Properties in Singapore are expensive, with landed properties ranging from S$1M up to S$5M. Fortunately, Housing and Development Board (HDB) offers an affordable starter for one’s accommodation needs through resale flats. With the ready-to-move-in convenience, resale flats are an ideal investment, whether for personal use or rental income.
However, HDB resale prices this 2022 have climbed up by 12.5% compared to last year’s data. Experts say that it will continue to increase by up to 3% to 7% for the whole of 2022. Property analysts attribute this increase to buyers’ growing demand and limited supply.
So, what does this price increase mean for buyers? Read on as this post explains further this increase, its implications to buyers, and everything in between.
What is an HDB Resale Flat?
HDB resale flats are pre-owned flats up for sale and have been lived in for at least the minimum occupancy period (MOP) of five years. It comes with a 99-year lease, which means that the older the flat, the fewer the years left on the lease and the higher the depreciation value.
Unlike Build To Order (BTO) flats, an HDB flat requires no balloting. Moreover, Singapore citizens and permanent residents can purchase an HDB flat as long as HDB eligibility requirements are met.
Why are HDB Resale Prices Increasing?
Despite the government’s effort to cool the property market, the price of HDB resale flats continues to go up. This rise could be attributed to the growing demand and the long waiting time on BTO flats. Other than these, more factors contribute to this increase.
1. Growing demand for HDB resale flats supply
More buyers have considered HDB resale flats an excellent home starter option making its supply limited and the prices increase. The demand includes many young adults and couples who want to live independently.
This demand is likely to remain for the following reasons
- The HDB resale market also represents the bulk of Singapore’s residential property market.
- A large volume of newer HDB flats reached their minimum occupation period (MOP).
- HDB flats are more affordable than private housing.
Compared to a condominium, another standard home option in Singapore, HDB flats are cheaper. They are also an ideal option for upgraders looking for larger flats. HDB resale flats make it a good value for their money.
2. Long completion time on BTO flats
When you buy an HDB resale flat, you can collect the keys to it as soon as the sale is completed. Thus, they are favored by buyers, especially those who want to move in immediately, like newly-married couples or foreign professionals.
With a BTO, it may take three to five years before one can move in. Thus, the long completion time and some construction delays may have driven buyers to go for HDB resale flats.
3. Ease in Covid19 restrictions
The ease of restriction for Covid19 measures allowed Singapore’s economy to re-open. With this, businesses have also started to pick up and further boosted the need for housing.
4. Most HDB flats are located in mature estates
HDB resale flats are easy to find anywhere in Singapore than BTOs. While the price hike affects both mature and non-mature estates, those located in mature estates are more expensive. They will also have a higher resale price since these flats offer more accessibility as they are located near the city centre, MRT stations, shopping malls, or schools.
The general inflation has also caused HDB resale flat prices to increase and be at their record high. This inflation drives up living costs and pushes buyers to choose cheaper, larger units like HDB resale flats.
6. Being an ideal investment and retirement plan
HDB flats, especially newer ones, could be a good asset as you can rent them out longer. You can also save for retirement from this rental Income.
What Does it Mean for The Buyers?
Having one’s own space has become ever more critical, especially in these uncertain times. As work-from-home has became the norm, while home-schooling are for learners.
But with the increase in HDB resale price, some may feel like they are being priced out. Moreover, while these HDB flats are not new, they can be priced at over S$1M for certain factors. To avoid being ripped off, examine the potential flat you are considering.
Still, even with this increase, buyers can go on purchasing, depending on their urgent housing needs and financial readiness. After all, with the right resources, you just may find an HDB gem just around the corner.
Also, take a look at our complete guide to HDB grant for first timer applicants.
What to Consider in Getting an HDB Resale Flat?
Purchasing an HDB flat is a significant financial commitment, and buyers have a lot to consider. So, before signing a contract with a seller of a property agent, here are some crucial factors to consider
The selling costs vary from seller to seller, and negotiations are commonly expected. Generally, a resale flat is more expensive because home properties appreciate over time. So, before you make that decision, you should get your budget, money and savings ready.
Here’s our research on the costs usually comprise
|Deposit||Up to S$5,000 (paid in 2 stages and can be negotiated with the seller)|
|Balance||The difference between the resale price and the market valuation|
|Resale Application Fee||
S$40 for a 1-2 room flat
S$80 for 3-room and bigger flats
Buyer’s Stamp Duty (BSD)
Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD)
|Processing Fee for Request for Value||S$120|
|Fire Insurance||Depends on insurance provider|
Depends on the price of flat and loan type. Check here for computation.
|Home Protection Screen (HPS)||Calculate using the CPF HPS Premium Calculator|
The location does not only involve the distance to MRT stations and the mall but also the direction of the sun towards the flat. It would be helpful to bring a compass or use a compass search app on a viewing trip. Ensure that the unit is not facing the West to avoid the brunt of the sun when it sets.
A flat’s location is also crucial in determining everyday conditions. While one located near the MRT station and the central area could be great, some may prefer one that comes with a quieter environment. So, this factor greatly depends on one’s personal preference.
3. Flat size
Aside from the number of bedrooms, you should also consider the HDB unit’s size, which is measured in square feet or square meters. This is a crucial factor for couples who just got married and those expecting to build a family soon. It is also significant to those who plan to rent it out.
You may find a limited number of 4-room flats measuring around 103 to 105 sq. m. in size while the majority measure around 83 to 95 sq. m.
Evaluate the amenities around the flat such as malls, restaurants, or recreational facilities. Better accessibility to amenities and transport nodes may add better value to your lifestyle needs.
5. Living Condition
If you are not looking forward to having a total renovation, check that every area in the house is in an ideal condition. Make sure that
- The bathroom has no leaks.
- The ceilings and walls of the toilet should have no watermarks as these could be a sign of leaks.
- There are no cracks on the walls.
- Built-in features have no moisture and are working well.
- There are sufficient electrical points to use.
6. Years left on the lease
HDB resale flats only have a 99-year lease, and the property value depreciates as they age. So, you should check the remaining years that the flat would be useful to you as these flats become harder to sell as the years go by.
Moreover, you can only finance through CPF if:
- The flat has more than 30 years left on its lease.
- The buyer’s age plus the remaining lease years on the flat is at least 80 years.
Is it Worth Buying an Old HDB Resale That’s Cheaper?
HDB flats are the ideal solution for growing families. It is also suitable for workers who may need more space now that work-from-home arrangements have become a norm. If you’re looking to buy cheaper, yet older flats with a remaining lease of less than 50 years, there will be disadvantages such as:
- Not being able to take full advantage of your CPF.
- Restrictions on Loan to Value (LTV) limits if you plan to borrow from a private bank.
- Reduced or pro-rated housing grants.
- Finding it difficult to sell your HDB flat in the future.
- Not being able to participate in HDB Lease Buyback Scheme.
Buying older flats could also affect your plans in the future, such that it could limit your retirement options. However, if you plan to have it until the end or have no plans of passing it on to the next generation, then there will be little concern about it and its future resale value. Read out more on how to buy a house in Singapore.
Latest News on HDB Pricing Trends
For those buying an HDB resale flat this year, you should essentially know how much you should be paying. You can do this by checking out the pricing trends across different areas in Singapore.
The median price for a 4-room HDB flat is S$435,500. In Ang Mong Kio, those built in the 80s are still averaging at S$395,000 while those built from 2000 onwards average at S$635,000. While those located in less centrally located districts like Bukit Batok average S$340,000 to S$395,000, respectively.
In the first quarter of 2022, 82 HDB resale flats were sold for at least S$1M. Some of these HDB flats were located at Bishan, Toah Payoh, and Kallang. Moreover, there were record-high sales of S$261M on HDB transactions in the past year. The most expensive is the S$1.36M 5-room HDB flat in Natura Loft in Bishan.
How to Buy HDB Resale Flats?
The process of buying an HDB resale flat can be reasonably simple. You can accomplish most of the admin works through the HDB resale portal.
Here are the quick steps
1. Register your intent to buy.
2. Get an Option to Purchase (OTP) from the seller.
3. Choose how to finance your flat. It can be either through an HDB loan, bank loan, or bridging loan.
4. Request value of flat from HDB.
5. Submit resale application and other supporting documents.
6. Endorse resale documents and pay fees online.
7. Receive approval of the application.
8. Attend resale completion appointment.
Still, you need to qualify for the eligibility criteria before purchasing. You can always consult a proper agent to help you with these transactions if you are qualified.
Take a look at our guide to best HDB renovation loan in Singapore.
The pandemic has brought in tough years, and you should exercise wise judgment for any financial commitment to avoid costly mistakes. Yet, there is no need to be overwhelmed by the hype on the property-buying process. Speak to a trusted agent if you need help. We hope that this article helps you make a more informed choice.
- Choosing an excellent location will allow you to cut on costs without having to compromise convenience.
- An HDB that is located in a more mature estate outranks the rest for its connectivity, dining options, and amenities.
- Always check the property for crucial things like damages and safety concerns to avoid future problems.
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