It’s not easy being a single parent in Singapore, or anywhere else in the world, for that matter. Single parents have to take on the roles of both parents, be the breadwinner, and run the household at the same time.
Buying a home is another challenging aspect of single parenthood. Private property is expensive, and there are many boxes to check before one is eligible for an HDB flat or public housing. And then, there is the issue of securing and servicing the home loan with a single income.
If you’re a single parent navigating the property market, and you’re trying to chart your way to getting a property and a suitable mortgage for your children and you, we’re here to help you with a quick guide on how to finance your home.
Property Eligibility for Single Parents
In Singapore, property is divided largely into two major categories: public housing (i.e. that provided by the HDB), and private property.
These property types come with different eligibility requirements and costs.
Property Eligibility for Single Parents (HDB Flats)
General HDB Eligibility Requirements
Previously under HDB regulations, single parents were considered as singles, which meant that they could only apply for a HDB flat on their own after they had passed the age of 35. This caused inconvenience and distress to many single parents, who could not get their own place to stay.
But thanks to lobbying by various MPs, the Minister for National Development stated in Parliament on March 4, 2020 that the HDB would lower the minimum age requirement for single parents.
As such, for single parents, the minimum age requirement to apply for purchase of a HDB flat is now 21 years old.
HDB Requirements for Unmarried Single Parents
For unmarried single parents under 35 years old, you will need to apply for permission to purchase a flat on a case by case basis via email at email@example.com.
HDB has committed to being flexible about such applications, based on individual circumstances, in order to provide children with a stable home. Hence, there is a good chance of being approved to purchase a flat. The exact flat type you are allowed to buy will depend on your individual circumstances, but will definitely be one of the following:
- A 2-room BTO flat in a non-mature estate
- A 3-room BTO flat in a non-mature estate
- A resale flat
If you are eligible but unable to afford to buy a flat, you will be considered for public rental flats.
HDB Requirements for Divorced/Widowed Single Parents
For widowed or divorced single parents, you can ballot normally for a 2 or 3 room BTO flat under the Assistance Scheme for Second-Timers (ASSIST), as HDB already sets aside up to 5% of the 2-room flexi and 3-room BTO flats in non-mature estates for widowed and divorced single parents aged 21 and above.
However, in addition to being 21 years old, you will need to fulfill some additional eligibility requirements to qualify to buy these flats under the ASSIST scheme:
- Your children must be offspring from a lawful marriage, or legally adopted
- You must have legal custody of your children
- At least one of your children must be under 18 years old
In addition to BTO flats, you can also simply purchase a resale flat on the open market without restrictions, and also avail yourself of the various grants available from HDB to subsidise your flat purchase, such as:
- Proximity Housing Grant (PHG), if you live near your parents
- Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (EHG) if you’re a first-timer
- Family Grant
Private Property Eligibility for Single Parents
Unlike public housing, there are no age or family structure requirements for private property. Whether you are an unmarried, widowed or divorced single parent, you will be able to freely purchase any private property for your needs.
The catch is, of course, the cost of private property. Private property is generally more expensive than an equivalent size of public housing, and this may be a strain on your finances.
If you intend to explore purchasing private property for your family, ensure you are financially stable and able to afford it, or at least able to afford the mortgage payments that will enable you to own the property.
Getting a Home Loan in Singapore as a Single Parent
1. Your Eligibility for a Home Loan as a Single Parent
Unlike property providers, lenders don’t really consider a person’s status when looking at a person’s eligibility for a home loan, only your financial ability to support the loan, and your ownership of the property.
HDB Loan Eligibility
For a single to be eligible for an HDB loan with up to 90% loan-to-value (LTV) limit, he/she must fit into the following criteria or requirements:
- A Singapore citizen
- Has a gross monthly income of not more than S$7,000
- Does not own or have sold a private property in the last 30 months before the date of application
- Does not own more than one market/hawker stall or industrial/commercial property (unless you’re operating a business in your other property and have no other source of income)
- Have a TDSR of no more than 60%. Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR) is the portion of your gross monthly income that goes to repaying monthly debt responsibilities, including the monthly repayments of the loan you’re applying for. This applies to all loans.
- Have an MSR of no more than 30%. Mortgage Servicing Ratio (MSR) is the portion of your gross monthly income that you spend to repay property loans including the monthly repayments of the loan you’re applying for. This applies to all loans for HDB properties.
Bank Loan Eligibility
Aside from being a Singaporean citizen, being eligible for a mortgage from a bank, as well as the amount they can lend you, depends on several things. These include, but are not limited to your:
- Gross monthly income–The minimum income requirement varies depending on the bank, but either way, your income will play a big role in your application.
- Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR) – Like in HDB loans, your TDSR must not exceed 60% of your monthly gross income.
- Credit rating – this reflects your debt credibility, possibility of defaulting on a loan or your risk grade based on the history of your debt repayments (timing), the number of loans and debt you have, your recent credit card applications and more.
Please feel free to use this mortgage affordability calculator to estimate how much mortgage you can be granted at this point.
If you’re planning to get a mortgage from a bank, you should also seriously consider seeking support from PropertyGuru Finance’s Home Finance Advisors, who can help you save time and energy by helping you do the heavy lifting of finding the most suitable mortgage package for your situation from among the more than 100 different packages available across the SIngapore market.
2. Your Option to Bring a Joint Borrower On Board
Are you aiming to get a joint borrower on board to help you afford a home loan? This is possible, but you have to take note that the person you pick as joint borrower would also have to be the joint owner of the property you buy.
With private property, there is no restriction on who you choose to be a joint owner with you and hence no restriction on joint borrowers (although there may be other possible consequences like lowered LTV if they have another property). But if you’re looking at getting a HDB flat, you will only be able to bring on a joint borrower in certain circumstances.
If you applied to buy a flat as a single parent, particularly an unmarried single parent, getting a joint borrower would likely be impossible as you would have been allowed to purchase a flat on the basis of your singlehood. Hence, you would not be allowed to have another owner who is not your spouse, and hence no joint borrower.
However, the HDB permits children buying flats with their parents under the regular Public Scheme, so in such a situation your parents can help be your joint borrower.
Alternatively, you could also purchase a flat with another single person (and have that person be joint borrower and co-owner) under the Joint Singles Scheme if:
- You are above 35 years old for unmarried and divorced citizens
- You are above 21 years old if you are widowed.
In case you’re bringing a joint borrower (especially under the Joint Singles Scheme or for private property, where it’s not necessary for the person to have any connection to you), it’s crucial to choose someone you really trust, because co-ownership of your property means the other party has as much legal right as you do, to control and dispose of the property as he/she wishes.
More FAQs on Single Parents and Property in Singapore
Can Single Parents Buy HDB Flat?
Yes, but there are some restrictions. If you are under 35 years old you can write in to HDB to appeal, or if you are divorced and/or widowed, you can apply through the Assistance Scheme for Second-Timers (ASSIST).
Can Single Parents Buy Private Property?
Yes, there are no restrictions specifically for single parents in the private property market.
Can Single Parents Get A Home Loan?
Yes. However, compared to couples who have two people and two incomes to service the debt, it may be more challenging for single parents as you have to do the same with a single paycheck.
Need More Help? Let Our Experts Guide You.
Before making any mortgage applications, be sure to do your research, calculate well, and reach out to PropertyGuru Finance’s Home Finance Advisors for professional advice to know what type of mortgage, from which lender, would be most favorable to your situation. Planning ahead can also help you save time and energy so you can also focus on what matters most which is to provide a home and a future for you and your child. We’re rooting for you!
For more property news, resources and useful content like this article, check out PropertyGuru’s guides section.
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