Written answer by Ministry of National Development on HDB’s considerations for housing loan applications and loan quantums

Apr 3, 2024

Question No: 5930

Question by: Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong

To ask the Minister for National Development (a) what are HDB’s main considerations when approving housing loan applications and loan quantum; (b) whether the applicant’s eligibility for a housing loan and the credit assessment to determine the maximum loan amount is based on the financial position of the applicants at the time of the application for a HDB Flat Eligibility (HFE) letter; and (c) whether HDB will take into consideration updated information provided after the date of the HFE application such as information showing an increase in earnings.


          In assessing HDB housing loan applications, HDB considers various factors such as job stability, CPF contributions and monthly cash savings. In computing the eligible loan amount, HDB applies a set of mortgage financing guidelines, such as a maximum loan tenure of 25 years, loan-to-value limit of 80%, maximum Mortgage Servicing Ratio (MSR) of 30%, and interest rate floor of 3.0% per annum to ensure prudent borrowing.

Since May 2023, flat buyers are required to apply for an HDB Flat Eligibility (HFE) letter, which provides a holistic understanding and assessment of their housing and financing options before they commence their home buying journey. The HFE letter informs flat buyers upfront of their eligibility for a new or resale flat purchase, CPF housing grants, and HDB housing loan, including the respective grant and loan amounts. Previously, some applicants may have applied for a BTO flat during HDB’s sales exercise, only to find out later that they were not eligible for a loan to buy an HDB flat. In addition, as housing grant eligibility was previously assessed after flat booking, some applicants may also have had to abort their applications, after finding out that they would not have sufficient grants to support their purchase. The HFE letter thus offers upfront clarity to flat applicants on the amount of loan and grants that they are eligible for, so that they can work out their housing budget, and plan their flat purchase accordingly. It also makes it more convenient for them by not requiring the submission of documents at multiple stages of the flat application process.

For flat buyers taking up an HDB housing loan, the maximum loan amount is based on their average monthly incomes over an assessment period of 12 months, at the time of their HFE letter application. This allows for a more consistent assessment of applicants’ income levels, especially for those whose incomes fluctuate from month to month.

If a larger loan is required due to subsequent changes in applicants’ circumstances, any reassessment will affect the other application parameters as well. For example, both the housing loan and grant amounts may change as the household income of the applicants changes.  This is why income and grant assessments need to be done at the same point of time, so that the assessment is done objectively and fairly. Couples who fulfil the eligibility conditions for deferred income assessment may have their income assessed nearer to their key collection appointment for both the Enhanced CPF Housing Grant and HDB housing loan. They may also benefit from the Staggered Downpayment Scheme where the initial downpayment payable when they sign the Agreement for Lease is reduced to 2.5% of the flat price.