HDB BTO delayed: 6 alternative housing options to look into

Image of an HDB BTO flat in Singapore

HDB BTO delayed: 6 alternative housing options to look into

Congratulations, you’re one of the lucky ones who’ve won an HDB BTO ballot! Now, be prepared to wait for at least 3 years before you’re handed the keys to your new home. COVID-19 has led to understandable but still massive delays in ongoing HDB BTO construction to make matters even more anxiety-inducing. 

Entry bans from foreign countries have meant that we’ve got a labour crunch in the construction industry. On May 4th earlier this year, Minister Lawrence Wong announced that BTO projects might be delayed up to a year or more. 

The effects have most definitely led many Singaporeans to not even consider BTOs during this time period. 

In the same vein, HDB resale prices have continued to grow month-on-month since 2020, and prices are expected to have grown by 7-10% by the end of this year. 

This means that more people are turning to the HDB resale market so that they won’t have to be bogged down by construction delays of new properties. 

Learn about the recent spike in HDB resale flats in Singapore here. 

But not all of us can afford that luxury, especially if you’ve already committed to getting a new BTO and a home loan in Singapore. 

While you may have factored in the waiting time for construction, a full year of delay is an extremely long time that’s difficult to workaround. Not to mention, getting a resale flat instead would mean more considerations and adjustments to your finances, as they tend to come with a higher price tag.

It’s a confusing and frazzling time, and we understand. So here’s a list of some alternative housing options that you can consider until your BTO has completed construction.

At a certain point, you can also consider forfeiting your BTO application. But that will come with consequences, which we’ll detail in this article. 

1. Your first option? Consider staying with your parents or in-laws until your HDB BTO is done

Mother and son staying together in an HDB flat in Singapore

This may be a tough ask, but it could be the most inexpensive option. And if you’re a young couple, it can make a world of difference in helping you afford to pay off your bank loan comfortably.

Think of it as a silver lining, almost, that in these pivotal years of your life as a couple, you’ve got the opportunity to save a little bit more money before you start living in your first home. 

You could afford some of life’s other luxuries instead — buying a car or having more money to renovate your new home with!

With that said, you shouldn’t ignore the complications that might come with parents or in-laws. Not everyone gets along with their in-laws. And not to mention, you might love your spouse’s parents, but not their live-in habits. If your in-laws have tendencies that rub you the wrong way, or if you simply just don’t get along, it’s okay to prioritise your mental health.

While staying with your parents or in-laws might be the cheaper option, there’s no point to it if you’re going to live miserably while you wait for your BTO to complete renovation. Worst still, external stressors such as these might affect your relationship with your spouse before the life you’d envisioned in your new home even gets the chance to begin.

Living with parents or in-laws might also not save you much money if you end up having to pay a more significant rent sum. 

Also, consider other expenses such as groceries that you might end up having to bear for the entire home. These can add up and may vary based on what your living situation is like.

2. Rent an apartment or a room in the private market if your HDB BTO is delayed

Rental flats or apartments are the ideal temporary fix for young couples. 

There are numerous apartments that you can rent in Singapore in many different neighbourhoods! And a plus point is that prices are considerably low at the moment.

If you’re a young couple, renting an apartment can give you and your spouse the freedom and space to begin your life as newlyweds. Plus, you get to do it in a neighbourhood of your choice! Who knows when you’ll get that opportunity again.

With that said, being a young couple might also mean that you’re both early in your careers and may not have high spending power.  Or perhaps you’d like to save some money to splurge in the future instead. Of course, it’s always good to be cautious and have some emergency funds. In that case, you could consider renting a large master bedroom instead.

As opposed to renting a common room, having your own master bedroom also means you’ll have more privacy with your own private bathroom, which can make a world of difference.

Meanwhile, you can use the money you save to pay off your home loan in Singapore or for other expenses!

Rental rates in Singapore might change based on variables like location and furniture, amongst other things. For example, the average rental rates for a 3-room flat in Singapore begin at about $1,756. A master bedroom, on the other hand, might cost you a rental of less than $900 a month.

Learn more about your home loan jargons here.

3. Rent from HDB if your HDB BTO is delayed

The government has a scheme made just for couples waiting for the construction of their BTO homes to be completed. Although the scheme is called the Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme (PPHS), it is catered to young married couples.

To be eligible for the scheme, all you need is a marriage certificate and a BTO that’s in the midst of construction. The homes under this scheme are extremely affordable for their size.

Expect studio apartments and 5-rooms homes with prices ranging from S$800 to S$1,800 a month. The homes come equipped with basic fixtures, and you’ll have to supplement with your own furniture.

There’s also a separate scheme that allows you to rent larger home appliances for your live-in period. Better still, you can reap maximum savings by finding a couple to co-rent the space with you. 

PPHS flats are undoubtedly very popular and scarce, with only 20 flats available in each area

4. Consider a co-living space if your HDB BTO is delayed

A lady using her tablet and having coffee in a co-living space - an ideal alternative housing option when HDB BTO is delayed.

Hot on the trails of co-working spaces, co-living spaces are the perfect option for young couples looking to expand their social circles in communal living spaces! You’ll get to enjoy the privacy of your own room, but with communal living facilities.

If you don’t mind meeting new people often and sharing a space with other couples and individuals, this option can give you massive savings as you forge new bonds. 

There’s also an element of adventure that could make you feel like you’re in an overseas Airbnb meeting new people.

Not to mention, you’ll also get to bask in the glory of relaxing furniture and landscapes without having to bear any of your own expenses for it. So whether you’d like to live in a Scandinavian-style space, a slick, minimalist space, or a space made for community events, there are plenty of options available in Singapore.

Some co-living spaces might even have bars, libraries, and other communal amenities that you can visit without moving too far away from your home. Many of them are also located in very central or prime areas, so you’ll be able to get to work in no time if you work at the CBD.

However, this may be a little less attractive of an idea during the COVID-19 pandemic. Should you pick this option, ensure that safe-distancing measures are adhered to in your space.

5. Rent a dual-key condo unit if your HDB BTO is delayed

An image of a dual-key condo apartment in Singapore, a good option for when your HDB BTO is delayed

Dual-key condominium units are a lesser-known type of condo unit that might be the perfect solution as you wait out the construction time for your HDB BTO. 

Dual-key units are a type of property that have a single address, but are divided into two different subtypes. These units might have a common area such as a foyer where residents can gather. 

But beyond that, these units tend to have separate bathrooms and kitchen spaces in different parts of the home. The areas that are shared and separated vary by the apartment.

This means that you may not even have to cross paths with whomever you’re sharing the space with. However, that’s not to say that you won’t run into them at all. 

Assess the level of privacy that you’d like with your partner, and decide whether these uniquely constructed units are a good fit for you.

These units are also ideal if you’d like to treat yourself to condo living on a budget temporarily. Not to mention, you might even get the chance to forge an unforgettable friendship with a new housemate or two.

And in the meantime, you’ll get to experience luxury living while also saving for your HDB loan or bank loan. 

Read more about bank loan for your mortgage — should you opt for a longer or shorter loan tenure? 

6. Consider buying a resale HDB

While you may have been stoked to move into your new HDB BTO home, things don’t always pan out how we’d like them to, and you may not be able to land on a favourable rental spot.

One way to save yourself the trouble is to forfeit your BTO flat purchase. Since Singapore doesn’t allow you to own more than one HDB flat concurrently, you otherwise won’t be able to buy a resale flat if you’ve already secured a BTO flat.

This is a move taken by some BTO buyers to find a resale flat that they can move into immediately. 

 Person calculating the cost of them forfeiting their BTO and purchasing an HDB resale flat due to HDB BTO delay in Singapore

Buying a resale HDB home means that you get to skip the very long waiting time on BTO projects. It also means that you won’t be moving into a brand new home, but on the bright side, no major construction work is necessarily needed. You might get to spend far less on renovation work, with a high chance of many fixtures being readily available for your use already.

Other sweet bonuses come with buying a resale home. As opposed to moving into a BTO home, which are usually located in non-mature estates, resale homes are scattered all across Singapore, including in prime areas.

On average, resale homes are also significantly larger. If you’re buying a resale flat, your new home purchase might last you a longer time and be able to see you through options such as family planning. This might be a valuable factor, especially when it comes to repaying your HDB loan.

While expanding families have a very high chance of outgrowing their BTOs, that’s not always the case with resale homes. If you’re buying a resale home, you might just end up buying the house which your new family’s legacy is built upon.

But if you’re considering buying a resale flat, make sure you don’t forfeit your BTO application until you’ve got the utmost confidence in your decision. 

Doing so will result in consequences, which prevent people from flaking out on their BTO application during construction. Depending on which stage of your BTO application you’re at, these consequences may vary. 

Let’s have a quick look at what these consequences might be. Based on that, you can assess whether forfeiting your BTO application to buy a resale flat is a worthwhile move for you.

The stage of your BTO applicationForfeiture and Additional Information
Cancelling your application before flat selectionNo financial forfeiture.

If you’re a first-timer applicant: If you were invited to select a flat but failed to do so while there were available units, you will be considered to have rejected selection once. 

Your chances will now be set to 0, including chances that have been accumulated from past unsuccessful applications.

Upon 2 rejections for flat selection, your first-timer priority will be suspended for 1 year. And if you continue to defer your application after that, your priority will continue getting suspended. 

If you’re a first-timer single or a second-timer applicant: If you were invited to select a flat but failed to do so while there were available units, you will be considered to have rejected selection once. If you reject 2 chances, you won’t be able to participate in any HDB sales for 1 whole year. 
Cancelling your application after booking a flat, but before signing the Agreement for LeaseForfeit your option fees. 

If you cancel an HDB BTO home at this stage, be prepared to wait a 1-year period before you’re allowed to apply or be included as an essential occupier for
– A new HDB flat
– A DBSS flat from developers
– An Executive Condo from the developers
– A resale flat with CPF Housing Grant
– A resale flat announced for SERS 

If you’re a first-timer family:
Any additional chances you’ve accumulated from previous unsuccessful applications will be reduced to 0.
Cancelling your application after signing your Agreement for Lease, but before key collectionForfeit 5% of the flat purchase price.

If you cancel at this stage, you must wait a 1-year period before you’re allowed to apply or be included as an essential occupier for
– A new HDB flat
– A DBSS flat from developers
– An Executive Condo from the developers
– A resale flat with CPF Housing Grant
– A resale flat announced for SERS
If you’re a first-timer family:
Any additional chances you’ve accumulated from previous unsuccessful applications will be reduced to 0.

Thinking of getting an HDB resale flat? Here are 7 things to take note of when house viewing.

Which of these alternative options should you look into? Let a mortgage broker in Singapore work out the finances for you.

Having to wait an additional year or so for your HDB BTO to complete construction is a big task. Now that you know the options available to you, you also know that a large part of the feasibility of these options is the financial feasibility.

Beyond just the cost of rental, you might also have additional questions on how these options might affect your HDB loan or your bank loan

Besides that, there’s also the fact that your financial outlook might change over the course of the next few years. This might leave you unsure with regards to navigating your finances and whether you might still be in a safe spot to afford your new BTO purchase. 

We understand all of your concerns, and we’re sure that you’ve got many more. As a mortgage broker in Singapore, we’re well aware of all the relevant schemes, payment types, and home types that might best fit your needs, given the current situation.

We’re also well-versed with mortgaging and loan financing. But more than being able to provide knowledge, we want to help address all of your financial considerations. We’d also be happy to share our understanding of the current property market in Singapore to help you through your decision.

If the delay in HDB BTO construction has got you frazzled, give us a call. Get a non-obligatory assessment and uncover hassle-free ways that can save you both time and money.

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