Bugis Credit What First-Time Buyers in Singapore Must Know About House Hunting

What First-Time Buyers in Singapore Must Know About House Hunting

There are several factors that will influence the actual cost of buying a studio apartment. Singapore enforces different rules for families and single individuals, particularly for those who plan to buy a Housing & Development Board (HDB) flat.

Aside from marital status, the price of buying your first apartment will depend on your income and the type of property. Some of the common types of apartments include mature and non-mature build-to-order (BTO) flats, Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) flats, and Executive Condominiums (EC). The HDB offers 99-year leasing deals for these properties.

The Rules and Requirements

HDB has imposed new income ceilings for buying flats, which means more people have access to housing options. A typical family who plans to buy a new flat shouldn’t earn more than $14,000 per month. The same income ceiling applies to a purchase of a resale flat on the open market with CPF Housing Grant.

Single buyers who are 35 years old and above shouldn’t earn more than $7,000 per month if they plan to buy a new two-room Flexi flat in a non-mature property. A non-mature estate simply means that there are fewer facilities than in mature properties. This is also the reason why it’s more expensive to buy an apartment in a mature estate.

Those who are orphans and have no siblings can apply for an HDB purchase upon turning 21 years old, pursuant to the Orphan’s Scheme. If you and a friend plan to be roommates, then a joint applicant is possible for up to four unrelated people under the Joint Singles Scheme.

Bugis Credit The Prices of Properties
The Prices of Properties

There are limited prices for a BTO studio apartment either in a non-mature or mature estate in Singapore. ECs and private condos (PC) cost at least $420,000 and $600,000, respectively. These are already too expensive for median-income earners. A BTO HDB Flexi flat may cost around $75,000 to $158,000 depending on the location. A drawback of buying this kind of property requires a long waiting time of at least three years.

The units are also restricted to two-room properties between 35 square meters and 45 square meters. Competition among buyers is also noticeable because of fewer units, and you can’t sub-let your house when you acquire one. A resale two-room HDB flat may cost between $250,000 and $343,00 on average. You can buy in as fast as six months without any restrictions on the number of rooms starting from three-room units.

You can also sub-let a resale flat, but the possibility of buying a property with defects is much higher because another person previously owned it. A renovation may be expensive as well because of existing fixtures that may need replacements.

If you plan to buy a BTO flat in a non-mature district, the average price for a three-room property will cost from $150,000 to $190,000. Four-room properties may cost between 295,000 and $350,000, while five-room units may cost from $390,000 to $500,000.

BTO flats in mature districts may cost $200,000 to $300,000 for three-room apartments. Four-room units may cost between $290,000 and $320,000, and five-room apartments may range from $400,000 to $550,000.

Factors Affecting Prices of Resale Flats

By now, you may be thinking of just buying a resale flat to avoid a long waiting time and have more options. Those who decide to acquire one should be prepared to spend more money. Resale flats are more expensive because real estate prices appreciate every year. Some properties in Singapore, particularly those in the central business district, may even have higher prices after just several months!

Owners of resale flats also place a premium, which is called a Cash Over Valuation (COV), in addition to the actual property value. Some sellers may put up to $50,000 premiums on the price tag, but there are properties with no COVs. If you see a listing on a zero-premium unit, you should expect bids to pour in from several buyers. Many are willing to pay a higher price than the seller’s quoted figure, especially if the unit is in a strategic place (e.g. near an MRT station).


Bugis Credit How Much Should You Save?
How Much Should You Save?

You should set aside at least 5% of the unit’s purchase price for cash down payments. If you borrowed money through an HDB Concessionary Loan, you will be required to pay 10% upfront. You can use cash, a CPF Ordinary Account or a combination of both to settle the down payment. Singaporeans or permanent residents who borrowed money from a bank or licensed money lender should pay 25% of the property’s price.

The option fees for buying a flat range from $500 to $2,000 depending on the number of rooms. This should be included in the price of a down payment. First-time buyers should also consider legal fees when making a budget. Some of them include stamp duty for 99-year lease agreements, conveyancing fees and a caveat registration fee.

You can calculate stamp duty by taking 1% for the first $180,000 of the purchase price, 2% for the next $180,000 and 3% for the next $640,000. If you bought an apartment for $200,000, you should get 4% of the remaining amount. The same calculation applies to prices that fall in between the percentage brackets. You can also use the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore’s Stamp Duty Calculator to check the estimated price.


As prices of rooms for rent in Singapore continue to increase in some areas, it makes sense for people to buy apartments for themselves. If you still need cash to fulfill a down payment, then call us today to find out how we can offer the best home loan. Our rates are competitive and reasonable, as we are regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

overspending during the holiday season

5 Simple Tips to Avoid Overspending During the Holiday Season

Most people try to be frugal in Singapore during the holidays, but this can be especially difficult when retailers have so many tempting deals for shoppers! Some people use the excuse of missing out on these special offers to spend—sometimes even more than necessary.

Here are five simple life hacks and expert tips to stay within budget and avoid overspending on your holiday shopping every year:

1. Make A Detailed List About Your Holiday Expenses

A list may seem to be a perennial tip for controlling your finances during the holidays, but it’s also among the most overlooked piece of advice. Don’t just write the items that you plan to buy for your friends and family. You should include the estimated price of each gift, the day and time you plan to buy it, and how you intend to pay for it (e.g. cash or credit card).

By making a list, you can avoid an impulse purchase that’s particularly based on emotions. You also save time and effort from randomly selecting items when you’re browsing at a shopping center or online store.

2. Secret Santa and Other Gift Ideas for Big Families

Do you have a large or extended family? It can be a pain in the neck to plan how you can save money on buying holiday presents for everyone each year. A nifty way of limiting your expenses requires an age limit for family members. You can exclude those who are more than 18 years old from your gift list. If that’s not possible, you can just cap the price for each person like not spending over $30.

You can also suggest a Secret Santa for this year. Each person picks a random name and buys a gift only for that person. It saves time and money for everyone, and you’re sure that nobody will judge you for not getting them anything for Christmas or New Year’s Day.

3. Use Your Credit Card’s Cycle Date to Your Advantage

Remember each of your credit cards’ closing dates and purchase items on the next day of every date. For instance, your card’s billing cycle ends during the 1st of each month, and you purchased an item on the 2nd day. The grace period for your payment due date typically ranges from two to three weeks after the closing date. In this case, let’s say that you need to pay your outstanding balance on the 22nd day of the month.

If you bought something on the 1st day and the bank included it to your bill, you only have 21 days to pay for it. On the other hand, you will have almost two months to pay for your purchase if you did it on the 2nd day. That’s because the item you bought will be added to the next month’s billing cycle and should be paid on the 22nd day of the following month.

You should only do this if you have self-discipline on making your purchases, as any uncontrolled transactions will just rack up unnecessary debt. Most people consider credit cards as an extension of their wallets, which is a huge mistake whether or not you have the available cash to pay for your transactions.

Take advantage of your cards’ cycle dates only when you need more time to repay the balance without interest fees. It’s also practical not to put all your outstanding balances on a single card if you have multiple cards, as this may be too burdensome to pay off a large amount within a short period of time.


overspending during the holiday season with Credit card

4. Apply for a Personal Loan Instead of Withdrawing Cash from Credit Cards

Those who must spend on a big-ticket item during the holidays shouldn’t withdraw cash from their credit cards. A personal loan will be the better option because of lower rates. Licensed money lenders in Singapore aren’t allowed to impose interest fees that are higher than 4% every month. The average interest rate for cash advances cost $15 for every withdrawal or 5% to 6% of the amount, whichever is higher.

In addition, banks impose a daily interest rate that continues until you have fully paid the money. An ATM will also charge additional fees if you use a card from a different bank to withdraw money. The usual APR charged daily for cash advances ranges from 24% to almost 30%!

Personal loans are better because you only need to pay in installments for a specific number of months. Lenders may also provide a lower interest rate for those with a good credit score. You should only apply for a personal loan for sudden and unavoidable purchases that are not included in your budget.

5. Do a Price Match Among Different Retailers

Online and physical stores give rewards, discounts or other perks to customers who can find cheaper prices on the same products from a competitor. You will need to spend time and effort to pull this off. Some of the usual retailers that encourage price comparisons include Shopee, Toys ‘R’ Us, Babies ‘R’ Us and COURTs.

These stores try to set prices that are between 5% and 10% lower than their business rivals. If you’re successful in finding a cheaper price from other stores, you may be eligible for a special discount or item.


Being frugal in Singapore requires consistency and dedication. If there’s a compelling reason for you to overspend during the holidays, a personal loan from a licensed money lender will be a good option. Applying for a new loan during the holidays goes against the principles of frugality, so you should only think about borrowing cash when you’ve considered other options. Click here to know more about our loan products and interest rates.