Finally settling in a place to call your own is a milestone that every adult hopes to achieve. In Singapore, the residential market will surprise you with its abundant options—from affordable public housing to lavish private properties.
The residential market seems to be doing well despite the recession. Pent-up demand and low interest rates along with the circuit breaker spurred sales in August 2020. Homeowners perceive that it’s better to buy a new property now than wait for a price correction.
Some may also reconsider upgrading to bigger homes for more space for work and leisure due to the work-from-home trend, rising the demand for large condos.
First-timers are spoilt for choice, making their decision to purchase a property harder than it already is. In this article, we have summarised the key criteria to help you choose which property type is the right one for you.
1. Understanding your eligibility
Your eligibility includes your age, monthly income and whether you’re buying the property with someone else. Keep in mind of what type of grants and loans you are qualified for.
To own either a Housing and Development Board (HDB) flat or an Executive Condominium (EC), you must meet the requirements of the HDB policies.
A Private Property is probably the “best” choice among the lot but only if you can afford it. There’s no restriction on property ownership for private homes. For first-timers we suggest you opt for a new HDB flat because it’s more affordable.
2. Grants and loans
In addition to many housing grants, if you’re planning to upgrade to an EC, you don’t need to pay Additional Buyer's Stamp Duty (ABSD). You must meet the Mortgage Servicing Ratio (MSR) for HDB loans. Since the interest rates are low, now is a good time to take a bank loan.
If your monthly income is between $7,000 to $21,000, you can purchase a HDB flat, but with an income below $16,000, you can buy an EC. Conversely, if you are buying a Housing Board Build-To-Order (BTO) flat, you can apply for the Enhanced CPF Housing Grant.
There are no housing grants for private housing, but you are eligible to apply for bank loans—granted that you meet the Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR). Note that ECs are privatised after 10 years.
3. Freehold or leasehold
Most would argue that freehold is more desirable as compared to leasehold. Nevertheless, leasehold properties are priced lower than freehold ones. So, it depends entirely on the buyer’s budget.
Both HDB and EC are leasehold of up to 99 years, whereas private properties are either 99-year, 999-year or freehold. Private properties are a good choice if you’re thinking of living there long-term and it is also good for your legacy planning. HDBs and ECs have a Minimum Occupancy Period (MOP) of 5 years. Meaning you need to live in that property and you’re not allowed to rent it.
In contrast, private property has no MOP, and you can buy it solely for investment. You can still choose to sell your property, however, you need to pay the Seller Stamp Duty (SSD) if you sell your home within 4 years.
4. Consider your priorities
Now that you know your eligibility for each type of property, you need to ask yourself why you are purchasing this property in the first place. This can help determine what can you do with the property in the future and of course, budget allocation. You don’t want to invest on something blindly.
You can purchase a property based on reasons such as retirement, rent it out as a passive income or simply upgrade/downgrade your property. Or maybe you want to own multiple properties through decoupling. This is where a partner’s share is transferred to the other person, enabling the other half to buy another home without paying the ABSD, as that purchase is seen as their first.
5. Capital appreciation
The reason why one invests on a property varies. But there is one thing in common, everyone hopes to increase their returns. So, this begs the question: Which type of property gives the best returns?
After privatisation, ECs have potential capital appreciation and foreigners are also eligible to purchase them. But not all ECs are the same as capital appreciation can differ because it depends on the location, supply and price.
For private properties, though priced higher, they don’t have a decaying lease. Therefore, ensures a stable market value, making it a great choice for long-term investment. BTOs and ECs have high rental yield. As for private properties, the rental yield depends on the location.
In sum, if you want a successful investment, you must plan your cash flow to ensure that it is an investment and not a liability.
Given the current market condition there are many reasons to buy a new house now. But before taking the plunge, evaluate your options according to your needs and financial resources to ensure you purchase the right property for you. Feel free to reach out to Property Giant Singapore if you need any assistance, and our agents would be more than happy to help!
The above article is written with reference from SPS2020 webinars, organized by PropNex in collaboration with Mediacorp and 99co.