Sale of Recess Area

What are the basic conditions?

You can buy the space in front of your flat if it meets these conditions under the Sale of Recess Area Scheme:

  • The space meets technical requirements relating to design, access, fire safety and ventilation
  • There are no service ducts such as gas pipes, water meters and electrical ducts in the space

You cannot buy the space under the following conditions:

  • If your flat is built after 1996 or under a Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) project.
  • If the space does not comply with the Fire Safety Code or it contains electrical risers
  • If your flat is located next to a corner unit

Recess area corner

  • If your flat is located next to the opening that leads to the canopy of the protruding access balcony

Recess area protruding balcony

  • If your flat is located in a point block where it is the only unit on the floor which has the recess area

Recess area point block

What are the costs?

Flat owners will need to pay the following costs by CPF or cash:

  • Purchase price (the S$ per sq metre is reviewed every 3 months)
  • Stamp & Registration fees*
  • Conveyancing fees*
  • Survey fees*

*Different fees apply, depending on who you appoint to act for your purchase – HDB, or a private solicitor.

Note: You may also incur additional costs for relocating service ducts, fittings, or fixtures out of the recess area, and for renovation works to be carried out.


When you buy a recess area of 4 sq metre outside a typical 3-room flat and appoints HDB to act for your purchase, the following costs are payable:

Purchase Price


Stamp & Registration fees

$   221.20

Conveyancing fees

$   115.60

Survey fees

$   160.50



Note: Actual costs will vary depending on the final floor area allowed for sale and the date of application received by HDB.

How to apply online?

You can submit your application to purchase the area outside your flat through My HDBPage.

Once you have logged in using your NRIC number or SingPass:

  1. Click on "Add e-Services to Favourites"
  2. Followed by "Residential" and "Living in an HDB Flat"
  3. Look for "Application to Purchase Recess Area"

Call the HDB Branch Service Line at 1800-225-5432 (toll-free) if you require assistance.

An overview of the application process:

Recess area application process

We will carry out a site inspection and technical assessment after you have submitted your online application. You will be subsequently informed of the outcome in writing. In certain cases, you will be advised to relocate services/ fittings/ fixtures before the completion date.

Note: Approval for renovation work at the recess area will not be granted before the completion date of the purchase.


You can buy the space in front of your flat under the Sale of Recess Area Scheme if it meets the eligibility conditions. The recess area must meet technical requirements relating to design, access, fire safety, and ventilation etc. We will assess your application according to the prevailing guidelines. If your flat is built after 1996, or under a Design Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) project, there is no recess area to be sold.

Example 1. Your flat is situated next to a corner flat.

Example 2. Your flat is located next to the opening to the canopy of the protuding access balcony.

Example 3. There are service ducts and/or electrical riser within the recess area.

Cost and Fees

Find out what you may need to pay if you wish to purchase the recess area.

Purchase Price

The purchase price is based on a Fair Market Value and is reviewed every 3 months.

Actual purchase price will depend on the final recess area approved for sale by HDB. You are not allowed to buy a recess area that is smaller or bigger than the final recess area approved by HDB.


The survey fee is for HDB to engage a Registered Surveyor to conduct the strata survey on the recess area to be purchased. The approving authority for the strata survey is the Singapore Land Authority (Chief Surveyor).


Different fees may apply, depending on whether you appoint HDB’s solicitor or your own solicitor to act for your purchase.

If your current housing mortgage is with a bank, you are required to engage your own solicitor to handle matters regarding your purchase of the recess area. They will advise you on the fees.   

Renovation Cost

You have to engage an HDB Registered Renovation Contractor for the renovation works at the recess area. They will advise you on the cost.  


In some cases, you have to engage licenced person(s) to relocate service(s) such as fittings or fixtures out of the recess area before the sale is approved. They will advise you on the cost.  


Application Process

You can submit your application to purchase the area outside your flat using your Singpass. You must be listed as a flat owner. After receiving your application, you will need to note the following steps:

Step 1



HDB will assess and inform you of the outcome of your application within 2 weeks.

Step 2



In some cases, HDB will inform you to relocate service(s) out of the recess area. You are to engage licenced person(s) for the relocation works. HDB and Town Council have to approve the new location(s) of the services before the commencement of the relocation works.

Approval to purchase the recess area would be granted only after HDB and the relevant authorities / service providers have determined that you have relocated the service(s) according to standards and guidelines.

Step 3



You will need a solicitor^ to handle the conveyancing matters related to the purchase of the recess area.

^ If your current mortgage is with a bank, additional solicitor's fees will apply and you will be required to obtain the bank's confirmation letter before proceeding with the purchase. 

Step 4



You will need to pay the following to HDB:

  • Purchase Price

  • Survey Fees

  • Legal Fees^

You can pay online via Singpass with the following modes if you have no housing mortgage or your housing mortgage is with HDB:

  • CPF
  • eNETS

Step 5



If you have appointed HDB's solicitor, you will be invited to sign the legal documents at the HDB Branch managing your flat when they are ready.

If you have appointed your own solicitor, they will inform you to sign the legal documents at their office.

Step 6



Your HDB Registered Renovation Contractor can apply for the permit to start renovation works at the recess area.


Manage My Application

Check your application status, make payment and change your appointment by logging in to My HDBPage with your Singpass.

My HDBPage is a personalised portal where you can view your transactions, correspondence and details with HDB at a glance. For example, you can check the status of your flat and Purchase of Recess Area application. You need your Singpass to log in to My HDBPage.

Conditions After Buying

Upon buying the recess area, these conditions apply for its ownership.

1. You shall compartmentalise the recess area with a fire-rated door and fire-rated wall if the Fire Safety and Shelter Department (FSSD) or HDB imposes such requirement.

2. No combustible materials are to be stored within the recess area.

3. There must be no permanent obstruction around the existing rain water down pipe/service pipe/duct for the purpose of maintenance, as and when required.

4. The existing scupper drain, if any, cannot be covered up. It must be free from obstruction at all times to allow the free flow of water into the waste outlet if the vertical discharge stack is within the recess area.

5. Any renovation work to the recess area must comply with HDB's prevailing renovation guidelines and approval must be obtained from HDB.