As Singapore heads towards becoming a super-aged society, as Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong puts it in his National Day Rally speech this year, our seniors’ housing needs have become a crucial matter to address. Multi-generational living is not something new, but it is often associated with landed living – even much so since unit sizes in flats and condos have been shrinking over the years. For married couples who need a space to look after their children and aged parents, HDB offers 3Gen flats that are designed to accommodate multi-generational families.
In this guide, we aim to give you the A to Z of 3Gen HDBs and help you decide if this flat type is the right choice for you. From the thoughtfully designed features and benefits to the legalities of qualifying for a purchase, this article will provide you with a thorough understanding of what a 3Gen flat is and how it compares to the other options available to you.
What are 3Gen Flats?
First introduced in 2013 as part of a BTO launch, 3Gen flats are a type of public housing unit offered by the HDB for families with children and the elderly who wish to live in the same home. They are designed to provide a suitable living space that enables families to care for their older generation as well as their children, while still having a sense of privacy and personal space.
These flats are distinguished by their larger size, with an internal floor area of 115 sqm. Each flat comes with four bedrooms (out of which two are ensuite bedrooms and have attached bathrooms), a common bathroom, a kitchen, a dining area, and a living room.
Some 3Gen flats offered by HDB come in the form of loft units, which is a rare HDB unit type that has a high ceiling, floor-to-ceiling windows, and a second floor that typically houses one of the master bedrooms.Take note that while 3Gen flats are known for being larger than the average HDB flat and having multiple bedrooms with attached bathrooms that cater to big families, there are still a few flat types that are bigger in size. We will go over these later on in the article.
Who Are They For?
As we have mentioned above, 3Gen flats are specifically designed to cater to multi-generational families.
The target market for these flats comprises married Singaporean couples who want to live with their children and parents with the intention of fostering stronger family ties and values while still maintaining the privacy of each family member.
Applying for a 3Gen flat can be challenging as it has stricter eligibility criteria for both new and resale flats to ensure that only family units that fall within the target market can purchase them. Firstly, 3Gen flats can only be bought by multi-generational families. This means that applicants must form a valid family nucleus that comprises any one of the following combinations:
Next, the applicant must be a Singapore Citizen and at least one parent must be a Singapore Citizen or a Singapore Permanent Resident in order to qualify for a 3Gen flat. Moreover, the main applicant must be at least 21 years of age.
Third, applicants and registered occupiers, which also includes parents, cannot have any property registered under their names both locally and overseas. In the event that they did own private residential property prior to this, the property must have been disposed of 30 months before the time of application. Additionally, applicants and occupiers are not permitted to apply for any private residential property until after the 5-year Minimum Occupation Period (MOP).
Finally, applicants and registered occupiers must have a monthly income that does not exceed the income ceiling of $21,000. (Note that parents’ incomes are included in the monthly household income)
Some things to consider if you are thinking of a 3Gen flat for your property purchase include the pricing, the advantages and disadvantages of this flat type, and how it compares to other options available to you.
Historically, the price of a 3Gen flat from HDB can range anywhere from $300,000 to over $700,000 at launch, depending on the location, size, layout, as well as the condition and lease of the flat if it was a repossessed flat. Additionally, the proximity of the flat to various amenities and facilities such as public transportation, shopping centres, and educational institutions can affect prices. At the time of writing, there are only 6 listings on PropertyGuru for 3Gen flats, and they range from $680,000 to $900,000.
To further ensure the affordability of these flats, HDB offers several grants for first-time buyers looking to purchase a 3Gen flat.
The Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (EHG) is a type of grant offered by the government to help lower and middle-income families purchase housing. The EHG enables families to qualify for a grant of up to $80,000.
The Proximity Housing Grant (PHG) offers families $30,000 for 3Gen flats as long as they meet the eligibility criteria.
Pros and Cons
The first advantage of a 3Gen flat is what adds to the appeal of the flat in the first place – space. Not only is the flat larger than many other HDB housing options but it is also designed with communal living in mind, with additional bedrooms and larger living rooms to accommodate more family members.
Other benefits of living in a 3Gen flat are cost-effectiveness and convenience.
Sharing a flat among a large family is much more affordable than having to maintain multiple households for parents, grandparents, etc. Moreover, living together can be convenient for couples who work full-time and need extra help with childcare and household responsibilities. Caring for elderly family members also becomes easier with multiple family members living under one roof.
While the 3Gen flat comes with great benefits, it also has drawbacks.
A drawback of this flat type is that owners cannot rent out rooms during the 5-year Minimum Occupation Period (MOP). This makes sense as the extra rooms of a 3Gen flat are supposed to accommodate family members.
Another disadvantage to consider is the resale of the 3Gen flat. In the event that you want to sell your flat in the future, you can only sell it to another multi-generational family that meets the eligibility criteria. This significantly reduces the pool of potential buyers for your flat. This is also the case when it comes to leasing the flat to another family after the MOP.
In addition to these drawbacks, you should keep in mind that while these flats are designed to offer space and privacy for large families, living under the same roof can result in conflicts due to the different routines and lifestyle clashes.
Compare and Contrast: 5-Room Flat, Executive Apartment, Executive Maisonette
Other HDB options that are suitable for multi-generational living includes 5-room flats, executive apartments, and executive maisonettes.
5-Room HDBs are generally around 110 sqm. These come with three bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a living room, a kitchen and a dining area. Executive Maisonettes and Executive Apartments are typically larger in size (approximately 130 to 150 sqm) and come with three bedrooms and multiple bathrooms, just like the 5-Room flats. However, they have more spacious layouts for the kitchen, dining area and living room. Maisonettes typically come withhave a second floor and, in some flats, a balcony. Despite being larger in size, these flats still have fewer bedrooms than 3Gen flats, which have four bedrooms, making them more ideal for big families.
Given that executive apartments and maisonettes are no longer offered by HDB and can only be found on the resale market, 3Gen flats are an enticing option for large families in search of a new and affordable home.
Closing Thoughts: Is 3Gen Flat The Best Option For You?
Whether the 3Gen flat is the right choice for you depends on factors such as your family’s preferences, needs, and budget.
If you have a large, multi-generational family and require a spacious home with rooms to comfortably accommodate everyone, this flat type could be the ideal option for you and your family. Its layout, additional rooms and larger communal spaces can provide the flexibility and privacy required for different generations to live under one roof.
However, it is also crucial to note that the eligibility criteria for the 3Gen are far stricter than other types of HDB flats. Moreover, the conditions for resale and rental make the pool of potential buyers and tenants smaller than those of other flat types.
Ultimately, it is important to carefully consider all the benefits and drawbacks, along with factors such as the pricing, location, family goals and even your personal relationship with your family members before deciding on the purchase of your flat.
If you are in search of a home for your family, feel free to reach out to us here and we look forward to assisting you on your property journey. Stay tuned for more articles on Singapore’s real estate scene, and as always, see you in the next one!