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HDB Ethnic Quota: How it Affects Home Sellers and Buyers in 2021

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As a proud pot of cultures and religions, Singapore is no stranger to conversations about race. So it’s not a surprise that this topic extends into our housing policies as well.

The Housing and Development Board’s (HDB) Ethnic Integration Policy (EIP), more commonly known as the ethnic quota, has been in the news lately over how nearly one in three HDB blocks and 14 per cent of neighbourhoods have reached ethnic quota limits.

As this ethnic policy plays a part in one’s eligibility to purchase a flat, the quota is one important consideration that every HDB buyer and seller have to take into account.

What is Ethnic Integration Policy (EIP)?

The EIP was introduced by the government in 1989, as an effort to create a more cohesive multiracial, multicultural society. The set quota on flat ownership within a particular HDB block and neighbourhood ensures that all ethnic groups (i.e., Chinese, Malay, Indian and others) cannot exceed the percentage allotted to them.

Households with members of different races may choose which ethnic group they’d like to purchase their HDB flat under as owner, co-owner or occupier (in accordance with the race on the chosen member’s NRIC). The chosen ethnic group will remain the same when the flat is eventually put up for sale in the market.

This means that persons belonging to a particular ethnic group may only sell their HDB flat to buyers that fit the ethnic quota for that month. 

As Singapore continues to evolve to become a more cosmopolitan and ethnic-ambiguous state, the relevance of this policy continues to be heavily debated too.

Frequently asked questions by sellers

How can I check the buyer’s eligibility to buy my flat?

You can confirm your buyer’s eligibility by keying in his or her particulars (such as ethnic group and citizenship) onto the HDB resale portal. It is important to note that the ethnic quota of an HDB block is updated on the first day of every month.

What if I can’t find the right buyer?

While the quota helps to ensure diversity of races in our residential communities, it does happen that sometimes, a homeowner may struggle to find a buyer from the eligible ethnic group. It is especially dire for someone who has already bought another HDB flat and so is in dire need of a buyer within six months.

In this case, a seller can submit a time extension request to HDB.

In some extreme circumstances, a seller may also consider writing an appeal to HDB to waive off the EIP requirement on their flats. However, do note that
successful appeals do not come through easily

Frequently asked questions by buyers

What If I really love to buy this house but I am not eligible?

EIP is updated on the first day of every month. If time is on your side, we recommend waiting for the next month(s) until the ethnic quota of that particular block opens up. This will free up the unit for your purchase. 

However, it is important to manage one’s expectations as a year can go by without any changes to the quota.

What happens if, after waiting for one month, I am still not eligible?

Unfortunately in this case, it will be best to start considering other units. Timing is important when purchasing a property, so waiting on the ethnic quota to change may not be ideal. Increase your own chances by exploring the market. Who knows, your next home may be waiting for you elsewhere!

Other frequently asked questions about the EIP:

What is the HDB racial quota?

More commonly known as the ethnic quota, it is a set quota on a specific block or neighbourhood by HDB to maintain a well-balanced distribution of the races (Chinese, Malay, Indian and Others).

Does HDB change the ethnic quota?

Yes, the ethnic quota is updated on the first of every month.

Is there ethnic quota for ECs or private properties?

No, there is no need to fulfil an ethnic quota for ECs or private properties.


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While the Information is considered to be true and correct at the date of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of the Information. The Information may change without notice and Ohmyhome is not in any way liable for the accuracy of any information printed and stored or in any way interpreted and used by a user.

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