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Upgrading from HDB to Condo: A Comprehensive Guide on What You Need to Know (Part 1)

Updated: May 25, 2023

Parc Rosewood

When making the decision to upgrade from a Housing and Development Board (HDB) to a condominium, there are various factors to contemplate such as financial considerations and the different types of private properties available. To help you on your journey towards purchasing a condo, we have prepared a comprehensive guide that includes information on reasons to upgrade, what you should consider before making the move, and the pros and cons between buying first and selling first.

What to Expect When Upgrading

Upgrading to a condo frees you from HDB's rules, such as waiting out the Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) and being restricted to owning only one dog per household. Private properties are also not subject to the Ethnic Integration Policy (EIP), giving you a more diverse pool of potential buyers if you decide to sell your condo in the future. Condo amenities are another compelling reason to upgrade, with many properties offering swanky facilities such as a gym, pool, sports courts, and even karaoke rooms.

What You Should Know:

1. Facilities

The most straightforward benefit of a condominium is its facilities. Most condos offer facilities such as a gym, pool, tennis courts, function rooms, saunas, and more, something you can’t get in a HDB flat.

Security and privacy are also another added benefit as condominiums offer their own security measures, allowing for a greater sense of safety and guest screening.

2. Affordability

Upgrading from an HDB to a condo in Singapore entails various costs. These include:

  • Option Fee or Booking Fee

The option fee for a resale condo is 1% of the sales price and the booking fee for new projects is 5%. Compare this to that of HDBs where the fees are only $1,000 regardless of the HDB’s pricing. It's important to keep in mind that you will also have to pay stamp duty and ABSD (Additional Buyer's Stamp Duty) if this is your second property.

  • Down payment

Note that in Singapore, banks typically only lend up to 75% of the purchase price for private property. This means that you'll need to provide a down payment of 25% of the condo’s purchase price upfront compared to the HDB down payment of 15%. You will also need to fork out more cash component (minimum of 5%) as compared to if you were buying a HDB flat with a HDB loan.

  • Central Provident Fund (CPF)

If you have multiple properties purchased using your CPF Ordinary Account (OA) savings, you must first set aside your Basic Retirement Sum (BRS) in your CPF accounts before you can make a withdrawal from your OA. The current CPF BRS in Singapore is S$99,400.

  • Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR) - Private Condo / Mortgage Servicing Ratio (MSR) - HDB and EC

Your loan amount eligibility is limited by your monthly income as well as the total amount of debt you have, including any home loans, car loans, student loans, and credit card debt.

For private properties, you are generally not allowed to use more than 55% of your monthly income to service your debts. Therefore, your maximum loan amount will depend on your salary and the amount of debt you currently have.

For HDBs and new ECs, your debt is not considered and the maximum amount of your monthly income that can be used to service your home loans is limited to 30% (Mortgage Servicing Ratio).

3. Type of Condo

When deciding between buying a new or resale condo, there are several factors to take into account. Below are the main distinctions:


New Condo

Resale Condo


There will be a waiting period of several years before you can move in.

You can move in almost immediately.


You'll have to pay for both the condo mortgage and HDB without any rental income for a few years.

You can move into the condo and almost immediately sell or rent out your HDB.

Purchase Price

Buyers may be able to save when buying at an earlier stage, such as during preview or initial launch. However do note that this is highly dependent on the developer and may not be applicable for all projects.

While it is possible to find properties with a purchase price below their market value due to the seller's need to sell off their property quickly, this is not always the case. Therefore, it is wise to assume that prices may be at or above the property's value.


It's difficult to assess potential problems like noisy neighbors, street noise, and upcoming public transportation facilities.

There could be a delay in getting the Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP).

You can have a clear view of what you are buying and carefully examine any defects or issues in a resale condo. It's even better if the resale condo is still within the developer's defect warranty period.


Latest technology, SMART homes, etc.

May require renovation and have fewer or outdated facilities.

Freedom of Choice

You have the flexibility to choose any unit, facing direction, and location.

You are limited to buying what is currently available on the market.


New condos may offer early bird or developer discounts.

There are usually no such discounts available.


In conclusion, upgrading from a HDB to a condo in Singapore offers several advantages, such as freedom from HDB rules, private amenities, and potential profits from rising demand and prices over time. However, upgrading to a condo entails various costs and considerations. By weighing your options and researching what would work best for you, you can make a well-informed decision that suits your lifestyle and financial goals. Stay tuned to part 2 of the guide!

Don’t hesitate to reach out to us should you have more questions!

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