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Where to Stay While Waiting for BTO?

BTOs typically require a waiting time of three to four years; from the time you get allocated a unit to collecting your keys. With the recent Covid-19 situation, it has caused further delays. The recent batch of BTOs released for instance will take up to five years to complete because of new safety measures put in place.

Whether you are newly married and are looking forward to staying with your spouse or are just looking to move out of your existing home because of a difficult situation, the long waiting time can be really frustrating. What temporary housing options are open to you while waiting for your BTO? We explore them here.

The Affordable Option: Renting directly from HDB

For those waiting for their BTOs, HDB offers a temporary housing option under the Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme (PPHS). You can rent either a 3-room or a 4-room flat from HDB. This is open to couples that are married or have applied their BTO under the Fiancé/Fiancée Scheme. It is also open to divorced or widowed parents with children.

Image: Steven Hwg from Unsplash

To be eligible, you will also need to meet the following criteria:

  • Be a Singapore citizen with another Singapore Citizen or Singapore Permanent Resident in your household.
  • You and your occupiers cannot own an existing HDB flat.

Similar to balloting for a BTO flat, you will need to apply for a PPHS flat (online or in person) and then wait to select a flat if your application is successful. The tenancy duration is capped at 3 years and your tenancy term will end within four months of the estimated completion date or the PPHS site’s availability of use, whichever is shorter.

Depending on location, the rent for 3-room flats start from $600, while 4-room flats go for $1,500. Rent is a lot cheaper than if you were to rent a flat in the open market. With that said, the choice of locations is very much limited.

For more information, visit HDB’s page on the PPHS here.

The Conventional Option: Renting from the open market

Renting from the open market opens up a lot of possibilities, most notably in terms of location. You can also choose to rent an entire apartment or just a single room. Decide whether you want to rent an HDB or a private property like a condominium. The latter, in general, is more expensive.

Image: Eugenia Clara from Unsplash

When it comes to renting from the open market, here are some important regulations to take note of:

  • If you are renting from a private property, the minimum tenancy period is 3 months, while HDB requires a minimum tenancy period of 6 months.
  • For HDB rentals, you are only allowed to rent a bedroom from 3-room HDB flats and bigger.
  • For private properties, URA mandates that there is an occupancy cap of six unrelated persons per property. Unrelated persons refer to anyone who is not part of the same family unit.
  • For HDB, the maximum number of tenants and occupants (including flat owners) are four for 1- and 2-room flats and six for 3-room flats and bigger.

You can obtain a gauge of market rental rates for HDB flats here. With private properties, visit property listings to get an estimate. Anything within the Core Central Region (CCR)—places like Orchard, Bukit Timah and Holland—will likely garner a higher rent. Homes in the Rest of the Central Region (RCR) such as in neighbourhoods like Queenstown, Balestier or Marine Parade have a mid-tier price range in terms of rent. If you are looking to save some moolah for your home renovations or prefer a larger apartment, look out for units in the Outside Central Region (OCR).

The Indulgent Option: Splurge on co-living

If you’ve got a bit of cash to spare, co-living’s an option for you. Similar to co-working spaces, co-living spaces provide private accommodation with communal facilities like the living room, kitchen and laundry room shared among other members or residents in the same facility. They often come with housekeeping services, WI-FI and 24/7 air-conditioning. Interiors are usually trendy and Insta-worthy, with features like exposed pipes, large expansive windows, neon hues, walls plastered with quirky quotes or splashes of greenery.

Image: Figment

The benefit of this—if you’re a social butterfly—is that you’ll get to mingle with different people from different walks of life because of the shared spaces. Some co-living options allow members to host events from time to time, while others offer exercises classes and have on-site facilities like the gym and swimming pool where you’ll get a chance to know one another.

Prefer your privacy? Most co-living spaces also offer options where you get to keep pretty much to yourself, with private bathrooms or a separate living space altogether. These rooms or apartments will usually cost more.

Popular co-living space Hmlet has prices starting from $1,050 per month with locations in places like Shenton Way and Tiong Bahru. Lyf in Funan charges $150 per night for their studio room, which allows a maximum occupancy of two. Figment has co-living spaces located in gorgeous heritage shophouses, and their luxury offerings start at $1,600 per month.


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