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A Comprehensive Guide to Buying a 3Gen HDB Flat in Singapore

Maelyn Lagman

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It’s no secret that space is scarce in Singapore. It’s why newer homes tend to be smaller than they used to be years ago — be it a BTO flat or a new launch condo. HDB stopped developing Executive Apartments and Maisonette flats in 2000, so larger families now either choose between a 3Gen HDB or 5-room flat, or opt for a dual-key condo unit if they have a bigger budget.

What is a 3Gen flat?

3Gen flats are specifically designed to accommodate multi-generational families, typically consisting of three or more generations living under one roof. These flats offer larger living spaces and additional facilities to meet the needs of extended families.

Why is a 3Gen flat worth buying?

You get so much space

3Gen flats, which typically range from 1,238 sq ft to 1,292 sq ft and comprising 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms, are actually bigger than 5-room HDB flats, which are typically around 1,184 sq ft with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. 

However, it’s slightly smaller than an Executive flat, which is about 1,399 sq ft, though it only comprises 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. The extra space in an Executive flat could go to the study or balcony, according to HDB

5-Room vs 3Gen vs Executive HDB flat

Type of flat3Gen5-roomExecutive
Size1,237 sq ft1,184 sq ft130 sqm
Property details4 bed + 3 bath3 bed + 2 bath3 bed + 2 bath

3Gen vs. Dual-Key Condo

Also, a 3Gen flat is different from a dual-key condo. While the latter has an extra bedroom and bathroom, it is not part of the “main unit”. With a 3Gen flats, all bedrooms and bathrooms make up one whole flat, whereas with a dual-key condo, an additional bedroom and bathroom could be separate from the main unit to make up the sub-unit. 

Other key features of a 3Gen flat

Unique layout: The layout of 3Gen flats is designed to optimize space utilisation and privacy for different family members. They typically include multiple bedrooms, bathrooms, and communal living areas.

Special features: These flats often incorporate features such as wider doorways and step-free access to cater to the needs of elderly residents or family members with mobility issues.

Modern amenities: Many 3Gen flats come equipped with modern amenities such as air conditioning, built-in wardrobes, and kitchen appliances to enhance comfort and convenience.

What are the eligibility criteria to buy a 3Gen flat?

To be eligible to buy (or rent) a 3Gen flat, you must meet the following eligibility criteria:

CitizenshipAt least one of the applicants must be a Singapore citizen.
Family NucleusA multi-generational family nucleus, comprising at least three generations. 1st generation: You or your spouse’s parents. 2nd generation: You and your spouse, as a married couple. 3rd generation: Your kid(s).
Income CeilingThe income ceiling, which includes your parents’ incomes, depends on the type of BTO flat you’re applying for. 

2-room Flexi: $7,000
3-room: $7,000 or $14,000
4- and -5-room flat: $14,000 or $21,000

Also, your parents must be registered as occupiers of the flat, which means they must sell any existing properties they own in Singapore and/or overseas. 

Are you eligible for HDB CPF grants when buying a 3Gen flat?

You are also eligible for a CPF housing grant, specifically the Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (Families) if they meet the eligibility criteria, which include income ceilings and other conditions related to family nucleus and previous housing subsidies.

How to apply to buy a 3Gen HDB flat?

The application process for the purchase of a 3Gen HDB flat typically involves the following steps:

Step 1 – Check eligibility: Before applying, prospective buyers or renters should check their eligibility based on the criteria specified by the HDB.

Step 2 – Register interest: Interested applicants can register their interest in purchasing or renting a 3Gen flat through the HDB website or at HDB branches.

Step 3 – Balloting or selection: If there are more applicants than available flats, the allocation may be done through a balloting process or based on specific selection criteria set by the HDB.

Step 4 – Booking: Successful applicants will be notified and required to attend a booking appointment to select their preferred flat and complete the necessary paperwork.

Step 5 – Payment and documentation: Upon booking, applicants must pay the required deposit and submit the necessary documentation to finalize the purchase or rental agreement.

Step 6 – Completion: Once all formalities are completed, the applicants can take possession of the flat and move in according to the agreed-upon timeline.

Pros and cons of buying a 3Gen HDB flat

Promotes Family Bonding
Living together in a 3Gen flat fosters closer relationships and encourages intergenerational bonding among family members.
Privacy Concerns
Living in close quarters with multiple generations may pose privacy challenges for some family members. It’s essential to establish boundaries and respect each other’s privacy.
Sharing living expenses among multiple generations can help reduce the financial burden on individual households.
Maintenance Responsibilities
With larger living spaces comes increased maintenance responsibilities. Families need to coordinate and divide tasks to ensure the upkeep of the flat.
Efficient Use of Space
3Gen flats are designed to maximize space utilization, providing adequate living areas for each family member while minimizing wastage.
Financial Planning
While sharing expenses can be cost-effective, families should still plan and budget for long-term financial commitments, including mortgage payments, utilities, and maintenance costs.
Convenient Location
Many 3Gen flats are located in well-established HDB estates with easy access to amenities such as schools, parks, and public transportation.
Resale Restrictions
There may be restrictions on selling or subletting 3Gen flats, particularly during the Minimum Occupation Period (MOP). Prospective buyers should be aware of these restrictions before making a purchase.
Customisable Living
The spacious layout of 3Gen flats allows residents to customize their living spaces according to their preferences and needs.
Before opting for a 3Gen living arrangement, families should consider whether they are compatible in terms of lifestyle, habits, and expectations to avoid potential conflicts.

What are the benefits of a 3Gen flat?

With more members of a family living under the same roof, a multi-generational family’s safety is doubly assured. When parents are busy at work, a grandparent can step in to look after the little ones. On the flip side, should grandparents need more attention for their help, their children are right there to provide support.

Since most families are now becoming dual-income, there’s an increased need for help around the house, especially for couples with young children. These 3Gen families provide an optimised housing to fill these specific needs.

Stay updated on your HDB valuation and past transactions on Homer AI

Did you know? The last 3Gen HDB flat transaction in the past year was a 1,926 sq ft unit in Yishun, sold at $1.08 million. Another 3Gen flat in Yishun was sold at $935,000 for a 1,711 sq ft unit. Get real-time updates on past transactions, your home valuation, and more property information like these on Homer AI.

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Frequently asked questions about 3Gen HDB flats

Are new 3Gen flats still being built?

No, the last 3Gen flats were offered in a 2017 BTO exercise.

What is the Minimum Occupancy Period for 3Gen flats?

The Minimum Occupancy Period for 3Gen flats is 5 years, the same as other HDB flats that are not under the Prime Location Public Housing model.

Who can buy a 3Gen flat?

Only a 3-generation family can buy a 3Gen flat, and grandparents have to be included as part of the household income eligibility.

This post was originally published on November 30 2021 and has since been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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