Discover everything you need to know about applying for the HDB Flat Eligibility (HFE) Letter with our comprehensive guide.
HDB has introduced a new HDB Flat Eligibility (HFE) letter to streamline the home buying process from 9 May 2023.
This replaces the existing HDB Loan Eligibility (HLE) letter which assessed flat buyers of their eligibility for various grants and loans.
Read on to find out what is the HFE letter and how you can apply for a HFE letter for your HDB flat purchase!
What is an HFE?
In the past, homebuyers would only need to apply for an HLE letter after successfully balloting for a BTO flat.
This was essentially a confirmation check by HDB to inform you of whether you qualify for a HDB concessionary housing loan.
The HFE letter will assess your eligibility for the following:
- Buying a new flat from HDB or a resale flat
- CPF housing grants
- HDB housing loan
This will occur right at the beginning of your home buying process, streamlined into one single application.
Additionally, your personal information can be submitted via Myinfo service on Singpass, reducing the number of physical documents submitted to HDB.
When do I need a HFE letter?
For flats during a new sales launch, the HFE letter must be obtained before balloting.
For resale flats, the HFE letter must be obtained prior to submitting the resale application.
To facilitate the transition from HLE to HFE letter, HDB has made the following arrangements:
- For new flat applications before 9 May 2023, the HLE letter will still be used.
- For new flat applications for the May 2023 exercise onwards, the HFE letter will be in force.
For resale flat applications before 9 May 2023, the intent to buy (ITB) and HLE letter will still be used.
For resale flat applications after 9 May 2023, either the former two or the HFE letter can be used.
What you need to know about latest changes to HFE letter application
#1 - Income Assessment
HDB has also instituted new guidelines for income assessment, where a period of 12 months is applied.
The end of assessment period will be two months prior to the date of HFE letter application.
This will be standardised for all applications, and applicants will no longer be assessed over a period of 3 or 6 months.
According to HDB, this would allow for more consistent and fair assessments of applicants’ income levels.
# 2 - Eligibility for HDB housing grants
Moreover, the household eligibility assessment will now be based on the core family nucleus.
This means that housing subsidies will be partitioned equally between the owner and occupier who form the family nucleus.
Previously, all housing grants would be credited to the owner’s CPA Ordinary Account (OA).
With these changes, the owner will only receive half the amount while the other half gets credited into the occupier’s CPF OA.
How to apply for an HFE Letter : A step-by-step guide
Step 1: Preliminary HFE Check
As part of this preliminary check, you will get an overview of your eligibility to purchase an HDB flat, receive CPF housing grants, as well as take up an HDB loan for your flat purchase.
Step 1a: Fill in applicant details
For ease of use, you may login using your Singpass to obtain your personal information from Myinfo.
For this step, you will need to do the following:
- Provide your household particulars and income details
- Submit declaration forms
- State housing loan intent
- Review details and receive preliminary HFE assessment
You will need to key in the particulars of the co-applicants and occupiers as well.
Step 1b: Fill in income details
Next, you will be required to fill in the employment details as well as the monthly income and bonuses received.
This applies to all persons listed in the application form.
Step 1c: Make declarations
After that, you will have to declare any interest or ownership in private properties for all listed applicants.
Step 1d: Choose loan options
Finally, you will be asked to indicate whether you intend to take up a HDB housing loan.
This will provide you with a preliminary assessment of your household’s eligibility for various CPF housing grants and HDB housing loans.
Based on the information you provide, you will receive an instant result.
At this point, it is important to check through the information provided. Any changes will require you to start your preliminary HFE check afresh.
Step 2: Apply for a HFE letter
Next, you will need to apply for an HFE letter within 30 calendar days from the time you begin the preliminary HFE check. Otherwise, you will have to start the preliminary HFE check once again.
For this step, you will have to log into the HDB flat portal.
You will be asked to indicate your preference on:
- Whether you intend to take a housing loan to buy a flat.
- Whether you intend to take a HDB loan or a bank loan to buy your HDB flat.
To help you decide, you will be able to compare various home loans from different financial institutions apart from the loans provided by HDB.
If you opt in for a home loan, you can proceed to view your eligibility for a HDB housing loan.
Don’t panic if you are not eligible for a HDB loan. Find out how you can apply for a bank loan for your HDB flat purchase.
Next, you will be asked to fill up details including your particulars, contact details, CPF contribution history over the past 15 months, latest notice of assessment from IRAS, and to provide supporting documents.
How can I check my HFE status?
Upon completion of your application and information retrieval, HDB will notify you via SMS to view your HFE letter within 21 working days.
The details of your HFE letter will be provided on the HDB flat portal.
How long is the HFE letter valid for?
The HFE letter is valid for 6 months. During this period, there is no need for a re-assessment as long as:
- There are no adverse changes in the incomes and financial positions of the household members; and
- There are no changes to the applicants and occupiers listed in the HFE letter application
At the same time, the outcome of your HFE letter will be reviewed if:
- Any information submitted is incorrect or untrue
- The individuals listed in the application are not compliant with the terms and conditions for buying a HDB flat, applying for CPF housing grants, or taking up a HDB home loan
- There are changes in the household income or any other changes that may affect your eligibility to buy a HDB flat, receive CPF housing grants, or take up a HDB home loan
After obtaining your HFE letter, you can proceed to apply for a new flat or purchase a resale flat.
Where can I find out more about the HFE letter?
To find out more about applying for a HFE letter, you can visit the HDB website.
If you are considering between a HDB loan and bank loan for your HDB flat purchase, learn more about which one we will prefer currently.
If you are not eligible for a HDB loan, check out our guide on how to apply for a bank loan when buying a HDB flat.
Ready to continue your journey of buying a HDB flat? Check out our guide on buying a HDB BTO Flat.
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