Singapore's HDB BTO Renovation Cost Guide (2023)

Singapore's HDB BTO Renovation Cost Guide (2023)
Singapore's HDB BTO Renovation Cost Guide (2023)

Congratulations! You’ve collected the keys to your new flat. The next order of business is to renovate and furnish your home to suit your every whim and fancy.

Some of you may say, “What BTO flat? Nowadays, it’s so hard to successfully ballot for one.” We say, don’t worry about it. The February 2023 BTO launch actually saw the lowest number of first-timer applicants since 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic began. It’s an indication that application rates are stabilising.

Plus as part of the Budget 2023 announcement, families with young children and younger married couples who are first-timer applicants will get an additional BTO ballot. This will take effect from the upcoming August 2023 BTO launch onwards. Certainly, this spells welcome news for those who are gunning for a BTO flat!

And if the BTO balloting system has not been in your favour and you’re gunning for an HDB resale flat instead, you’ll be glad to know additional CPF Housing Grants will be made available for eligible first-timers buying HDB resale flats.

For those of you who have already collected the keys to your new BTO home, here’s a little guide to help you figure out how much to budget for your dream HDB renovations.

How Much Does BTO Renovation Cost in 2023?

HDB BTO flat type

Estimated renovation costs in 2023

3-room flat

$45,800 to $55,700

4-room flat

$49,500 to $62,800

5-room flat

$55,000 to $69,000

Depending on your needs and how you’d like your space to look, BTO renovation costs and durations will vary. The following estimates are provided by Qanvast.

Generally, BTO renovation works do not cost a bomb, especially if you’ve opted in for the additional fittings and flooring when you bought the flat from HDB. Other than the kitchen, you may not even need to renovate anything else and rely on store-bought furniture instead (built-in carpentry work is expensive). 

Average BTO Renovation Costs in 2022

HDB BTO flat type

Estimated renovation costs in 2023

3-room flat

$45,800 to $55,700

4-room flat

$49,500 to $62,800

5-room flat

$55,000 to $69,000

As you can see, BTO renovation costs have gone up year on year. Largely, this is due to inflation and the increased labour and material costs due to shortages.

3-Room BTO Renovation Costs

As expected, BTO renovation costs go up as the size of your home increases. The estimated renovation cost for a 3-room BTO flat is between $45,800 to $55,700. Less material is required to furnish your home, which explains why it’s cheaper as compared to a 5-room BTO renovation cost. 

What this does is give you more budget when renovating your home. You can either save or channel the extra money into fancier items such as built-in furniture or custom bathroom tiling. 

4-Room BTO Renovation Costs

For a 4-room BTO flat, the renovation costs fall between $49,500 to $62,800. A 4-room flat is a fair amount of space for couples who are just starting out or Dual Income, No Kids couples.

If you plan to have children, it makes sense to furnish your home in a way that allows you to reconfigure the layout easily. For example, don’t have too much built-in furniture in your extra bedroom. This way, you can easily convert the space into a baby’s nursery (and later on, a child’s bedroom).

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5-Room BTO Renovation Costs

Due to the size of a 5-room BTO flat, it’s more expensive to renovate the space. Costs start at $55,000 to $69,000, a hefty sum as most buyers probably have plans for the additional space. Be prepared to shell out more if you’re the type who has a ‘more is more’ design attitude.

Factors That Influence BTO Renovation Costs 

Size of BTO Flat

As mentioned, the larger your flat, the higher the renovation costs. This is because more raw materials, furnishing and labour are required to put together your home. For example, if you have a lot of walls to cover, painting costs can add up.

Who Renovates Your BTO Flat

Unless you have the expertise to carry out renovation works, most people pick from these three renovation provider options: interior designers (IDs), contractors or design-and-build services. Prices vary based on service levels, workmanship, expertise and job scopes.

Going straight to a renovation contractor is the cheapest option, but it means there will be no design and project management help. Be prepared to come up with the design you want and oversee the renovations from start to finish.  

Materials Used for Your BTO Flat’s Renovation

If you’re the type who insists on custom carpentry or parquet wood flooring, it’s easy to rack up astronomical renovation costs due to the materials needed. For instance, excluding the subfloor layer, ceramic tiles typically cost between $10 to $15 per square foot but hardwood flooring will set you back $30 to $50 per square foot.

Scope of Renovation Work Done to Your BTO flat

The more elaborate the interior design, the more work is required to transform your home. Naturally, the accompanying price tag will increase. Areas which can really push up renovation costs are:

  • Carpentry (e.g. cabinets for your kitchen and custom TV consoles)

  • Hacking (e.g. removal of existing tiles, walls and built-in furniture)

  • Masonry (e.g. subfloor layer when tiling floors, base of cabinets)

  • Disposal of unwanted materials

Other renovation works you will have to include are:

  • Tiling

  • Plumbing and electrical work 

  • Window and grills

[ArticleCallout]{ “title”: “Renovation Contractor VS Interior Designer In Singapore: Which Should You Pick?”, “excerpt”: “Read more here.”, “link”: “”, “image”: “×624-crop/static/2020/12/renovation-contractor-or-interior-designer.jpg” } [/ArticleCallout] [ArticleCallout]{ “title”: “Renovation Contractor Singapore Guide: 6 Best Practices to Follow and More”, “excerpt”: “Read more here.”, “link”: “”, “image”: “×624-crop/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2020/11/renovation-contractor-singapore.jpg” } [/ArticleCallout]

How to Lower BTO Renovation Costs 

On a tight budget? Here are some tips to help you save a few bucks (or more) for your BTO renovation costs. For those who are thinking of renovating their home and taking on a personal loan to finance the purchase, try Lendela. With Lendela, you can browse and compare the various personal loans available in Singapore at no cost!

1. Have a Clear Direction on Your Desired Home Design

You want to have a vague idea of what your home will look like. Create Pinterest boards and pin home designs you like. Look at local interior design websites for inspiration. Furthermore, design trends are always changing every year.

For the year ahead, popular 2023 interior design trends include:

  • Using raw and natural materials (think Organic Modern Living)

  • Warm neutrals as the main colour palette, with green as an accent colour (like emerald and deep greens); earth tones are in-vogue

  • Terrazzo and stone trims

  • Soft ambient lighting created from paper, fabric, and/or silk fixtures

  • Statement glass pieces (textural glass bricks anyone?)

Additionally, draw up a list to determine what are ‘must-haves’ and ‘nice-to-haves’. This will minimise the changes your ID has to make and help you decide what to give up should renovation costs exceed your budget.

2. Design Your Own Home

If you intend on making minimal changes to your home, choosing the DIY route and skipping an ID is an option. You can use online tools like SketchUp to plan the layout of your home. 

Once you’ve finalised the design, source for and work directly with contractors to carry out the installation and construction work. Make sure these contractors are registered under HDB’s Directory of Renovation Contractors. Don’t forget to check the HDB website and apply for the relevant HDB renovation permits.

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3. Overlay Tiles Rather Than Hack Them

Not only is hacking tiles an expensive endeavour, but also will require masonry work to repair the floor surface before installing your desired tiles. Go for laminate flooring instead. Laminate flooring is much cheaper and will cost you up to $8 per square foot.

4. Source Your Own Materials, Accessories and Fixtures

IDs typically have their preferred contractors and contacts for materials, accessories and fixtures. While they will take care of everything for you, they usually charge a sourcing and purchasing fee on top of material costs. 

So ask if accessories such as door knobs and cabinet handles are included in the finalised renovation quote. If they are, you can request to source for your own accessories. For instance, if you want a granite or quartz countertop for your kitchen island, you can cut out the middleman and head down to industrial warehouses to purchase directly from suppliers. For everything else, there is Taobao or Ezbuy.

5. Minimise Carpentry Works and Built-in Furniture

Rising design trends such as maximalism and the return of raw, natural materials such as concrete, oak and marble can often be pretty expensive. While such exquisite tastes could come with expensive price tags, you can always find more affordable options to build the same look at furniture stores in Singapore or sustainable secondhand furniture shops.

Alternatively, select furniture made from materials such as rattan or wicker. These related materials will give off a similar vibe to wood furniture.

6. Paint Your House Yourself

Painting costs for a 3-room BTO flat range between $900 to $1,800, depending on the type of paint and number of colours used. If you are crafty, paint your own walls or put up wallpaper yourself to save costs! 

Need Help with Your New BTO Flat? Contact Sendhelper!

If you need help with post-renovation cleaning, or looking for a handyman for all the little nitty-gritty fix-ups, you can get help from services like Sendhelper.

Sendhelper is a home services brand provider that can aid you in managing your home. Not only can you find a handyman, you can also hire cleaners, cooks, and even certified professionals to provide home caregiver services. Simply download the Sendhelper app on the App Store or Google Play and find all the help you need right at your fingertips.

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