Points to Consider When Looking to Buy a Flat in Singapore

in Property & Architecture

Buying property in any country can be a bit tricky if you are a foreign national since every country has its own laws regarding the sale and purchase of real estate. Singapore, however, has a unique set of laws that might be quite difficult for a non-citizen to interpret. Whether you are a Singaporean or a foreign national looking to buy a HDB flat in Singapore, here are some points to consider.

Two Kinds of Flats Available

In Singapore, there are two kinds of flats available for purchase and the difference is huge so it might be a bit confusing for someone just taking up residence there. First, there are government subsidized flats in which the purchase depends on at least one person being a Singaporean. Therefore, if you are a single person looking for a flat then you’d need to be a Singaporean citizen if you are seeking a HDB loan for public housing. One word about seeking that HDB loan would be to check out interest comparison rates on sites like Property Guru. Here is where you will find updated interest rates that can change often due to market variations. This particular website keeps all comparisons current so you will find a loan that suits your needs. With this said, it is vital to understand that not all flat buyers will be eligible for a HDB loan. Before buying a government subsidized flat in Singapore, it would be wise to understand the requirements.

Public Housing Requirements for Singaporeans

It is always recommended that you never sign a contract for the purchase of a government subsidized flat in which you will want a HDB loan until you submit your Housing Loan Eligibility (HLE) application. There is a set of eligibility requirements which must be met prior to being approved for this kind of government sponsored loan. Some of the key points are a bit complicated. For example, if you have already had two or more HDB loans, you may be ineligible. Also, if you have had a previous HDB loan, the last property you owned cannot have been private property. The requirements can be a bit confusing so it is wise to check the government website that details eligibility.

Non-resident Eligibility for HDB Housing

Singaporeans have lived with the term ‘HDB’, but non-residents may not understand that this is an acronym for the government Housing and Development Board. This government agency only relates to Singaporeans. Non-residents can always try to qualify for loans for private flats as would be the case in most countries around the world. In other words, if you are single and seeking a mortgage loan in Singapore, you would only be eligible for a government subsidized property if you are a citizen of Singapore. In the case of couples and families, at least one person to the contract must be Singaporean. Again, it can be a bit confusing for a non-resident, so take the time to refer to that government website mentioned above.

Where to Find the Perfect HDB Flat

Here is another important point to consider. The first thing you may want to look at is the price of the flat. You may prefer one close to your place of employment, but those costs may be out of reach for you. On the other hand, you may not mind commuting farther to your job if the flat you like is located in an area where there are places close by where you would seek entertainment. Bear in mind that Singapore is huge and not all neighbourhoods have the same amenities. If it is outdoor activities you enjoy, seek a flat near one of the lovely Singapore parks. Families with children may wish to live near Tiong Bahru Park, which has an amazing play area for the kids.

Balancing Wants with Needs

In the end, you will see that it is vital to take a good long look at what it is you want with a realistic understanding of what you need. Always do the math. Even though this type of flat is government subsidized, it may not be something you can comfortably afford even if you have met the income eligibility requirements. This is yet another reason why you should check out comparison rates on loans so that you will not be paying more than you can afford. Since there is an income ceiling in order to qualify for the loan, you may still qualify for the flat but will pay a bigger portion of the mortgage in out-of-pocket money. You may want that costlier HDB flat, but can you really afford to take cash out of your budget? Remember, just because the building is subsidized by government, doesn’t mean that all purchase prices will be the same per size. If you balance your wants against your needs, you will be happier in the end.

Image Credits: Pixabay

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