Executive Condominiums VS Build-to-Order Flats

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Both Executive Condominiums and HDB Build-to-Order Flats are hot properties right now. More and more people, especially first-time buyers are leaning towards buying an EC or BTO. However, there’s so much confusion and rivalry between these two housing units. If you tend to look at it side by side, there’s seems to be not much of a difference between an EC vs BTO.

Remember that buying a property in Singapore is a very serious matter that should be taken with great precaution. Not just because ECs are popular right now means you will be jumping straight on the bandwagon of Executive Condo owners. Alternatively, you don’t have to believe the common misconception that all HDB flats are poorly made, tacky and mediocre in terms of quality.

Along with other confused Singaporeans who can’t decide on whether they will be buying an EC or BTO, let’s take a closer look between these two similarly identical properties.

General Classification

Executive Condominiums – ECs are a type of public-private hybrid housing first built-in Singapore way back in 1994. They are made by private developers and features almost the same amenities as well as facilities commonly seen on private condominiums. But since they are subsidized by the government, ECs only become private after 10 years.

Build-to-Order – first introduced in 2001, BTO is a flat allocation system made by the Housing and Development Board (HDB). Compare to other HDB flats, BTOs are very flexible in terms of timing and location. New buyers can apply for an apartment based on their desired location and target launch date. Though, BTO construction will only begin once the number of applicants reached at least 70%.

EC VS BTO

EC VS BTO

Are executive condominiums better than BTO? Should I invest in ECs? Or put my hard-earned money on BTOs? The answer truly depends on your budget, lifestyle, property requirements and preferred facilities. Both EC or BTO are great options when it comes to affordable housing units. Nevertheless, each of them has its own share of advantages and disadvantages. To better help you decide what type of property suits your needs best, check out their main differences below.

Monthly Income Ceiling

EC – your combined monthly household income must not exceed $14,000.

BTO – depending on the type of BTO flat you wish to acquire, your household income must not exceed $12,000 for 3-4 room flats located in mature or non-mature estates, $18,000 for multi-generation family, and $6,000 for a 99 year 2-room Flexi flat.

Allocation for First-time Buyers

EC – 70% of flats are usually reserved for first-time homebuyers during the 1st month of its launch.

BTO – up to 50% of flats are set aside for first-time buyers with more ballot chances and additional ballot chances for unsuccessful attempts.

Buyer Eligibility

EC – you need to form a family nucleus under one of the 4 eligibility schemes, must be a Singapore citizen, at least 1 other applicant must be a Singapore citizen or Singapore permanent resident, at least 21 years of age, and have met the income ceiling.

BTO – you need to qualify under one of the 3 eligibility schemes, must be a Singapore citizen, at least 1 other applicant must be a Singapore citizen or Singapore permanent resident, at least 21 years of age, and have met the income ceiling bracket for the flat you wish to purchase.

Property Facilities

EC – offers the same amenities seen on private condos. Swimming pool, gym, garden, function rooms, car parks, 24/7 security, tennis court, etc. are just some of the most common facilities available.

BTO – they don’t have any of the above-listed facilities except for some with security cameras, small recreational spaces, gardens, and fitness stations.

Unit Finishes

EC – whole unit flooring, built-in kitchen cabinets, hood, oven, hob, air-conditioner, vanity top, etc.

BTO – basic finishing such as bathroom wall tiles, kitchen flooring, household shelter and service yard.

Subsidy Grant

EC – first-time buyers can apply for Family Grant of up to $30,000.

BTO – first-time buyers are eligible for Additional CPF Housing Grant and Special CPF Housing Grant with both grants totaling up to $80,000.

Financing Options

EC – bank loan is the only option available with most banks covering up to 80% of the unit’s valuation.

BTO – two options are available, first is through bank loan while the second one is via HDB loan where buyers can loan up to 90% of the unit’s valuation.

Minimum Occupancy Period (MOP)

EC – there is a minimum occupancy period of 5 years before you can rent it out and 10 years before you can sell it to anyone. Becomes fully private in the 11th year.

BTO – you need to fulfill the minimum occupancy period of 5 years before you can sell or rent it out.

Executive Condo vs BTO Comparison Table

Continuing on this battle between EC vs BTO, and to make that decision making of your much simpler, below is a quick comparison table where you can easily spot their respective differences. Note that this is just a summary of the many things both executive condominiums and build-to-order flats are up against each other.

Executive Condominium (EC) Build-to-Order Flat (BTO)
Developed & Sold by Private Developers HDB
Eligibility Must form a Family Nucleus

Must be a Singapore Citizen

With at least 1 SC or SPR applicant

At least 21 years of age

Have met income ceiling

Must qualify under Eligibility Scheme

Must be a Singapore Citizen

With at least 1 SC or SPR applicant

At least 21 years of age

Have met income ceiling

Gross Monthly Income $14,000 $6,000, $12,000 and $18,000
Unit Allocation 70% for 1st-time buyers Up to 50% for 1st-time buyers
Property Facilities Swimming Pool

Function Rooms

24/7 Security

Landscaped Garden

Gyms

BBQ Pits

Tennis Court

Multi-level Car Parks

Security Cameras

Recreational Spaces

Garden

Fitness Station

Service Yard

Unit Finishes High-quality condo finishes Standard HDB finishes
Subsidy Grant Family Grant up to $30,000 Combined AHG & SHG up to $80,000
Financing Options Bank Loan HDB Loan and Bank Loan
MOP 5 years to rent, 10 years to privatize 5 years to sell and rent
Method of Buying Direct from Developer HDB Balloting

Indeed, comparing EC VS BTO is a never-ending battle. From housing grants to income ceiling requirements, both EC and BTO are attractive low-cost housing projects. It is intended to help many Singaporeans fulfill their ultimate dream of acquiring a space they can call their own.

If you want to enjoy the perks and privileges of living in a condo yet don’t have enough budget to buy a private one, choosing Executive Condominium over BTO is certainly practical. But for those who are keen on living in a specific location, HDB Build-to-Order flats might fancy your desires because they are more affordable and receives a higher subsidy than ECs.

When choosing between an executive condo vs BTO, don’t forget to consider the required financial obligations you need to settle upon purchase such as down payment options, stamp duties, resale levies, renovation cost (if applicable), legal fees, and all others.

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