Looking to buy a house in Singapore?

Guides for couples-buying HDB together

Two singles who are madly in love with each other decided to stay together, so what comes next? Settling down into a new nest is another new journey in life. Before settling down, a house is needed to start the next journey.

With the assistance of Singapore government, Singaporean couples can consider buying themselves a HDB flat. HDB is Housing and Development Board in Singapore that manages public housing. However, if the household income exceeds the Build to Order (BTO) HDB flat ownership requirements, the well to do couple can opt for private condominium in Queenstown or Newton. That’s hypothetically if the couple are well to do, but with the Singapore’s government initiatives to lend a hand for couples to own a home, HDB flat is the first thing that comes to mind. Fret not, the guide is where for the couple to assist in buying HDB flat together.

There are some important questions to ask yourself before agreeing to do so. Ask yourself (I mean, both of you) these...
  1. Will the property be registered under one name or two names?
  2. If the property is registered under one name, the other person is the cash contributor of the payment, how’s the payment going to be recognise?
Regardless of single name or two names, there are requirements and criteria to fit into the HDB schemes, Single Singapore Citizen Scheme (SSCS) or Joint Singles Scheme (JSS). Although both are for singles, but each have different criteria to be fulfilled.

Single Singapore Citizen Scheme (SCSS)

If both of you would prefer one name as the owner of the HDB flat, the registered owner of the flat holds a share of the flat on trust for the other person, this private arrangement will not be recognised in the court.

· In Section 51(8) and (9) of the HDB Act, Trust over a HDB flat is prohibited and is null and void without the written consent of HDB.

· In layman terms, even the trust document drafted by lawyers will not be recognised in the court unless it is given consent in written format from HDB.

· Cash contributions made by you will not be recognised by law if your name is not in your HDB flat, regardless if downpayment or monthly instalment of the HDB flat. But, if you break up (God forbid), you won’t be able to claim back your cash contribution as the HDB flat ownership do not have your name on it. Even if the case is brought up to court, you’re more likely to lose the case.

· The flat will not be automatically transferred to due to the other person’s death. It will only be transferred if it is written in the will. Make sure you or your partner the registered owner, make a Will with you or your partner name in the Will.

You can consider getting a loan agreement which provides for the cash contributor to the flat to be recognised and repaid as a loan to the registered owner, that’s if you are buying the HDB flat in a single name under SSCS. With this, at least you have higher chances to get your money back if things do not work out for both of you. Well, you may always opt for private property in areas like Queenstown, Woodlands or Tampines.

Joint Single Scheme (JSS)

If both of you and your partner are Singaporeans, 35 years old above and have not own any private property yet, applying for this scheme would be the best rather than SCSS (troublesome process).

How about purchasing an Executive Condominium (EC) together?

If both you and your partner are single Singaporeans and above 35 years old, you’re entitled to buy a new EC together under the Joint Single Scheme (JSS). If you still wish to own a private condo, an EC is considered a private property after the 11th year. Besides, it can only be sold to Singapore citizen or Singapore’s Permanent Resident (PR) who are eligible to buy an EC between the 6th to 10th year. However, they are not allowed to sell to anyone including foreigners from the 11th year onward. Click here to read on how to buy EC easy peasy.

So, if you’re considering getting a condo in the bustling Queenstown, you might as well consider an Executive Condominium (EC). EC is hybrid of high end public housing and private property. Since, both you and your partner can only purchase the EC under two singles, this will turn both of you the registered owners and there’s no issues if one of you reflected as the owner.

Hope these tips helps!
Til our next Property Guru Collaboration! 
Happy New Year everyone! 
xx

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