BTO or EC – Which should you choose?

By Aaron De Silva / EdgeProp | February 22, 2018 6:30 AM SGT
Tags:
When it comes to purchasing a new home, one question that stumps many a prospective buyer is whether to choose a BTO (Build-to-Order) or an EC (Executive Condominium).
Both BTOs and ECs start out as subsidised public housing. One of the main differences, at least at the outset, is the household income ceiling. Currently, it is $12,000 for 4-room or larger BTOs and $14,000 for ECs. Meanwhile, Rivercove Residences in Sengkang has an indicative price $783 psf, according to listings on EdgeProp.sg. This means a three-bedroom, 1,000 sq. ft. unit – which is comparable in size to a 4-room flat – costs around $783,000.
However, as with most things in life, BTOs and ECs have their pros and cons. Let’s consider them.
BTOs
The 574-unit Teck Whye View in Choa Chu Kang (Source: HDB)
Good news if you are considering applying for a BTO this year: 17,000 units will come on stream.
In the next round of BTO launches in May, a total of 3,950 units will be made available. These will be spread across four sites: Sengkang, Tampines, Toa Payoh and Yishun.
Here is how BTOs stack up.
1. You can get a bigger grant
As a form of public housing, BTOs are priced to be within reach of the many. If you and your spouse are first-time buyers with a household income of less than $5,000, you are entitled to two CPF grants – the Additional CPF Housing Grant (AHG) and Special CPF Housing Grant (SHG).
The AHG and SHG offer up to $40,000 each. It is possible for a household making less than $1,500 per month to get a maximum of $80,000 in grants.
ECs are designed to cater to the so-called sandwich class – those more affluent than the average BTO buyer but who cannot yet afford private property. Accordingly, first-time buyers of ECs are only eligible for the Family Grant, which entitles them to a maximum of $30,000.
2. You have a wider choice of loans
As a BTO buyer, you have a choice between taking a HDB loan or applying for a bank loan. The HDB concessionary loan
allows you to...