Ease: Utilize CPF savings for downpayment and monthly mortgage payments hassle-free.

            Assistance: CPF Ordinary Account fundscan cover up to 15% of the property's purchase price, lightening your financialburden.

            Obligation: Guarantee sufficient CPFsavings and meet eligibility criteria for using CPF to purchase HDB apartments.

Cash Over Valuation (COV) Likelihood

Understanding the potential for Cash Over Valuation(COV) in a specific HDB transaction can greatly impact your financial planning.COV, the amount paid by the buyer over the HDB flat's official valuation, hasdecreased due to market regulations.

Fluctuating based on market demand and location, buyersshould be cautious as COV can affect their overall financial commitment.

Evaluating COV likelihood helps buyers budget effectively.

Eligibility for Grants/Subsidies

Eligibility for Grants and Subsidies refers to meetingcriteria set by HDB to qualify for financial assistance when purchasing HDBproperties in Singapore. Qualifying for HDB grants and subsidies hinges onfactors such as income, marital status, and property ownership.

            Meeting income ceilings can access various HDBgrants.

            First-time buyers may benefit from the CPFHousing Grant.

            The Additional CPF Housing Grant offers furtherfinancial assistance for eligible individuals.

Housing Types

When looking at housing types in Singapore, you'llencounter HDB Flats, HDUC Flats, Private Condos, and Landed Properties.Understanding the distinctions between these options will help you narrow downyour search based on your preferences and budget.

Each type offers unique features and benefits, catering todifferent lifestyles and needs.

HDB Flat

HDB Flat refers to public housing units in Singaporeoffered by the Housing & Development Board (HDB) for sale to eligible residents.Buyers must meet criteria set by HDB to purchase these properties.

For prospective buyers in Singapore, exploring thediverse range of HDB flats available is essential to finding the perfect hometo meet your needs.

            HDB flats cater to various needs, from studioapartments to 5-room flats.

            These flats are part of Singapore's publichousing managed by the HDB.

            Understanding the classification and features ofHDB flats is necessary for affordable housing options.


HDUC Flat refers to Housing and Urban Development Companyflats, a type of HDB property that was built by a government agency before HDBtook over. These flats are no longer built by HDB and may have uniquecharacteristics compared to regular HDB flats.

Exploring the diverse range of HDB flats available inSingapore, you'll find that HDUC flats offer unique housing options tailored todifferent household sizes and preferences. These HDB flats are part ofSingapore's public housing program, catering to various household sizes.

Understanding HDUC flat eligibility criteria is essential,as different types of HDB flats have specific requirements based on factorslike income and citizenship.

Private Condo

A Private Condominium refers to a residential propertythat is privately owned and managed. In relation to buying HDB properties, onecannot use HDB housing loans to purchase a Private Condominium due to differingownership and financing regulations.

Private condos in Singapore offer residents exclusiveownership of luxurious residential units with access to a variety of modernamenities and facilities.

Living in a private condo provides a sense of exclusivityand luxury.

Enjoying amenities like swimming pools and gyms enhancesyour quality of life.

The potential for capital appreciation makes investing ina private condo attractive.

Landed Property

Landed property refers to residential properties likehouses with individual land ownership. HDB properties are non-landed publichousing units such as flats and apartments.

When considering housing types in Singapore, you'llfind that landed properties offer residents unique benefits not commonly foundin high-rise living options like condos.

Landed property includes bungalows, semi-detached, andterrace houses, providing land ownership privileges. These properties offer privacy,space, and customization opportunities, catering to those seeking exclusiveliving environments in Singapore's real estate market.

Due to land scarcity, landed properties are esteemed butcome with higher price points.


When considering a neighborhood for your HDB apartmentpurchase, focus on public amenities, noise levels, and the demographics of thecommunity.

Public amenities like parks, schools, and shopping centerscan enhance your quality of life.

Understanding the noise levels and the demographics of theneighborhood can help you determine if it aligns with your lifestyle andpreferences.

Public Amenities

In HDB neighborhoods, public amenities like communitycenters, schools, parks, and sports facilities enhance residents' quality oflife and foster a sense of community.

            Community Centers: Places where neighborsgather for events and activities.

            Parks: Green spaces for relaxation andoutdoor recreation.

            Sports Facilities: Areas for residents tostay active and engage in sports.

Noise Levels

High noise levels can greatly impact your livingexperience in an HDB apartment. Factors like proximity to main roads, schools,and commercial areas influence noise levels. Consider higher floor units forless noise.

Building orientation and nearby construction sites alsoaffect noise levels. Understanding these factors is important for choosing asuitable HDB apartment that aligns with your preferences for noise levels.

Community/Neighbour Demographics

Understanding the community demographics surrounding apotential HDB apartment purchase is essential for evaluating the neighborhood'scharacteristics and social dynamics.

1.         Neighborhood diversity can offer a rich tapestryof cultures and experiences.

2.         Social dynamics shape interactions andrelationships within the community.

3.         Family composition and cultural backgroundinfluence the overall living environment.


Teresa Heng
Teresa Heng

With 5 years of expertise in Singapore's second-hand HDB market, I have immense joy in helping first home owners find their dream HDB homes, making their Singaporean dreams come true!