Do you REALLY need a five-room HDB flat?

8 min read

Getting your first property and not sure how many rooms you want to have? Not sure about the differences in size and floor area between 3-room, 4-room and 5-room flats? Check out this handy guide that will help you decide how much space you really need!

The evolution of HDB flats and their significance

HDB flats have been an integral part of Singapore’s urban landscape for decades. They are not just mere structures but represent the aspirations and dreams of many Singaporeans. Over the years, the design, layout, and amenities of these flats have evolved to meet the changing needs of the population. From the simple 3-room flats to the more spacious 5-room variants, each type caters to different family sizes and lifestyles.

The choice of a flat is not just about space but also about the community, accessibility, and future planning. For many, an HDB flat is not just a house but a home where memories are created, and milestones are celebrated.

Finding the perfect balance between price and space

Here are HDB’s specifications of 3, 4 and 5-room flats, as well as their average resale prices.

Flat typeApprox. floor area (sqm)Approx. floor space (sq ft)BedroomsBathroomsMedia resale price (based on transactions in Dec 2021)
3-room60 - 68646 - 73222S$350,000
4-room85 - 93915 - 1,00132S$490,000
5-room107 - 1131,152 - 1,21632S$588,000

If budget permits, most young couples tend to opt for 4-room and 5-room flats, considering 3-room flats are a lot smaller. Nevertheless, you should weigh your options based on how much you’re earning and how much space you need.

Use this calculator on the HDB portal to find the maximum housing loan (HDB or bank loan) you’re eligible for, depending on your income. It also helps you calculate the estimated monthly instalments. It’s important not to overstretch yourself, and always make sure you’ve got rainy day savings you can draw on in case of emergency.

CPF Housing Grants

Whether you’re getting a BTO or a resale flat, you may be eligible for CPF Housing Grants as well.

If you’re a first-timer applicant buying a BTO flat with a gross monthly household income of at most S$9,000, you may be eligible for the Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (EHG). The grant amount depends on your income. Currently, the maximum grant amount is S$80,000.

The maximum grant amount is double at S$160,000 if you’re getting a resale flat. Besides the Enhanced CPF Housing Grant, you may also be eligible for the Family Grant (up to S$50,000) and Proximity Housing Grant (up to S$30,000).

Find out more about these CPF Housing Grants here.

Key considerations when buying a flat

If you’re leaning towards getting a resale flat, do keep in mind that flats in the 1990s had, on average, 10% more floor space than flats built from 2000 onwards. What does this mean? Well, with a resale flat, you might be able to get a flat with fewer rooms, but still effectively have roughly the same floor space.

1. Is your household getting bigger?

Another thing that you should keep in mind is whether you want to have kids soon, or if your parents are likely to require assistance and move into your home in future. Both of these situations will mean that you’ll need to allocate some space for them.

The alternative is to upgrade, but it isn’t quite as simple as just selling and re-purchasing when your family gets bigger. Firstly, there’s your Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) of five years, during which you’re not allowed to sell your flat or buy any new residential properties (be it private or public).

HDB feb 2021 McNair Heights 4-room floor plan
This is the typical 4-room floor plan at McNair Heights BTO launched in Feb 2021.

Secondly, if you sell your flat and buy a second BTO, you’ll have to pay a resale levy. That’s S$40,000 if you’re selling a 4-room flat, and S$45,000 if you’re selling a 5-room flat.

So if you don’t plan to upgrade to a bigger house right after the MOP, this means that you’ll live in your first property for quite a number of years. So be sure to plan carefully and consider what’s likely to happen in the near horizon.

2. Work and lifestyle needs

Think about your lifestyle and how this will impact the amount of space you need. If you have family living abroad and you’d like to have a spare room handy for them when they visit, that means that you’ll need more space.

And with hybrid work becoming more common since the pandemic, you’ll most probably need a separate workspace if you work from home.

Make the distinction between the must-haves and good-to-haves. If you continue to work from home, having a separate study is likely to be a must-have.

Wanting more space for a walk-in closet? That’s a “good-to-have”.

Similarly, the balcony and larger living room space that you’ll get when you choose a 5-room over a 4-room flat is likely to be a good-to-have. So these shouldn’t be key factors in your decision-making process unless you have more than enough money to finance your purchase.

Your purchase decision is a significant one that will continue to impact you for a few decades to come. So take some time to do more research and weigh the pros and cons. When it comes to considering which flat type to buy, only buy one that’s within your means.

Factors beyond space and price

Here are some other factors that might influence your decision to get a 5-room HDB flat:

  • Age of the flat: Flats from the 1990s typically have about 10% more floor space than those built from 2000 onwards. This means you might get more space in an older resale flat even if it has fewer rooms.
  • Growing household: Consider if you plan to have children soon or if elderly parents might move in with you in the future. Both scenarios require additional space.
  • Upgrading concerns: Remember the Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) of five years. During this time, you can’t sell your flat or buy new residential properties. Also, if you sell and buy a second BTO, you’ll face a resale levy.
  • Work and lifestyle needs: Reflect on your lifestyle and its space requirements. For instance:
    • If you have family abroad who visit, you might want an extra room.
    • The rise of hybrid work models means a dedicated workspace at home might be essential.
  • Distinguish needs vs. wants: Identify what’s essential and what’s a luxury. For example:
    • A separate study might be a must-have if you work from home.
    • Desires like a walk-in closet or a larger living room are good-to-haves.


Choosing an HDB flat is a significant decision that goes beyond just financial considerations. It’s about finding a space that aligns with your current needs and future aspirations. Whether you opt for a 3-room, 4-room, or 5-room flat, it’s essential to ensure that it fits within your budget, meets your space requirements, and is located in a neighbourhood that complements your lifestyle.

Remember, a house becomes a home not just by its size or design but by the memories you create within its walls. Choose wisely, and may your new home bring you endless joy and contentment.

Good luck!


Buying a flat soon? Which flat type will you be going for? Let us know in the comments section below or on our Facebook post.

If you found this helpful, recommends Experts say HDB resale prices to remain healthy in 2022, but no double-digit growth anytime soon If your HDB flat is MOP-ing this year, is it still a good time to upgrade?

Looking for a property? Find the home of your dreams today on Singapore’s fastest-growing property portal! If you would like to estimate the potential value of your property, check out’s Property Value Tool for free. Also, don’t forget to join our Facebook community page! Meanwhile, if you have an interesting property-related story to share with us, drop us a message here — and we’ll review it and get back to you.

Frequently asked questions

How big is an HDB flat?

It depends on the flat type. 3-room flats have a floor space of around 60 to 68 sqm, while the size of 4-room flats is around 85 to 93 sqm. 5-room flats have a bigger floor area of around 107 to 113 sqm.

How big is a 4-room HDB flat in square feet?

4-room flats have a floor area of around 915 to 1,001 sq ft.

How many rooms does a 5-room flat have?

A 5-room HDB flat has three bedrooms and comes with a more spacious living and dining area.

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About Elizabeth Tan

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Looking to sell your property?

Whether your HDB apartment is reaching the end of its Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) or your condo has crossed its Seller Stamp Duty (SSD) window, it is always good to know how much you can potentially gain if you were to list and sell your property. Not only that, you’ll also need to know whether your gains would allow you to right-size to the dream home in the neighbourhood you and your family have been eyeing.

One easy way is to send us a request for a credible and trusted property consultant to reach out to you.

Alternatively, you can jump onto’s Property Value Tool to get an estimate for free.

If you’re looking for your dream home, be it as a first-time or seasoned homebuyer or seller – say, to upgrade or right-size – you will find it on Singapore’s fastest-growing property portal

Meanwhile, if you have an interesting property-related story to share with us, drop us a message here — and we’ll review it and get back to you.

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