Expanded Occupancy Cap for Larger HDB & Private Residences: Allowing Up to 8 Unrelated Individuals

Between January 22, 2024 and December 31, 2026, the Housing & Development Board (HDB) and the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) announced a temporary relaxation of the occupancy cap for larger HDB flats and private residential properties. During this period, these accommodations will be permitted to accommodate up to eight unrelated persons, an increase from the current limit of six. This measure aims to address rental demand and support households seeking rental accommodations.

This relaxation applies to four-room and larger HDB flats, living quarters of HDB commercial properties equivalent to at least a four-room flat, and private residential properties of at least 90 square meters. However, any extension of this relaxed occupancy cap beyond 2026 will be subject to review based on market conditions at that time.

Minister for National Development Desmond Lee highlighted the surge in residential rents, largely attributed to heightened demand amidst construction delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. To alleviate this situation, the government accelerated housing supply, with nearly 100,000 homes slated for completion by 2025. Mr. Lee emphasized that this increased supply would enable Singaporeans to vacate rental units sooner, thereby freeing up rental stock.
He stated that the government “(anticipates) the need to maintain a healthy rental supply to support those seeking to rent.”

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To ensure a harmonious living environment, the temporary measure applies only to larger properties capable of accommodating more occupants with minimal impact on their surroundings. Residential property owners currently housing up to six unrelated persons must apply to HDB or URA, depending on the property type, to include additional occupants. Private property owners can register their properties through URA’s e-services for a S$20 administrative fee.

HDB and URA reiterated that the existing rule requiring HDB flat owners and commercial property owners to obtain approval before commencing tenancy remains unchanged.

Applications for renting out HDB flats or bedrooms can be submitted online through HDB’s e-services, with an administrative fee of S$10 per bedroom or S$20 per whole flat rented out. Similarly, HDB commercial property owners and tenants seeking to rent out living quarters can apply via the GoBusiness Licensing Portal, with an applicable administrative fee of S$100 per application.

Furthermore, to meet growing housing demand, the government has bolstered the supply of both public and private housing units, collaborating closely with the construction industry to address supply-side challenges.

With a significant surge in housing supply anticipated in the coming years, rental demand is expected to be sufficiently addressed. This year, around 40,000 homes are projected to be completed across public and private residential sectors, marking the highest completion rate in five years. Furthermore, from 2023 to 2025, approximately 100,000 public and private residential units are scheduled for completion. HDB is also doubling the supply of flats under the Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme (PPHS) to about 2,000 units, compared to 2021.

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For enquiries regarding the rental of HDB flats/living quarters, the public can write in using HDB’s e-Feedback form, or contact the HDB Branch Service Line at 1800-225-5432 (for HDB flats) or HDB Commercial Enquiry Line (for living quarters) at 1800-866-3073. For enquiries regarding the rental of private residential properties, the public can reach out via URA’s e-Feedback form or contact the URA Development Control Line at 6223-4811.

Sources: 1,2, & 3


Is Romance a Casualty of BTO-Driven Marriage Proposals?

In Singapore, the equivalent of “Will you marry me?” often translates to “Want to apply for BTO together?”

The surging demand for housing has led many Singaporeans to embrace this approach. Additionally, with the average waiting time for the completion of a Build-To-Order (BTO) flat being three to five years, it has become customary for couples to ballot for one before formally proposing.

However, recent initiatives such as shorter waiting times for certain BTO flats and more booking options for Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) may have influenced how some Singaporeans perceive marriage proposals. Interestingly, a 2021 Valentine’s Day survey by Property Guru on Instagram Stories revealed that 55% of respondents considered a BTO proposal unromantic, while 45% disagreed.


#1: BTO or Resale Flats

HDB BTO flats offer an affordable option for property ownership in Singapore, as they are subsidized by the government with CPF housing grants available. After fulfilling the five-year Minimum Occupation Period (MOP), owners can sell the flat on the open resale market, often at a higher price.

Purchasing a resale home appeals to many as they have the freedom to choose a preferred location and are not bound by waiting times. Resale flats near MRT stations are particularly sought after, given that many Singaporeans rely on public transportation.

One of the significant advantages of buying a BTO is the potential to receive HDB grants, which can result in substantial savings. Grant eligibility varies, so it’s essential to carefully review the available grants to maximize benefits.

#2: Upgrade to Private Property

Profits from selling a property can be reinvested in another property, potentially allowing for renovation and investment. Some couples view their BTO as a stepping stone to upgrading to a private property.

#3: Discussion of Property Prices

Pricing plays a crucial role in the decision-making process of buying a home. Discussion of pricing elements is made easier with a partner. Properties in mature estates tend to be more expensive than those in non-mature areas. For instance, a 3-room flat in Kallang/Whampoa can cost more than double the price of a similar-sized flat in Jurong West.


#1: Lengthy Completion Time

One drawback is the lengthy process involved in BTO flats, with an average completion time of three to five years. This duration, coupled with the need to fulfill the MOP, means it could take up to a decade before profiting from the property.

#2: Ballot Basis of Flats

Allocation of BTO flats is determined by ballot, leaving success to chance. Applying for less popular projects may increase the chances of securing a unit. As popular launches often see high demand, it results in fierce competition.

#3: Potential Breakup

There’s the possibility of a couple breaking up and needing to cancel their BTO flat application. While forfeiting the application fee and deposit is a minor concern, it’s crucial to prioritize ending an unsuitable relationship over forcing a union.

Should You Apply for an HDB BTO Flat After Proposing?

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It’s essential not to rush into committing to a partner solely for property purchase reasons. BTO isn’t the only option as alternatives like renting or living with family can be considered.

Whatever decision is made, it should be mutually beneficial. Marriage is a long-term partnership, and buying a home is a significant step, so careful consideration of wants and needs is paramount.

Sources: 1 & 2


HDB Prices Continue Their Steady Rise in 2Q 2023

In the second quarter of 2023, HDB resale prices marked their 13th consecutive quarterly increase, rising by 1.5% quarter-on-quarter (q-o-q). This adds to the 1% q-o-q increase witnessed in the first quarter of the year, reflecting a sustained uptrend in the public housing market.

While the prices have been steadily climbing during the first half of the year, it’s worth noting that the pace of resale price growth has shown some moderation compared to the overall trend observed in 2022, where the average quarterly growth was 2.5%.

According to the latest public housing statistics, executive flats saw a significant 2.3% q-o-q increase, with prices rising from $800,000 in 1Q 2023 to $818,000 in 2Q 2023. Meanwhile, five-room flats also experienced a rise of 1.9%, with prices climbing from $638,000 to $650,000 during the same period.

Let’s take a closer look at the areas that experienced the biggest price increases for HDB estates in 2023, compared to the growth observed from 2020 to 2023:

3-Room Flats:
– Bukit Batok recorded a substantial price growth of 52.53%
– Toa Payoh followed closely with a growth of 50.35%
– Sembawang saw a rise of 43.26%
– Woodlands experienced an increase of 42.84%

4-Room Flats:
– Bukit Batok topped the list with a remarkable growth of 59.71%
– Sembawang followed with a growth of 48.82%
– Ang Mo Kio saw a rise of 43.86%
– Woodlands experienced an increase of 38.64%

5-Room Flats:
– Sembawang led the way with a substantial growth of 47.07%
– Bukit Batok closely followed with a growth of 46.03%
– Woodlands experienced an increase of 40.19%
– Choa Chu Kang saw a rise of 32.01%

The Housing Development Board (HDB) attributes the moderation in the rate of price increase to the government’s measures aimed at maintaining a stable and sustainable property market. These measures, implemented in December 2021, September 2022, and April 2023, include a 15-month wait-out period for private property owners before purchasing a non-subsidized HDB resale flat and a lowering of the loan-to-value limit for HDB housing loans.

Analysts have noted that the slower price increase observed in the second quarter is not an isolated event. Eugene Lim, key executive officer of ERA Realty Network, emphasized that 21 out of 26 HDB towns experienced price gains in the second quarter, compared to only 12 towns in the previous quarter.

Geylang stood out with the highest increase in resale flat prices at 18.7%, followed by the Central Area with 8.6% and Bedok with 4.3%, according to Mr. Lee.

It’s worth mentioning that the resale flat prices in Bukit Timah have seen a contraction for two consecutive quarters, and this could be attributed to factors such as a lack of new supply and an aging stock of resale flats.

Image Credits: unsplash.com

In conclusion, the HDB resale market continues to show strength, with prices maintaining an upward trend. While the rate of increase has slowed somewhat, the market remains dynamic, and various factors, including government measures, continue to influence price movements across different HDB towns.

Sources: 1 & 2


Neighbor Disputes: 5 Ways To Peacefully Manage Them

As I moved to three places in three years, I have had my share of difficult neighbors. You may love your home but getting stuck with awful neighbors can have you thinking of moving out. Here are some tips on dealing with rude, nosy, or difficult neighbors without causing too much drama.


From nosy neighbors to dangerous neighbors, there are diverse types of neighbors that you need to watch out for. Red flags exist for a reason. Do your best to weigh whether the situation needs to be managed or not. Let us illustrate through the “richer than you neighbor”.

The “richer than you” neighbor refers to the people whom you try to keep up with. These people parade their flat renovations, new car, and shiny gadgets. Despite doing nothing wrong, you may start to brew feelings of jealousy or inadequacy.

Remember that you do not know the whole story. Focus on the qualities of your home that make you happy. Revel in pride as you take care of your indoor garden. Focus on these positive things and stay contented with what you have.


The truth is, we are not aware of all our actions. Your neighbor may not be aware that he or she often blasts the volume of their television or that you can hear them scream at each other. Make a documentation of the offending behaviors to help your case when you need to present it to the housing board or the property owner.

Store a log of the offending behaviors and take a note when it happens. Add any communication you and your neighbor have had regarding the problem. Do not forget to write what you have discussed.


Whether you live in an HDB Complex or a Condominium, there are a set of guidelines dictating tenant behavior. Check your housing contract or do your online research to know the rules and regulations of your place.

For instance, playing loud music after 10 pm is not allowed. If your neighbor is in clear violation of these rules and regulations, you will have a stronger case when you go speak to them.


Before going to the upper management to raise your disputes with the neighbors, try to speak with them first. Give your neighbor a chance to fix the problem and hear him or her out. If you are not comfortable with face-to-face confrontation, you may leave a note or send an email to highlight what is going on.

Be polite and direct to let your neighbor know what affects you. Try not to use accusatory language, which can put your neighbor on defensive mode.


The best advice that I received was to put some space between the incident. Do not react in the heat of the moment, because you might do something wrong. Avoid saying anything that you would regret in the future.

Image credits: unsplash.com

Take time to figure out what you want the resolution to be. Your goal is to express what happen and solve the problem together. Compromise if needed.

Sources: 1 & 2


HDB's August 2020 BTO Starting Prices

Choose your home from 11 new Build-To-Order (BTO) projects that offer a total of 7,862 units of 2-room Flexi, 3-, 4-, and 5-room flats:

  • Keat Hong Verge in Choa Chu Kang
  • Parc Residences @ Tengah
  • Champions Bliss and UrbanVille @ Woodlands
  • Kebun Baru Edge in Ang Mo Kio
  • Bishan Towers
  • Dakota One in Geylang
  • Costa Grove in Pasir Ris
  • Tampines GreenCrestTampines GreenGlade, and Tampines GreenOpal

Apply for your choice town and flat type by 18 August 2020, Tuesday, 11:59pm.

Information on the BTO projects is available on the HDB InfoWEB. You can apply online using your mobile phone, tablet, or computer without visiting the HDB Hub. Successful applicants will be determined by a computer ballot, and not on a first-come, first-served basis.

For other housing options, you can apply for HDB’s open booking of flats, which allows you to book a flat as early as the next working day after you have made an online application. You can also find out the location and number of flats in our upcoming BTO sales exercises.

Important Notes

HDB precincts are planned to serve the evolving needs of the community. There are spaces catered for future inclusion of amenities/ facilities (such as childcare centres, elderly-related facilities, education centres, residents’ committee centres, and day activity centres), commercial facilities (such as shops and eating houses), mechanical and electrical rooms, and such other facilities depending on the prevailing needs. These spaces could be in the void decks, common property, car parks, or stand-alone community buildings.

To facilitate your flat application, we have provided information on the surrounding land use, proposed facilities, and their locations in the maps and plans in this brochure. As the information provided is based on the current planning intent of the relevant authorities, they are indicative only and are subject to review from time to time.

* 2-room Flexi flats come in two sizes – 36/37/38 sqm (Type 1) and 45/46 sqm (Type 2).
^ The starting prices of flats in the table above are based on 99-year leases. For illustration purposes, the assumed Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (EHG) amounts are:
2-room Flexi flat: $80,000
3-room flat: $75,000 in non-mature towns and $60,000 in mature towns
4-room flat: $60,000 in non-mature towns and $45,000 in mature towns
5-room flat: $45,000 in non-mature towns and $30,000 in mature towns

The starting prices after grant amounts are illustrative, assuming that the household incomes of eligible first-time buyers of flats in the mature towns are higher. The actual grant amount received will depend on the buyers’ income and eligibility. Read more on EHG in HDB InfoWEB.
+ Prices include the costs of floor finishes, internal doors and sanitary fittings.
^^ Singles who apply for a 2-room Flexi flat under the Single Singapore Citizen (SSC) Scheme will pay $15,000 more than couples. Eligible singles can also apply for the EHG of up to $40,000. The actual grant amounts will vary according to income.
Selling prices are rounded up to the nearest thousand dollars.

Click here to check your eligibility.

Click here to work your budget.

All information from HDB.

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