Calling on all Housing and Development Board (HDB) dwellers and owners! Do you know you can buy the small space right outside your door? Have you ever wondered why some HDB flats have their gates outside on the common corridor and some have them just right outside the door? That fine difference is because of the recess area.

In this article, we will explore what that is, who can buy them, how much does it cost and also how to go about buying it. Importantly for those concern about selling your unit in future, we also discuss if buying it will increase the value of your house.

What is the recess area and who can buy it?

Purchasing the Recess Area Outside of Your HDB Flat!_Home Quarters SG_KC Ng Keng Chong

Source : HDB

HDB flats have corridors that lead to staircase and also lift landings that serve as common spaces, and these areas are considered the recess area. Some residents have converted these extensions outside their home for their personal use by putting their own belongings such as shoe racks, cabinets, bicycle and even park benches.

Home Quarters do advise that home owners reduce the clutter in the common corridor as this will pose as a fire hazard, and restrict escape routes and access in case of an emergency. The safest way to enjoy the corridor space directly in front of the flat is to purchase it from HDB under the Sale of Recess Area Scheme and turn it into your own private space.

In order to be eligible to buy, home owners have to meet certain conditions. First, the space have to meet technical requirements relating to design, access, fire safety and ventilation. There should not be service ducts such as gas pipes, water meters and electrical ducts in the space.

In what situation is the purchase of recess area not allowed?

Purchasing the Recess Area Outside of Your HDB Flat!_Home Quarters SG_KC Ng Keng Chong

In addition, the purchase of recess area is not allowed if the flat is built after 1996 or under a Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) project. Also, under these circumstances, purchase is also prohibited:

• Space does not comply with the Fire Safety Code
• Space contains electrical risers
• Flat is located next to a corner unit
• Flat is located next to the opening that leads to the canopy of the protruding access balcony
• Flat is located in a point block where it is the only unit on the floor which has the recess area

How much does the small recess area cost?

According to HDB, the purchase price of a 4 sqm recess area outside a typical three-room flat would cost S$6,800. The price per square meter is also reviewed every quarter by HDB. Just like a normal purchase procedure, stamp and registration fees, conveyancing fees and also survey fees are required for the purchase. Survey fees refer to the fee paid to confirm how big the area is.

Purchasing the Recess Area Outside of Your HDB Flat!_Home Quarters SG_KC Ng Keng Chong

Source : HDB

HDB estimates that the total cost for the recess area adds up to S$7,297.30 after factoring all the fees involved. Additional costs might also be needed for relocating service ducts, fittings, or fixtures out of the recess area, and for renovation works to be carried out which is not included in the estimate. 

Procedure to buy recess area

Purchasing the Recess Area Outside of Your HDB Flat!_Home Quarters SG_KC Ng Keng Chong

Source : HDB

If their flat meets the requirements, they may submit an online application via My HDBPage. An on-site inspection of the recess area is required to determine if the space meets technical requirements. Thereafter, they will be subsequently informed of the outcome in writing. In certain cases, they will be advised to relocate services, fittings and fixtures at their own cost before making payment and signing of legal documents to complete the purchase.

Impact of recess area towards valuation and price of HDB flat

Factually, the area of the HDB flat will increase as it includes the bought area of the recess area. The valuation price will definitely be higher than a typical unit. On top of just adding space to the unit, if the purchase of recess area changes a typical corner corridor unit to that of a private corner unit without any windows facing the common corridor, then the purchase of the recess area will increase the desirability of the unit.

Purchasing the Recess Area Outside of Your HDB Flat!_Home Quarters SG_KC Ng Keng Chong

Source: Fatema Design Studio

For example, a 3-room flat in Toa Payoh that have purchased the recess area and renovated it, would have increased its attractiveness. People might prefer to buy this unit with recess area because it is now more private, without windows that allows public to peek into the unit from the common corridor. That will definitely increase the demand and thus, the market price of the unit.

Contact Us

Now, after you understand what is the recess area, is it a key criteria when you are looking for your next home? Come sit down with us to go through your current needs and want for the property to purchase next.

If you have questions or if you are thinking about properly showcasing your house for sale, contact Home Quarters by going over to or send us an email at or direct message us on Facebook or Instagram! If you would like to schedule a virtual viewing, that is also possible – you can read all about what you need to look out for during a property virtual viewing here before COVID-19 end.

Reach out to us any way you like and we love to help you out and answer any questions you have to sell your house so that you can move on to the next big thing in life.

That’s all for this article! Stay safe, and remember, call Home Quarters and start packing!

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