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I’m confused! What is BTO, SBF, Resale, DBSS and EC.

20 June 2017

1. BTO (Build-to-Order)

Build-to-Order are flats that are not ready to stay yet. Meaning either they are still in the midst of building, or they have not even started building yet. You will have to wait for 3-5 years before you can get your keys. BTO flats are generally the cheapest among all the subsidized flats.

(Image by The Straits Times, ST Photo: Jamie Koh)

2. SBF (Sales of Balance Flats)

Sales of Balance Flats are usually slightly more expensive compared to BTO flats. Buyers do not need to wait for a long period of time compared to BTOs flats. These flats could be the leftover units from the previous sales launches or units that were sold back to HDB (due to any reason). Buyers may move in almost immediately for most cases. However, do note that some of these flats may have shorter lease period (instead of 99 years, it could be 70 years left).

(Image by The Business Times, Photo: BH)


RESALE are flats that you purchase from another home owner instead of HDB directly. Home owners will have to stay in that unit for at least 5 years before they can sell their unit. The price of the resale flat is very dependent on the number of lease left.Example, a unit with a lease period of 90 years can be sold much higher compared to an unit with only 65 years left.

(Image by The Business Times, ST Photo: Kua Chee Siong)

4. DBSS (Design, Build and Sell Scheme)

Design, Build and Sell Scheme flats are also for public housing BUT they are built by private developers. Basically HDB outsource the development to a private developer instead of handling themselves. The interior and exterior of the flat are nicer and better equipped compared to developments by HDB (BTOs).The eligibility criteria for applying a DBSS is similar to BTO flats. The only difference is that you will be paying a higher amount for a flat with better design and furnishings.

For more info on DBSS flat:

(Image by The Straits Times, ST Photo: Neo XiaoBin)

5. EC (Executive Condominium)

Executive Condominium is a public cum private property hybrid, mainly to provide for those who are not eligible for HDB but also could not afford for a private estate. The main criteria for EC application: Your household income must not be more than $14,000.The difference between DBSS and EC is that EC will be converted into a private condominium after 10 years. In other words, these properties can be sold to anyone in the free market, which includes foreigners. EC are usually 30% cheaper compared to private condominiums.

For more info on Executive Condominiums: 

(Image from The Straits Times, by: Frasers Centrepoint)

If you want to read more details on the types of flats that HDB offers, be warned…http://www.hdb.gov.sg/cs/infoweb/residential/buying-a-flat/new/types-of-flats