HDB Resale vs. BTO: Pros and Cons for Singaporean Home Seekers

Hey there, fellow Singaporean home seekers! Are you caught in the dilemma of choosing between an HDB resale flat and a BTO (Built-To-Order) flat? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. We understand how important this decision is and it calls for careful consideration. As experienced homeowners who have had the pleasure of living in both a HDB resale flat and a BTO flat, we want to share our insights with you. In this blog post, we’ll explore the pros and cons of each option, so you can make an informed choice that suits your needs and preferences. Let’s get started!

HDB Resale vs. BTO: Pros and Cons for Singaporean Home Seekers

HDB Resale

Let’s start by diving into the world of HDB resale flats. These are existing flats that are already built and are available for immediate occupancy. Here’s what you need to know:


Availability of immediate occupancy

Unlike BTO flats that require a waiting period, resale flats are ready for you to move in right away. No more anxiously counting down the days!

Wide range of locations and housing types

With HDB resale flats, you have the freedom to choose from a variety of locations and housing types. Whether you dream of living near the bustling city centre or prefer a quieter neighbourhood, there’s something for everyone.

Ability to view the actual unit before purchasing

One of the great advantages of resale flats is that you can physically inspect the unit before making a decision. You can walk through the rooms, check the natural light, and get a feel for the space. It’s like trying on a pair of shoes before buying them!

HDB Resale vs. BTO: Pros and Cons for Singaporean Home Seekers

Established communities and amenities

One of the advantages of HDB resale flats is that they are often located in well-established communities. These neighbourhoods have existing amenities such as schools, parks, shopping centres, and healthcare facilities. You’ll find a sense of community spirit and a range of services conveniently available nearby. This can contribute to a fulfilling and convenient living experience.

Potential for higher rental income if buying for investment

If you’re considering buying a property for investment purposes, HDB resale flats can offer the potential for higher rental income. As these flats are usually located in mature estates with established infrastructure and amenities, they can attract tenants seeking convenient and well-connected living spaces. The demand for rental properties in these areas may be higher, allowing you to potentially earn a more substantial rental income compared to BTO flats.

Greater flexibility in negotiating the price

When purchasing a resale flat, there is usually more room for negotiation on the price. Unlike BTO flats, which are sold at fixed prices determined by HDB, resale flats allow for negotiation between the buyer and seller. This flexibility can be advantageous if you have good bargaining skills or if you find a motivated seller. It provides an opportunity to potentially secure a better deal and save some money.

Eligibility for various housing grants

Resale flats provide more grant options compared to BTO flats, as the latter are already sold at heavily subsidised rates. The government offers grants to support homebuyers in acquiring their own homes, promoting social mobility and revitalising older housing estates. It is crucial for potential buyers to research the specific grant requirements to maximise the financial benefits provided by the government. If you’re interested in determining the amount of grant you qualify for, this informative piece from 99.co can be quite useful.


Higher cost compared to BTO flats

As with most things in life, convenience comes at a price. Resale flats tend to be more expensive than BTO flats due to factors like location, age, and market demand. It’s essential to consider your budget and financial readiness.

Potential maintenance and renovation costs

Since resale flats are older, there’s a higher likelihood of maintenance issues and the need for renovations. It’s crucial to assess the condition of the flat and factor in any potential costs for repairs or upgrades.

Older infrastructure and design features

One of the downsides of HDB resale flats is that they tend to have older infrastructure and design features. The buildings may have aged over time, and the layout and interior may not reflect modern trends. This means you might need to invest more in renovations or updates to make the space more aesthetically pleasing or functional according to your preferences.

HDB Resale vs. BTO: Pros and Cons for Singaporean Home Seekers

Possibility of hidden defects or issues

With older resale flats, there is a higher risk of encountering hidden defects or issues that may not be immediately apparent during the viewing. These could include plumbing problems, electrical issues, or structural concerns. It’s crucial to conduct thorough inspections to ensure the flat’s condition is satisfactory before committing to the purchase.

Longer loan tenure due to higher purchase price

The higher cost of resale flats means that you may need a longer loan tenure to manage the monthly mortgage repayments. This can extend the duration of your housing loan and result in a longer financial commitment. It’s important to consider the impact on your overall financial planning, as a longer loan tenure means paying more in interest over time.

BTO Flats

Now, let’s turn our attention to BTO flats. These are brand new flats built by HDB specifically to cater to the housing needs of Singaporeans. Let’s explore the pros and cons:


Lower cost compared to resale flats

BTO flats come with a distinct advantage – they generally come with a lower price tag compared to resale flats. This can be a real game-changer for first-time homeowners or those who have a tight budget. Imagine the relief of finding a home that not only fits your needs but also falls within your financial means. And if you happen to meet the eligibility requirements for housing grants, it’s like getting a helping hand to make your dream of homeownership even more achievable.

Newer and modern facilities

BTO flats boast modern design and facilities, offering you a fresh start in a contemporary living space. The best part is that you get to relish in the advantages of newly built amenities that are tailored to meet your needs and enhance your lifestyle. From integrated fitness and recreational facilities to a delightful rooftop garden and a convenient basement carpark, BTO flats offer a plethora of benefits that make daily living a joyous experience.

HDB Resale vs. BTO: Pros and Cons for Singaporean Home Seekers

Opportunity to be part of a vibrant and developing community

When you choose a BTO flat, you have the opportunity to be part of a vibrant and developing community. As the estate develops, new amenities, such as shopping malls, community centres, and recreational facilities, are often planned and built. You’ll witness the growth and transformation of the area, and have the chance to engage with fellow residents who are also starting their journey in the same community.

Lower maintenance and repair costs initially

Since BTO flats are newly built, they typically require less immediate maintenance and repairs compared to resale flats. The materials and fittings are newer, reducing the likelihood of immediate issues. This can save you money in the early years of homeownership, as you won’t have to allocate a significant portion of your budget for immediate repairs or renovations.

Potential for appreciation in value over time

Buying a BTO flat offers the potential for appreciation in value over time. As the estate and surrounding infrastructure develop, the demand for housing in the area may increase. This could lead to an increase in property values, allowing you to build equity in your home. If you plan to sell the flat in the future, the potential for appreciation may provide a good return on investment.


Longer waiting time for completion

Patience is key when it comes to BTO flats. You’ll have to endure a waiting period of around three to four years for the completion of the project. If you’re in a hurry to settle into your own place, this might not be the best option.

Limited location options

While BTO flats are spread across various housing estates, your choice of location may be more restricted compared to resale flats. Depending on your preferred area, there may be limited availability or none at all.

Inability to view the actual unit before purchasing

Unlike resale flats, you won’t be able to physically view the exact unit before buying a BTO flat. You’ll have to rely on floor plans, showrooms, and virtual representations to get an idea of what your future home will look like.

Lesser flexibility in customising the layout and design

One of the limitations of BTO flats is that there is lesser flexibility in customising the layout and design compared to resale flats. The units come with predetermined layouts, and major modifications may not be allowed. While you can still personalise the interior to some extent, such as choosing finishes and fixtures from pre-approved options, significant alterations may not be feasible.

Possibility of construction delays or changes in project plans

When you opt for a BTO flat, there is always a risk of construction delays or changes in project plans. These delays can extend the waiting time before you can move into your new home. Additionally, changes in project plans, such as alterations to the estate’s design or amenities, may differ from what was initially expected. It’s essential to be prepared for possible adjustments in the project timeline or changes in the overall development.

Reliance on future developments and infrastructure in the vicinity

The appeal of BTO flats often lies in their promise of future developments and infrastructure in the vicinity. However, the actual realisation of these developments may take time. You’ll have to rely on the completion of surrounding facilities such as transportation links, commercial areas, and educational institutions. It’s important to research and have realistic expectations regarding the timeline and scope of these future developments.

Factors to Consider

Now that we’ve explored the pros and cons of both HDB resale and BTO flats, let’s discuss some essential factors to consider when making your decision:

Lifestyle and Long-Term Plans

Think about your lifestyle preferences and long-term plans. Consider factors such as the size of your family, the need for future expansion, and the desired duration of homeownership. Assess whether a resale flat or a BTO flat aligns better with your current and future lifestyle needs.

Housing Grants and Eligibility

Take into account the availability of housing grants and your eligibility for them. Different grants are offered for both HDB resale and BTO flats, and the eligibility criteria may vary. Research and understand the specific grants you may qualify for, as they can significantly affect the affordability of your home purchase.

Financial Stability and Budgeting

Evaluate your financial stability and ability to manage the costs associated with each option. Consider factors such as down payment requirements, monthly mortgage repayments, renovation costs, and other expenses. Ensure that your budget aligns with the financial commitments associated with your chosen housing option.

Resale Market Conditions

Keep an eye on the current resale market conditions. The property market can fluctuate, affecting the prices and availability of resale flats. Research the market trends and assess whether it’s a good time to enter the resale market or if waiting for more favourable conditions might be a better option.

Prioritisation of Move-In Date

Consider your timeline and urgency for moving into your own place. BTO flats typically have a longer waiting period, while resale flats offer immediate occupancy. If you have a specific timeline in mind or are in a hurry to move, the waiting time associated with BTO flats may not be suitable for you.

Financial Planning and Investment Opportunities

Explore the potential investment opportunities associated with both options. Analyse the long-term prospects of each choice, such as potential rental income for a resale flat or the possibility of capital appreciation for a BTO flat. Factor in your financial goals and investment strategies when making your decision.

Community and Neighbourhood

Think about the type of community and neighbourhood you envision for yourself. Research the characteristics of the areas where resale and BTO flats are available. Consider factors such as the proximity to amenities, social activities, cultural diversity, and the sense of community. Choose an option that aligns with your desired living environment.

Accessibility and Transportation

Evaluate the accessibility and transportation options of both resale and BTO flats. Consider factors such as proximity to public transportation, major roads, and expressways. Assess the convenience of commuting to work, schools, and other frequently visited places. Opt for a location that offers efficient transportation connections that suit your needs.

Family Support and Social Networks

Take into account your existing social networks and support systems. Consider factors such as the proximity to family members, friends, and support services. Determine whether being close to your loved ones or a particular community is important for you and your family’s well-being.

Personal Preferences and Emotional Connection

Trust your instincts and consider your personal preferences and emotional connection to the property. Pay attention to factors such as the aesthetics, layout, natural light, and overall feel of the space. It’s essential to choose a home that resonates with you and brings you joy and comfort.


Ultimately, the decision between HDB resale and BTO flats comes down to your unique circumstances, preferences, and priorities. Take the time to research, seek professional advice if needed, and consider what matters most to you. Remember, it’s not just about the property itself but also about the lifestyle and community you envision for yourself. Happy home hunting, and may you find the perfect nest that brings you joy and comfort!

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