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Buying a 3Gen Flat In Singapore With Comparisons To Other HDB Flat Types

30 Mar 2021 by |

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You’ve got big plans to get married and start a family. But you’ve also decided that you love living with your parents! 

You’ll need a space that’s big enough to house both them and your future children. But with the prices of houses constantly skyrocketing, it can be frightening to even think of purchasing a larger space. 

In this article, we explore the multigenerational 3Gen HDB flat and how to apply for it. We’ve also compared it against other flat types to help you make an informed decision!

What is a 3Gen flat?

Multi-generational family eating together

3Gen flats, also known as 3-generation flats, are HDB flats specifically designed for multigenerational families. They’re bigger than a 5-room flat and are an affordable option for couples who want to continue living with their parents. 

Their purpose is to help foster stronger family ties between different generations while still providing adequate privacy for household members. These flats can be purchased through BTO launches or resale procedures. 

Features of a 3Gen flat

A sample floor plan of a 3Gen flat by HDB

Image credit: TodayOnline

Estimated price: $328,000+ (BTO)*, $640,000+ (resale)**
Estimated size: about 115 sqm (BTO), about 130 – 165 sqm (resale)
*Based on November 2020 BTO sales launch
**Based on 2020 median resale prices

A 3Gen flat consists of the following features: 

  • 4 bedrooms, 2 of which have attached bathrooms
  • Living or dining area
  • Kitchen
  • 1 common bathroom 
  • 1 service yard
  • 1 storage or apartment shelter

Eligibility for a 3Gen Flat

Eligibility criteria infographic for 3Gen flats

Before purchasing a 3Gen flat, there are certain criteria you must fulfil. As the purpose of the flat is for individuals to live with their parents, applicants need to form a multigenerational family nucleus. 

This can be any one of the following:

  • A married couple with children and parent(s)
  • An engaged couple with children and parent(s)
  • A widow/widower with children and parent(s)
  • A divorcee with children (under legal custody) and parent(s)

At least one of the applicants must be a Singapore Citizen. The other applicants or essential occupiers can be either Singaporean citizens or Permanent Residents (PR).

In addition, your parents must be registered occupiers of the flat and cannot own any other property, both local and overseas.

Advantages of a 3Gen flat

The advantages and disadvantages of 3Gen flats infographic

Better chances at balloting

If you’re tired of unsuccessful ballots for a BTO, the good news is that applying for a 3Gen flat might increase your chances of a successful ballot. 

Around 30% of BTO units are set aside for first-time applicants under the Married Child Priority Scheme, which you can apply for since your parents will be moving in. On top of that, 3Gen flats are usually less subscribed than other flat types.

Shared utilities

One of the greatest benefits of a multigenerational household is the sharing of household utilities. You won’t have to worry about financing a separate flat for your parents.

More people also means you can share the costs for necessities such as WiFi, furniture, appliances, groceries, and more!

Reduced costs for elderly and child care

If you’re thinking of having or already have children, your greatest resource for childcare is right at home – your parents! If they’re still healthy, they can look after your children while you’re working. 

For couples with elderly parents, you can lessen both cost and constant anxieties for their welfare. Since they’re under the same roof, you’ll be able to monitor their health or respond quickly to emergencies.

Disadvantages of a 3Gen flat

Only multigenerational families can buy it

In the future, you’ll only be able to sell your 3Gen flat to other multigenerational families once the 5-year Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) is up. 

This may make it harder to unload on the resale market, considering you have a specific niche of households to target. 

Rooms can only be rented out after 5 years

With a 3Gen flat, you won’t be able to sublet any of the rooms until after the 5-year MOP is complete. 

This was put in place to prevent buyers from having external occupants stay illegally, under the guise of their aged parents living with them. 

Conflicts with parents or in-laws

For one half of the couple, it may be challenging to live with your in-laws. With 115 sqm, you may not get a great amount of privacy and any conflicts may result in a tense environment.

Differences between 3Gen flat and other types of HDB flats

Now that you know what a 3Gen flat is, how are you going to decide if it’s the one for you? 

Here, we’ve provided a comparison of 3Gen flats against other types of HDB flats. Take note that a living room is considered 1 ‘room’ in a HDB flat.

3Gen Flat vs Other HDB Flat Types infographic chart

*Note: The prices and sizes listed are just examples and you’re advised to view the flats you’re interested in. Prices are subject to change depending on the location and size of the flat. 

2-room 

A 2-room flat is a great option for small, lower-income households or singles. 

If you’re looking to apply as a single, you can do so through the Singles Scheme when you’re 35 years and older. 

Estimated price (excluding grants): $101,000+ (BTO)*, $200,000+ (resale)**
Estimated size: about 36 sqm (type 1) or 45 sqm (type 2)
*Based on February 2021 BTO sales launch
**Based on 2020 median resale prices 

Common flat features: 

  • 1 bedroom with 1 attached bathroom
  • Living or dining area
  • Kitchen
  • 1 storeroom or apartment shelter
ProsCons
✓ Affordable option for lower-income families, retirees or singles

✓ Has all the basic necessities

✓ Available under BTO and resale

✓ Easy to maintain
☓ Not suitable for multigenerational or expanding families

☓ No additional flat features

3-room

For a small family that’s looking for a cosy and compact space with basic living amenities, the 3-room flat is perfect!

But If you have long-term plans to expand your family, note that you’ll need to live in this flat for a minimum of 5 years before you can sell it. 

Estimated price (excluding grants): $175,000+ (BTO)*, $300,000+ (resale)**
Estimated size: about 60 – 65 sqm (BTO), about 67 – 82 sqm (resale)
*Based on February 2021 BTO sales launch
**Based on 2020 median resale prices 

Common flat features: 

  • 2 bedrooms, 1 of which is a master bedroom with an attached bathroom
  • Living or dining area
  • Kitchen
  • 1 common bathroom
  • 1 service yard
  • 1 storeroom or apartment shelter
ProsCons
✓ One of the more affordable HDB flat options

✓ Slightly bigger than a 2-room flat

✓ Available under BTO and resale
☓ May not be suitable if you’re thinking of expanding your family

☓ Limited flat features

4-room 

With their availability in multiple layouts, the 4-room flat is the most common flat type with the majority of the population (approximately 31.6%) living in one in 2020. 

They’re perfect for young couples who want to start or expand their families.

Estimated price (excluding grants):  $260,000+ (BTO)*, $405,000+ (resale)**
Estimated size: about 90 sqm (BTO), about 80 – 107 sqm (resale)
*Based on February 2021 BTO sales launch
**Based on 2020 median resale prices 

Common flat features: 

  • 3 bedrooms, 1 of which is a master bedroom with attached bathroom
  • Living or dining area
  • Kitchen
  • 1 common bathroom
  • 1 service yard
  • 1 storeroom or apartment shelter
ProsCons
✓ Multiple layouts for selection

✓ Available space for recreation

✓ Available under BTO and resale
☓ More expensive than a 2-room or 3-room flat

☓ Usually oversubscribed in a BTO launch

5-room  

This flat has 3 bedrooms like a 4-room flat, but has a bigger living and dining area. They’re most ideal for families with 4 to 5 members, and space can also be made for extended family members. 

Estimated price (excluding grants): $384,000+ (BTO)*, $690,000+ (resale)**
Estimated size: about 110 sqm (BTO), about 110 – 135 sqm (resale)
*Based on February 2021 BTO sales launch
**Based on 2020 median resale prices 

Common flat features: 

  • 3 bedrooms, 1 of which is a master bedroom with attached bathroom
  • Living or dining area*
  • Kitchen
  • 1 common bathroom
  • 1 service yard
  • 1 storeroom or apartment shelter

*Living/dining area is bigger than that of a 4-room flat.

ProsCons
✓ Enough space for a big family

✓ Additional space for recreation or for your personal needs

✓ Some units come with a balcony

✓ Available under BTO and resale
☓ One of the more expensive HDB flat options

☓ May be oversubscribed in BTO launches

☓ May be expensive to buy as a resale

Executive 

An executive flat is one of the biggest and more expensive HDB flat types. It’s larger than a 3Gen or 5-room flat, featuring an additional balcony and lots of space for recreational purposes.

Even though an executive flat has a ton of space, it’s not designed for a multigenerational family as there’s only 1 bedroom with an attached bathroom.    

Estimated price (excluding grants): $500,000+*
Estimated size: about 130 – 156 sqm
*Based on 2020 median resale prices

Common flat features: 

  • 3 bedrooms, 1 of which is a master bedroom with attached bathroom
  • Living or dining area
  • Kitchen
  • 1 common bathroom
  • 1 service yard
  • 1 storeroom or apartment shelter
ProsCons
✓ Plenty of additional space for personal or recreational needs

✓ Enough space to host extended or new family members
☓ One of the more expensive HDB flat options

☓ Only available under resale

How to apply for a 3Gen Flat

Application for a 3Gen chart infographic

After much consideration, you may have decided on the 3Gen flat as your future home! Depending on your budget and preferences, there are 2 ways to go about this.

1. Apply for BTO

For a more affordable route, you can apply when it becomes available during the quarterly BTO sales launches. We have a handy step-by-step guide for the BTO application process which you can check out!

2. Apply for resale

If you can’t wait any longer and can afford to spend a bit more, you could consider looking for a 3Gen resale flat. Find the process daunting? Here’s the HDB resale procedure in detail!  

Both the BTO and the resale procedure have their pros and cons. If you’re uncertain on which option is better for you, here are 9 factors to consider when deciding between a BTO or resale

Housing grants available for a 3Gen flat

Housing grants for 3Gen flats infographic chart

Afraid that you won’t be able to afford your flat? Not to worry, 3Gen flat buyers are eligible for the same grants as any other first-time home buyers. 

The grants you receive will depend on whether you choose to apply for a BTO or resale flat. 

The Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (EHG) is available for both BTO and resale flat applicants. However, there are some grants that only resale flat buyers can attain. These include:

  • Proximity Housing Grant (PHG)
  • Family Grant (FG)
  • Step-up Grant
  • Half-Housing Grant

Learn more about the different grants for resale flats!

How to determine income ceiling for housing grants:
Your parents’ average monthly salaries will be included in the overall household income if they’re still working.

Due to this reason, you may not qualify for certain housing grants. To help alleviate this, HDB increased the income ceiling for multigenerational families from $12,000 to $21,000 in 2019.

3Gen flat interior design inspiration

HomeRenoGuru has interior design companies that can create and bring your dream home to life if you opt for a 3Gen flat. We’ve listed some examples of beautiful designs and renovation ideas.

Minimalist theme

3gen flat designed by Swiss Interior design

Designed by Swiss Interior Design

This flat features a beautiful minimalist and uncluttered design with plenty of natural light. With the use of a projector, there’s no need to mount a television to the wall and the screen can also be kept when not in use.

Modern theme

 Modern 3Gen flat designed by Design Profession

 Designed by Design Profession

This sleek 3Gen flat design embodies a modern theme. With its simplistic style and elegant furniture, the house looks sophisticated, spacious and clean.

Frequently asked questions

What’s the difference between a 5-room and 3Gen flat?

3Gen flats are usually bigger than 5-room flats. However, the rooms in a 3Gen flat are smaller because of the extra bathroom and bedroom.

Additionally, you don’t have to be part of a multigenerational family nucleus to apply for a 5-room flat.

Who can apply for a 3Gen flat?

At least one of the applicants must hold a Singaporean citizenship. For a successful application, your parents must also be registered occupiers and cannot own any other properties.

How big is a 3Gen flat?

The most prominent characteristic of a 3Gen flat is the larger space (approximately 115 sqm). It has multiple bedrooms and bathrooms, enabling multigenerational families to live together comfortably under one roof. 

Can I buy a 3Gen flat if I’m a single person?

It depends on your family structure. By HDB’s rules, you can only purchase a 3Gen flat if you’re a widowed or divorced individual with parents. 

Purchasing a 3Gen Flat In Singapore

Purchasing a house is a huge milestone in Singapore. Thus, it’s important to apply for a flat type that’s within your budget and able to meet your living needs.

A 3Gen flat is a great deal with its affordability, cost-saving features and extra space. If you’ve made the decision to go for one, consider your eligibility, the conditions and the best application process to take for yourself!

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