Jumbo flats are like unicorns in the world of HDB apartments. You’ve never seen one before, but you’d like nothing more than to get your hands on one.

But here’s the main difference between HDB jumbo flats and unicorns:

One of them actually exists.

And no, it’s not unicorns.

If you’re to believe the Strait Times, there were 2,900 such jumbo flats in 2017. About 80% of these flats are located in Woodlands, while the other 20% are scattered through Ang Mo Kio, Bishan, Jurong East, and Yishun. Sometimes, we will need to upgrade our housing as our family grows. We can consider jumbo flats, condominiums or even landed properties.

But what exactly are these magical HDB apartments, and how can you get one? Read along to find out.

What Are Jumbo Flats & How Large Are They?


Jumbo flats are rare gems that many people crave. However, be prepared for a much steeper price than standard HDB flats.

You’d better sit down for this. And make sure you have some glucose nearby:

An “affordable” jumbo flat in Singapore is considered $600,000-$750,000. 

Jumbo flats are not called jumbo for no reason. They are larger than your usual four-room and five-room HDBs. They’re combined from several three or four-room regular flats. So, they’re about two to three times the size of a standard HDB flat.

The HDB introduced these giant flats in 1989 because many of their normal-sized apartments didn’t sell. So basically, jumbo flats were HDB’s solution to a 1989 oversupply issue.

Here’s how your very own jumbo flat can look like:

A 4-room apartment before the conversion can contain:

– Two baths

– A balcony

– Three bedrooms

– Kitchen & dining room

Add to that a 3-room flat with:

– Courtyard

– Bathroom

– Storage room

– Kitchen

– Two bedrooms

So now you have five bedrooms, three bathrooms, and two kitchens.

This solution is great if you have more kids and if you want to convert one or two of your rooms as your work-from-home office. It helps greatly with flexibility. Also, you may want a jumbo flat if you are living with your parents and grandparents.

With a jumbo flat, you might also be able to earn passive income from rent without sacrificing your privacy. Of course, there are plenty of other ways to earn passive income in Singapore.


How Big Exactly Are These Jumbo Flats?


Jumbo flats are usually 150-170 square metres. Wait, how much is that even? Let’s make a comparison.

A BTO 3 Gen flat is about 115 square metres, and executive flats are at an estimated 130 square metres.

Here’s what that means:

– Jumbo flats are the roomiest type of HDB apartment you can get.

– Because they’re combined from two HDB apartments, you’ll enjoy a much larger living and dining room, plus a more spacious kitchen.

– You’ll also have more bathrooms.

Watch out, though: HDB isn’t making any new jumbo flats, so the battle’s on the apartments currently on the resale market.

So, how can you get one in Singapore?

Purchasing Jumbo Flats

According to Property Guru, you can purchase a jumbo flat, but:

– You have to be at least 35 years-old

– You must use a bank loan

Most people who purchase jumbo flats in Singapore do this because a standard HDB apartment is too cramped for their whole kampong. You might be able to share the financial commitment with your family members.

Here’s the first step:

Check the current offers on the market and see if any of those meets your criteria. Consider that most jumbo flats are located in non-mature estates, like Woodlands and Yishun, so you won’t live in a central area. For homeowners who are concerned with the feng shui of their house, it would be best to check with experts beforehand.


The HDB Conversion Scheme


The HDB Conversion scheme, just as its name suggests, allows you to convert two adjoining apartments so that you can create your jumbo flat. Yup, you can renovate your house and choose modern interior designs!

But before you start dreaming with your eyes open, consider these eligibility requirements:

– You can only use HDB apartments with a maximum of three rooms each.

– If you own an HDB apartment already, you can’t purchase a neighbouring flat until you reimburse your original loan.

– If you don’t own any HDB apartment, you can take a loan to buy two adjacent flats from the get-go.

You’ll have to build at least one opening that measures 1 x 2 metres between these two apartments for conversion. You’ll also have to take out the PUB metres from one apartment.

Other conditions include:

– You can’t use this scheme if you’re a single or joint single.

– At least one buyer has to be a Singaporean Citizen aged at least 21.

– You’ll have to form a family nucleus that is between spouse and children, or parents and siblings, or children in your custody if you’re widowed or divorced.

– If you decide to purchase two apartments simultaneously, make sure these units qualify for your neighbourhood’s EIP/ SPR quota restriction. Luckily, this quota doesn’t apply if you’re purchasing one of your neighbour’s apartments.


Conclusion: Is It Worth Getting A Jumbo Flat?


We already discussed some advantages with jumbo flats; you have more space for your extended family, more bathrooms, and more privacy.

Now let’s look at the disadvantages:

1. You can’t subdivide a jumbo flat you’ve converted into two units again.

2. If you’ve bought a jumbo flat, you have to live in it for at least five years.

3. You have to pay a resale levy if you decide to sell the converted apartment.

4. Most jumbo flats’ remaining leases are below sixty years because they were constructed before or up to the 1990s. As such, this lease can be too short to cover the HDB requirement tenure, which is the youngest buyer until the age of 95.


Getting Ready For A Jumbo Flat In Singapore


Those disadvantages above aren’t enough to dissuade most Singaporeans whose hearts are set on jumbo flats.

As most jumbo flats cost between $600,000 to $1,000,000+, you’ll notice it’s similar to that of a standard HDB flat. So, if you’re sharing the costs with your extended family, you can get off cheaper. Do take note to add in renovation costs when you are refurbishing your jumbo flat. To aid you financially, affordable renovation loans can be taken here.

If you have decided to upgrade your property, Lending Bee, one of the largest financial institutions in Singapore also offers bridging loans. Yes, other than short-term loans, we offer other financial products as well.

A bridging loan is a form of housing loan that provides you with the necessary funds required to meet your immediate cash flow needs, while you wait for the sales proceeds from your current home.

Read more about our bridging loans here.


About Lending Bee

In a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world, you can count on one thing – your partner in credit, Lending Bee. Just like an industrious bee, we are committed to helping each and every customer access credit – quickly, easily and seamlessly.