HDB concessionary loan: Know your eligibility + How to apply for HLE

10 min read

If you’re looking to buy an HDB flat, and your monthly salary does not exactly make you a millionaire, you will sooner or later have to get a home loan. Other than taking a loan from the bank, you can apply for the HDB concessionary loan (or a HDB loan, in short).

(Not sure whether a bank loan or an HDB loan fits you best? Read about it here.)

This article will tell you what you need to know about taking an HDB concessionary loan.

Your eligibility for an HDB concessionary loan

The key thing to note is that the HDB loan has an income ceiling of S$14,000 per household (S$21,000 for extended families, which is expanded on in the below table).

Family profile Income of Group A (cannot exceed S$14,000/mth) Income of Group B (cannot exceed S$14,000/mth) Income ceiling of extended family
Parents* with single working children Parents with one single working child Other single children Total incomes of Group A and B must not exceed S$21,000
Parents* with married child** Parents with single working children (if any) Married child’s family**
*Includes widow/widower or divorcee.
**Includes applicants buying a flat with their fiancé/fiancée.

If the average gross monthly household income for both applicants (e.g. you and your partner) exceeds this amount, you’ll have to take a bank loan instead.

The interest rate for the HDB loan is 0.1% above the CPF Ordinary Account interest rate. With the current CPF OA interest rate at 2.5%, the interest rate for the HDB loan is now at 2.6%.

To gauge how much in HDB loans you can obtain, you can check your HDB loan estimate using this HDB loan calculator.

Do note that for HDB flats and ECs, regardless of the type of home loan you’re taking, you’ll be subjected to the Mortgage Servicing Ratio (MSR). It caps your monthly mortgage instalments at 30% of your monthly income. 

For example, if you and your spouse earn a combined S$10,000, the maximum monthly repayment for your HDB flat is S$3,000. (Use 99.co’s MSR calculator to help you figure out your monthly mortgage limit.)

To sum up, here are the eligibility criteria to be eligible for the HDB concessionary loan:

  • At least one buyer is a Singapore citizen
  • Have not taken two or more HDB loans
  • Gross monthly household income doesn’t exceed S$14,000 (S$21,000 for extended families)
  • You do not own, or have disposed of any private residential property in the 30 months before applying for the HDB Loan Eligibility (HLE) letter
  • You do not own more than one market/hawker stall or commercial/industrial property*

*If you do operate a market/hawker stall or commercial/industrial property you have to work in it yourself.

A more detailed version of the list above can be found here.

If you want to be sure, you can also fill out this questionnaire to see whether you are eligible for an HDB housing loan.

HDB blocks in Potong Pasir
If you’re taking a loan to buy an HDB flat, the maximum portion of your monthly income you can use to pay your mortgage is 30%.

Next step: Apply for the HDB Loan Eligibility (HLE) letter

The next question you may have is probably “So… how much loan can I get?”

One way to find out is by applying for an HDB Home Loan Eligibility (HLE) letter, which specifies the maximum loan amount from HDB you can stand to receive. The HLE letter should be obtained before your first appointment to book a flat (for BTO buyers) or before the seller grants you the Option to Purchase (for resale flat buyers).

The maximum amount that HDB will be granting you depends on three main factors:

  • Age
  • Income
  • Financial standing

It’s logical to see how your age and income both influence your maximum loan amount. HDB would extend a higher loan amount to the younger applicant simply because he/she has more years to pay off the loan before his/her retirement age, which is the cut-off age for any HDB loan.

The repayment period is capped at either of the following, whichever is shorter

  • 25 years
  • Up till the buyer is 65 years old
  • The remaining lease of the flat during application minus 20 years

Do note that HDB does not consider these for the credit assessment:

  • Rental income
  • Dividend income/ interest from deposit accounts
  • Alimony/ maintenance fee
  • Bonuses
  • Director’s fee
  • Income from ad hoc overtime work
  • National Service allowance
  • Claims/ reimbursement/ expenses
  • Scholarship overseas allowance
  • Occupier’s income
  • Overseas cost of living allowance
  • Pension

Here’s how HDB takes income into consideration before specifying a maximum loan amount on your HLE letter. For a regular employee, the two most important documents you are required to show HDB are your latest three months’ payslips and the last 15 months’ of CPF contributions history.

For self-employed, part-time and odd job workers, documents such as your Notice of Assessment from IRAS needs to be furnished to HDB.

Required documents for HLE letter

HDB requires different sets of documents for different people. In a nutshell, the less stable your income, the more proof is required to be submitted to HDB.

Employees with monthly CPF contribution

  • Latest three months’ payslips
  • Latest 15 month’ CPF contribution history (example)
  • If income is variable and/or includes allowances: six months’ payslips

Employees without monthly CPF contribution

  • Latest six months’ payslips
  • Latest six months’ bank statements
  • Credit Bureau report (example)
A sample employment letter
A sample employment letter. You can also use an employment letter with details like designation and salaries as proof of income.  (Source: HDB)

Self-employed persons

  • Latest Notice of Assessment from IRAS or Certified Annual Statement of Accounts from an audit firm
  • Credit Bureau report
  • Latest six months’ bank statements

Commission-based and part-time workers

  • Latest six months’ commission statements/ payslips or a recent letter from the employer certifying job designation, commencement date, and commissions/ salaries for six months before the month of application
  • Latest 15 months’ CPF contribution history
  • Credit Bureau report
  • Latest six months’ bank statements

Odd job workers

  • Latest Notice of Assessment from the IRAS or a recent letter from the employer certifying your job designation, commencement date, and your commission/salaries for six months before the month of application
  • Latest 15 months’ CPF contribution history
  • Credit Bureau report
  • Latest six months’ bank statements

Unemployed persons 

If you’re a full-time student aged 18 to 62, you’ll need to submit a valid Student Pass.

On top of that, if you’ve been unemployed for less than three months, you’ll need to submit the following documents:

  • Income proof for the preceding month(s) from the previous employer stating your gross monthly income and last day of service
  • Latest 15 months’ CPF contribution history

HDB will take around 14 days to process your HLE application after they receive all the documents. In the event that you do not get the amount you’re hoping for, you can reverse engineer the process to get a higher amount when you reapply for the HLE letter.

To do so, start by looking at what factored into HDB’s decision and improve on these factors. If you are a commission-based worker, for instance, you can try to take on more work to get a higher average monthly pay for six consecutive months and apply again.

If you have a huge outstanding debt (eg. a car loan), you might want to repay that first to increase your credit standing.

Again, to give you an idea of the maximum loan amount you’d get before you start your home search, HDB has a useful calculator to estimate how much loan your HLE letter will grant you.

Note: If you are buying a Build-To-Order (BTO) flat from HDB, then your financial position will be reviewed twice; once before you decide to purchase the flat, and another time nearer to the completion date of the flat. Make sure your financial ability to service the housing loan has not changed by this point.

While quite rare, it is possible that after you have gone through the BTO process, and put down your down payment, you are unable to get an HDB loan. To avoid this disappointment so close to the finish line, we advise you to remain fiscally prudent and prioritise financial stability.

The Credit Bureau report

As noted above, certain buyers will need to get a credit report to apply for the HDB concessionary loan. Credit Bureau Singapore (CBS) pools all your credit payment history from different banks and companies to give you a credit score. The higher your credit score, the easier it is to get a loan and the higher the loan amount you can get. Before applying for the HLE letter, you can request for your credit score on the CBS website.

If you do not have an AA score (the highest), take some steps to improve it first, such as by paying off outstanding debts first, before you apply for the HLE letter.

Applying for a second HDB loan?

If you’re buying another HDB flat after you’ve sold your current unit and have taken a previous loan, you need to submit these documents:

  • Completion statements showing the breakdown of cash proceeds and CPF refund for the disposal of the last owned HDB flat (if you do not own a flat currently) (example)
  • Divorce documents showing the division of the matrimonial HDB flat (if the immediate past HDB flat was disposed of with/ by an ex-spouse)

The above applies to both applicants and essential occupiers of the flat application.

The process of applying for an HDB concessionary loan

Apply for the HDB Home Loan Eligibility letter (HLE letter) and upload your documents through this website.

You can also save the application draft for 30 days, and retrieve it here to complete your application.

Afterwards, you can track your application on the MyHDB portal. Typically, HDB will process it within 14 days.

Good luck with your HDB housing loan application!

How’s your experience with applying for the HDB loan? Let us know in the comments section below or on our Facebook post. 

If you found this article helpful, 99.co recommends How your HDB sale proceeds might get “taken” by CPF and Why on earth is the HDB Home Loan Pegged to CPF Interest Rate? Here’s the answer.

Frequently asked questions

How much HDB loan can I get?

The maximum loan amount is 85% of the price or valuation of the flat. On top of this, your monthly repayment is capped at 30% of your household income. The loan amount will also depend on other factors such as income, age and financial standing.

Can I refinance my HDB loan?

No, you won’t be able to refinance your HDB loan. Alternatively, you can switch to a bank loan.

When do I start paying for the HDB loan?

You’ll have to pay for the first monthly instalment on the first day of the second month, following the month in which the housing loan is disbursed.

Looking for a property?

Find the home of your dreams today on Singapore’s fastest-growing property portal 99.co! If you would like to estimate the potential value of your property, check out 99.co’s Property Value Tool for free. Also, don’t forget to join our Facebook community page or Telegram chat group! Meanwhile, if you have an interesting property-related story to share with us, drop us a message here — and we’ll review it and get back to you.

Reader Interactions


    • Fina

      Question, what if you don’t meet the requirement but you are hoping to get an appeal, can you still just submit an application for the HLE anyway?

    • Joyce Tan

      I currently hold two permanent jobs, first job requires me to work from Mon-Fri ($3500 per month) and second job requires me to work from Sat-Sun ($1000 per month). I am planning to get a 4-room resale flat next year and was wondering if i apply for HDB loan, will HDB consider both income to grant me the max loan amount?

      • Adam R.

        Hi Joyce,

        Yes HDB might consider both income streams, provided that they both contribute towards growth in your CPF.

        Adam R.

    • krishna

      is there a restriction on the number of times that i can apply for a Hdb housing loan (having paid off the earlier loans)

    • Wati

      I got my HLE approved, it didnt ask for my credit score, im guessing my credit score is not AA, it might even be in a bad state. Will hdb re-assess again with credit score once i try to purchase a flat?

      p.s. the loan im taking will almost be enough to make monthly payments by cpf alone(maybe 200-300 cash at most)

      Just wana know wat are the chances of approval

    • Azrin

      Hi there. Is it possible for me to buy resale flat (my wife holding LTVP). My sole income is less than 3K gross. Thank you.

    • John

      Hi there, I am currently working overseas and my wife is a full time housewife.
      We bought an EC 3years ago. I will return to Singapore one day say in 1 to 2 years time and intending to sell my EC and purchase a resale HDB. Question: Because I just return and most probably without a job can I still apply for HDB loan after I sell my EC? and second question, if I sell my EC while continue to work in overseas, can I still apply for HDB loan with my overseas income proof to purchase a resale HDB flat? Lastly if both answer to the questions is no, how about bank?

    • Muhd Amsyari

      HI, Im intending to buy HDB 4 room flat. But the problem is I have been through Debt restructuring scheme and completed in 2016. And to take HDB loan, my salary is over the requirement. And I believe that it will be difficult for me to secure a bank loan. Do making an appeal to HDB to consider the HDB loan will work or there are any other alternatives?

    • Kate

      I already opt for full payment for BTO but would like to opt for HDB loan, is that possible?

    • J

      Hi, on the 2nd review for BTO flats closer to the estimated completion date, should my income increase, will the maximum loan amount also increase?

    • May

      Currently we would like to buy a BTO that’s TOP 5 years later. Is it possible to get a higher HLE during the second assessment?

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