Making Sense of HDB Standard Plus Prime Housing Models - New Gen Home

Making Sense of HDB Standard Plus Prime Housing Models

Stay ahead of the curve with our comprehensive guide to HDB changes. Whether you're a homeowner or aspiring buyer, we've got you covered with the latest updates and insights.
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Update to Singapore’s public housing landscape

While the Standard flats under the new HDB housing classification system remain similar to the current Build-To-Order (BTO) model, it is the Plus and Prime categories that introduce the most significant changes. Located in more desirable locations with enhanced subsidies and tighter conditions, these coveted flats represent an exciting new chapter for public housing in Singapore.

In this blog post, we will delve deeper into the Plus and Prime models – what makes them distinct, the opportunities they present, and matters prospective homeowners need to consider. As the first implementation of these new categories is slated for the second half of 2024, this is timely and relevant information for those already scouting for their next home or simply curious about the future of affordable housing in our land-scarce city-state.

The Plus flats aim to make quality housing more accessible in choice areas while moderating windfall gains through resale restrictions. Meanwhile, the Prime flats cater to those seeking top locations and amenities, even if it means tighter strings attached. How exactly do these models redefine what is possible for public housing? What trade-offs are involved?

By shedding light on Singapore’s most talked-about new housing policies, this article aims to help readers make an informed decision on their homeownership journey. So join me as we uncover what lies beneath the Plus and Prime labels!

Why a need for new HDB classification?

The previous classification of HDB estates into mature or non-mature categories was determined by the estate’s age and level of development. However, this classification system had its limitations as it failed to fully capture the diverse needs and preferences of Singaporeans. Consequently, certain areas were often viewed as more attractive than others, resulting in higher demand and prices for properties in mature estates.

The new housing model, which introduces Plus and Prime flats, aims to rectify these shortcomings and adopt a more comprehensive approach to housing classification. By factoring in location-specific attributes and presenting varying subsidies and conditions, the updated model offers a broader array of choices for prospective homebuyers.

The abandonment of the old classification system fosters a fairer distribution of housing options across different areas. It challenges the notion that only mature estates are sought-after, thus enabling potential buyers to consider non-mature estates that boast appealing amenities, well-established infrastructure, and promising growth prospects.

HDB Standard Flats


  • Widest availability: Standard flats will continue to form the bulk of the housing supply, ensuring a wide range of options for homebuyers.
  • Standard subsidies: These flats will come with the standard subsidies that are applied to all BTO flats, making them more affordable for first-time homebuyers.
  • Limited locational attributes: Standard flats may not be located in the most desirable or central areas, which could be a drawback for homebuyers seeking prime locations.

HDB Plus Flats:


  • Attractive locations: Plus flats will be situated in choicer locations within each region, such as near MRT stations and town centers, offering better connectivity and proximity to amenities.
  • More subsidies: Plus flats will come with additional subsidies on top of the standard subsidies, making them more affordable for a wider range of Singaporeans.
  • Tighter restrictions: Plus flats will have tighter conditions compared to standard flats, including a longer Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) of at least 10 years before they can be sold in the open market or invested in a private residential property.
  • Limited availability: Plus flats will be offered in limited numbers within each region, which may result in higher demand and potential competition among homebuyers.

HDB Prime Flats:


  • Choicest locations: Prime flats are situated in the most desirable locations within Singapore, usually closer to the city center, offering excellent connectivity and proximity to amenities.
  • Most subsidies: Prime flats will come with the highest level of subsidies across the three categories, making them more affordable for eligible homebuyers.
  • Tightest restrictions: Prime flats will have the tightest restrictions, including the longest MOP and stricter resale conditions, to discourage excessive windfall gains and ensure equity among homebuyers.
  • Limited availability: Prime flats are currently offered under the Prime Location Public Housing (PLH) model, and their availability may be limited due to their high demand and desirability.

Top 5 Considerations For Buyers

1. Subsidies

The increased subsidies for Plus and Prime flats in the new HDB classification model offer a positive outlook for Singaporeans in search of HDB homes. Here’s why:

  • Enhanced Affordability:
    • The augmented subsidies contribute to increased housing affordability for Singaporeans. Purchasing a home, particularly in a high-cost market like Singapore, entails substantial financial commitment. The heightened subsidies serve to reduce the initial expenses, making homeownership more attainable for individuals and families, regardless of location.
  • Prime Locations and Amenities:
    • Plus and Prime flats are often situated in more desirable areas. These locations frequently boast superior amenities, connectivity, and potential for property value appreciation. The heightened subsidies render these sought-after locales more budget-friendly, enabling individuals to consider housing choices that may have previously been beyond their reach.

The amplified subsidies for Plus and Prime flats within the new HDB classification model aim to provide Singaporeans with housing options that are not only more affordable but also more appealing. This initiative addresses the evolving housing needs and aspirations of Singaporeans, elevating their overall homeownership experience and enhancing their quality of life.

2. 10 Years Minimum Occupation Period (MOP)

Photo by Maria Ziegler on Unsplash

The 10-year Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) for Plus and Prime flats can pose a significant hurdle for individuals aiming to transition to a condominium, for several compelling reasons:

  • Flexibility Concerns:
    • With the 10-year MOP in place, homeowners face limitations on selling their HDB flat or venturing into private property investment for an extended duration. This lack of flexibility might trouble those desiring the freedom to relocate or upgrade their housing situation within a shorter timeframe.
  • Potential Impact on Capital Appreciation:
    • Some individuals might perceive the 10-year MOP as a potential obstruction to capital appreciation. They could believe that waiting longer to sell their HDB flat and move to a condo may cause them to miss out on greater potential price escalation.
  • Adapting to Changing Circumstances:
    • Over a decade, life circumstances can undergo significant transformations. Changes in family size, job locations, or personal preferences might prompt individuals to reconsider their housing requirements. The 10-year MOP could hinder their ability to adapt promptly to these shifts.
  • Financial Factors:
    • Upgrading to a condominium often entails a considerable financial commitment. Certain individuals may prefer selling their HDB flat earlier to free up funds for condo down payments or mortgages. The 10-year MOP introduces a delay that could influence their financial planning.
It’s essential to recognize that the 10-year MOP aims to ensure the stability of the public housing system and curb speculative behavior. While it may be a dealbreaker for some, others might view it as an essential measure to preserve the affordability and integrity of the HDB housing market. Ultimately, the decision to transition to a condominium hinges on individual circumstances, priorities, and long-term aspirations.

3. Rental Restrictions

For Plus flat owners, there’s a requirement to live in their flats for at least 10 years (Minimum Occupation Period or MOP) before they can sell their flats in the resale market or invest in private residential properties. This implies potential constraints on renting out the flat during this MOP period.

As for Prime flats, they fall under the Prime Location Public Housing (PLH) model, which imposes rental restrictions. For instance, PLH flats can only be rented out for a maximum of 6 months within the initial 5 years.

The aim of these stricter conditions for Plus and Prime flats is to reinforce owner-occupation. Allowing flat owners unrestricted rental could counteract this objective.

Rental constraints help maintain demand and prices for these flats at reasonable levels, ensuring affordability for future buyers. Without such limits, these units might be seen more as investment assets.

To sum up, although not directly stated, we can infer that Plus and Prime flat owners may face certain limits on renting out their units during the initial minimum occupation period, resembling the existing policies for PLH flats. This aligns with the owner-occupation intention of the new housing model.

4. Subsidy Recovery 

The subsidy recovery in the Plus and Prime housing schemes could discourage potential buyers with plans to eventually switch to private properties. This is due to the subsidy recovery mechanism, which imposes specific conditions and limitations on homeowners who want to sell their subsidized properties and move up to private ones.

With the subsidy recovery mechanism, initial homeowners who sell their subsidized properties are obligated to give back a portion of the subsidy they initially received.

This repayment can considerably shrink the funds available for buyers to use as a down payment for their future private property acquisition.

This reduction in available funds could pose a challenge for buyers to manage the required down payment for private properties, possibly deterring their upgrading intentions.

Consequently, some buyers might opt to postpone their plans to shift to private property until they’ve fulfilled the subsidy recovery requirements or until they’ve saved enough to offset the subsidy repayment.

5. Income Ceiling (Plus and Prime)

As mentioned, resale buyers of Plus and Prime flats must adhere to all current BTO eligibility conditions, including the income ceiling cap.

The income ceiling regulations placed on prime flats can influence buyers’ choices in the following ways:

  • Eligibility:
    • The income ceiling establishes the maximum income level a buyer can have to qualify for purchasing a prime flat. Buyers whose income exceeds the specified limit might not meet the criteria for prime flat ownership. This could narrow options for individuals with higher incomes.
  • Affordability:
    • The income ceiling ensures that prime flats target buyers within a specific income bracket. By setting this ceiling, the government aims to enhance affordability for middle-income households. Buyers within the income ceiling may find it more manageable to afford a prime flat compared to those with higher incomes.
  • Market Demand:
    • The income ceiling rules can also impact demand for prime flats. Buyers nearing the income ceiling may feel incentivized to acquire a prime flat before their income surpasses the threshold. This can create urgency and potentially amplify demand for prime flats.

In essence, the income ceiling regulations imposed on prime flats can sway buyer choices by determining eligibility, influencing affordability, and molding market demand. Potential buyers should carefully weigh these factors when making housing decisions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Repayment of Subsidies upon Flat Resale

To ensure fairness for everyone, owners of Plus flats will need to contribute a portion of the resale price, proportional to the extra subsidies received, if they decide to sell their flats down the road. This measure helps curb excessive gains and ensures parity among flat owners who don’t benefit from these extra subsidies.

Singapore has expanded housing choices for singles under the new HDB policies. From the second half of 2024, eligible singles aged 35 and above can apply for new 2-room flats classified as Standard, Plus or Prime, with no restrictions on location.

Plus flats offer singles the opportunity to enter the property market with flats in desirable, well-connected locations. These flats come with higher subsidies but longer minimum occupation periods and tighter resale conditions.

In the resale market, singles can now purchase 2-room Prime Flexi flats. This provides the option to live in premium addresses near the city center at a subsidized price. However, Prime flats entail the strictest rules similar to existing Prime Location Housing projects.

The changes allow singles to own homes nearer mature estates and amenities for better caregiving support. They also have more housing choices that suit varying budget and location preferences. This supports Singapore’s growing single households by enhancing their housing accessibility and choices.

The new Plus flat category under HDB’s housing classification aims to make quality homes more accessible in desirable locations. Plus flats will be located in areas with greater connectivity and proximity to amenities, such as near MRT stations.

Homebuyers of Plus flats will enjoy higher subsidies compared to Standard flats, helping to reduce the cost of homeownership. However, there are also tighter terms – residents face a minimum occupation period of 10 years before they can sell their flats.

When Plus flat owners do sell, they will have to pay a portion of the increased value that is attributable to the extra subsidies received. This aims to moderate windfall gains and maintain affordability long-term. The Plus flat scheme expands affordable options while balancing needs of current and future homeowners.


The introduction of new HDB housing models and the implementation of income ceiling rules on Plus and Prime flats signal significant changes in Singapore’s public housing landscape. The fresh framework aims to address the evolving housing needs and aspirations of Singaporeans, ensuring affordability and fairness in the housing market.

The newly imposed income ceiling rules play a pivotal role in determining eligibility and affordability for potential buyers. These rules help direct prime flats towards middle-income households, guaranteeing accessibility within a specific income range. Although the exact details of these rules aren’t outlined in the article, it’s evident that they’ll influence buyer decisions and shape demand for Plus and Prime flats.

On the whole, the government’s commitment to providing a well-rounded mix of housing options—like Prime, Plus, and Standard flats—reveals their dedication to making high-quality HDB flats accessible and affordable for Singaporeans. These measures aim to uphold a diverse social mix, encourage homeownership, and establish a fair housing system for all.

As Singapore’s housing landscape evolves, potential buyers must stay informed about the latest policies and eligibility criteria. By grasping the implications of income ceiling rules and other housing regulations, buyers can make astute decisions aligned with their needs and financial capabilities.

With the introduction of Plus flats and continuous enhancements to housing grants, Singaporeans can anticipate a varied range of housing options catering to various budgets and aspirations. The government’s commitment to ensuring affordable, top-notch public housing remains unwavering, laying a strong foundation for Singaporeans and their families in the years ahead.

As a realtor working in a continuously changing economic landscape, it is increasingly important to advise my clients beyond transactions. Every client’s financial situation is unique, there is no one size fits all solution for every case. As a realtor myself, my job goes beyond transactions, it is important to go beyond my duties and assist my clients to seek the best outcome possible beyond property-related matters.

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