Should families still buy a condo in today’s high property market?

Interest rates are easily 3-4% now.

Private property prices have continued rising for 28 consecutive months.

Source: The Straits Times

A resale 3-bedder condo in residential areas used to cost $1M. Now it’s easily $1.3M on average.

The private property market is at its all-time high now.

Yet Singaporeans still seem to be snapping up units left and right?

AMO residences sold 97% of units on launch day in July 2022.

Source: EdgeProp

Lentor Modern sold 84% of units on launch day as well.

Source: EdgeProp

So did Sky Eden, which sold 75% of units on launch day.

Source: The Straits Times

It’s clear that Singaporeans have an undying love for property.

But following the herd isn’t the best strategy — the worst thing we can do is jump into a 7-figure decision because “everyone else is doing it”.

In this short article, we’ll dissect if buying a condo in today’s market is really the right move for you.

The biggest roadblock to choosing the condo route

After speaking to over 80+ families in the past few months, finances was the biggest concern for 95% of them.

“Can we really afford a condo without having to sacrifice our lifestyle to meet the mortgage?”

“Does this mean we have to continuously work for the next 30 years just to pay off the mortgage?”

“What if something happens to us halfway while we’re servicing the mortgage?”

These concerns are more valid than ever in today’s market.

A resale 3-Bedder condo is easily $1.3M, while a 4-Bedder is around $1.5M. (Assuming residential areas like Choa Chu Kang or Punggol).

This is around $200K-$300K higher compared to pre-covid prices.

If you’re looking at more central locations, this can be bumped up to $1.6M+ and $2M+ for 3 and 4 bedders respectively.

And we still haven’t factored in a 3-4% interest rate.

Assuming a 3% interest on a $1.4M condo over 25 years, your mortgage would be $5K/month with $440K total interest paid.

Back when interest rates was at 2.5%, the total interest paid in this same scenario would be $363K.

This means you could be paying around $80K in extra interest compared if you bought pre-covid.

But why are people still buying condos despite these concerns?

Source: PropertyGuru

Even though condo prices are at all-time highs, there’s a good reason why people still flock to both new launch and resale condos.

It’s because private property prices are forecasted to keep going higher.

Data has shown us that the Singapore property market has been arguably one of the most resilient asset classes.

Each time the private property market saw a drop (due to factors like cooling measures, Covid, SARS, etc), it rebounded a few years later before breaking the previous high.

SG's Private Property Market Price Index

The Singapore government won’t be panicking about the private property market being on an uptrend.

(Their pledge to Singaporeans is to keep public housing affordable, not private.)

Plus, with foreign investors snapping up S$5M luxury condos in BULK, imagine the property tax revenues.

Source: CNA

Remember the September 2022 cooling measures? Foreigner stamp duties increased from 20% to 30%.

It’s clear that foreign investment is an excellent revenue stream for the government.

That’s why private property prices continually broke new highs at each turn, with the lows never going past the previous low.

The fact is that Singaporeans can afford today's high prices

Source: The Business Times

Assuming a family is cashing out their newly MOP-ed BTO, the cash proceeds + their existing CPF could be enough to cover the downpayment needed for a $1.3M condo

(Downpayment of 25% is about $325K).

Let’s assume the family loans the full 75% ($975,000) at a 3% interest rate over a 25 year tenure — this translates to a $4.6K monthly mortgage.

With a household income of $8K, this means their monthly CPF would be $2960.

They can use this CPF to service the monthly mortgage, which brings the total cash outlay to be $1,640/month for this family. 

Can this family afford to pay $1.6K in cash every month?

The bigger question for you is — can your family afford paying an extra $1.6K in cash each month?

If your answer is yes, then do you see why condos are still getting snapped up despite high interest rates and property prices?

What about high interest rates?

Source: Straits Times

Most people are concerned about high interest rates, and feel like they should wait for this period to tide over.

But they forget about how condos can quickly increase in value.

Let’s go through a hypothetical scenario together.

Let’s say we’re eyeing a $1.3M condo, but we would be paying an extra $100K in interest if we bought today compared to 3 years later.

So we decide to wait it out.

Sure enough, 3 years later, interest rates fell back down to ~2%.

But the catch is, that $1.3M condo has now become $1.5M.

This price jump is not rare, considering the people who bought in at $1.3M will try to aim for a profit.

This means we would have saved $100K in interest, but spent an extra $200K in the condo purchase price.

Meaning, we netted a $100K LOSS despite having a lower interest rate.

The most common reasons for going down the condo route

Remember your neighbours who sold their HDB flats and upgraded to a condo?

Chances are, they don’t plan on staying in that same condo forever.

They probably plan to cash out before they retire, and downgrade back to a HDB as their retirement home.

For couples in their 30s/40s buying a condo, they have a huge number of options.

Option 1:
> Sell off the condo for 6-figure profit after 5 years

> use the profits to upgrade to a 4/5 Bedder condo

> Cash out once they hit retirement, have a tidy $500K-$1M cash proceed remaining even after fully paying off a HDB flat

Option 2:
> Sell off the condo for 6-figure profit after 5 years

> fully pay off a HDB Executive Apartment/Maisonette/5-Room flat (probably their retirement home), and still have cash proceeds leftover.

Option 3:
> Sell off the condo for 6-figure profit after 5 years

> buy 1 HDB for ownstay, 1 condo to rent out for passive income

There are lots of possibilities based on the family’s situation, goals, and risk tolerance.

But the most common theme is families using their condo to build a retirement fund.

The DOWNSIDES of buying a condo

Sure, condos can be a highly profitable investment. 100% of my condo clients have made 6-figure profits in the past 3 years.

But condos come with their own set of drawbacks that you need to decide if it’s worth going down this path.

The most obvious drawback is the SIZE.

Its no secret that new condos are getting smaller and smaller every year.

People have even compared the state of today’s new condos to shoeboxes, and I wouldn’t disagree.

Source: Stacked Homes

If space is your family’s #1 non-negotiable priority, and a 4/5 Bedder condo is out of budget…

Then you might want to consider a HDB Executive Apartment.

The exception here is older condos, where their 3-Bedder sizes are possibly bigger than today’s 5-Room flat BTOs.

(But you need to be prepared for older condos to potentially drop in value).

Additionally, if you’re going for new launch condos (which generally has higher profit potential compared to resale)…

Then you’ll need to consider if the 4-6 years waiting time is acceptable to you or not.

Keep in mind, not every condo = confirm make money

Behind the news headlines of condos appreciating by $300K-$500K in the past 5 years, there are dozens of unprofitable condos that we don’t hear about.

Source: AsiaOne

It is entirely possible for you to lose money from your condo.

Even if the entire property market rises as a whole, it’s still possible for a specific development to NOT appreciate in value due to a variety of reasons.

Stiff competition from new condos nearby, lease, government policies, etc.

Like all asset classes, there’s no 100% guarantee guarantee for property as well.

Remember, we still have to factor in all the extra costs like stamp duties, agent fees, levy, etc — all of which eats away your profit.

Alternative to Condos

Throughout my years as a real estate consultant, “space” was and is a huge priority for many growing families.

That’s why upgrading from a 4/5 Room HDB flat to a 3-Bedder condo could feel like a downgrade for many families due to the smaller space in condos.

The remaining alternative would be:

  • HDB Executive Apartments
  • HDB Executive Maisonettes
  • HDB 5-Room flats

However, if you and your spouse is below 40 and do NOT intend to stay in this new property all the way until both of you pass on…

You might want to avoid HDB Executive Apartments and Maisonettes

Here’s why:

Let’s say you and your spouse (both 35 years old) choose to buy into an Executive Maisonette @ Bukit Batok for $900K.

This unit probably have 60 years of lease left.

The benefit is that your family now has tons of space! Your kids and maid all have their own rooms, which they grow up comfortably in for the next 20 years.

The problem comes after that.

The house would feel too big and empty after your kids move out, so you choose to sell and downgrade to a smaller flat.

But with 35 years of lease left, you’ll have a much harder time selling the flat.

(It’s still possible, but you’ll likely have to sell it for a LOT cheaper than the $900K you paid).

After all, would you pay $900K for a flat with only 35 years left?

You’ll realise that it’s not worth selling the flat anymore due to the low price.

Essentially, that property will be you and your spouse’s retirement home, with 0 capital gains from the property.

That’s why younger couples/families shouldn’t go for EA/EMs

Your wealth would be stuck in a property that you cannot liquidate.

However, if you’re okay with that EA/EM being your forever home…

…and you are perfectly okay with your property not preserving your wealth (it will be a depreciating asset), then you can ignore what I just said.

The other alternative would be newer 90+ years 5-room flats, where it’ll likely still hold its value when you want to sell 20 years later.

But it will probably not increase in value as much, because our government prioritizes keeping public housing affordable.

My perspective as a single mother of a young daughter

Me and my daughter!

As a single mother of a 7 year old daughter, I want something that I can pass on her in the future.

Like many families, I love a huge space as well. Hosting family and friends over at my place is something I enjoy a lot.

This is why I faced a huge dilemma — should I go for a spacious 5-Room/EA HDB flat, or go the condo route?

I pondered long and hard, but what finally gave me courage to make a decision was one question…

At the end of the day, what do I really want? Am I okay not having something that I can pass on to my daughter in the future? Or is space still my #1 priority?

That’s why I ended up choosing the private property route.

So that when I cash out in 5-10 years for a $200K-$300K profit, I have the option to downgrade to a HDB, fully pay it in cash, and have a multiple 6-figure sum saved for my retirement.

When I do pass on, the HDB flat would still has a decent lease left…

And can be sold at a good amount for my daughter’s savings.

But this is just my perspective as a parent.

At the end of the day, there is no “one-size-fits-all” property for every family.

It all boils down to what you prioritize the most.

Is a bigger space the #1 priority? Or are you okay with sacrificing a large space and go for a property that would increase in value instead? (for your retirement fund, children’s university tuition, etc).

There is no right or wrong here — it all depends on your desired end outcome and lifestyle.

If making a 6-figure profit to save for rainy days or your retirement is a priority for you, then you might want to look into the condo route.

90% of my clients chose the private property route, and are sitting on multiple 6-figure profits currently, regardless of whether they bought a resale or new launch.

But if ensuring your family has a huge space to comfortably grow up in is the priority, then perhaps a HDB EA/EM makes more sense.

Depending on your situation, you could have the best of both worlds -- profits & space

I had a client with a family of 7, who originally wanted to purchase a HDB EA for the size, but was also considering a condo as it was always his dream.

Mr Rani, 34 y/o civil servant

Normally, when the family has 5 children, it’s a no brainer that an EA/EM is the best choice.

But for this particular family, their kids were still very young at ages between 2-6.

Meaning, a 3-Bedder condo would still be comfortable enough for the next 5 years, as their toddlers would have no issues sharing rooms.

Mr and Mrs Rani understood that going for a resale condo now meant that they could sell it off after 3 years, and buy a huge HDB still with a sizable cash surplus for their retirement.

Fast forward 2 years later to today, their 3-Bedder unit at Blossom Residences have now appreciated by $250K, and they’re thinking of moving to an EA soon.

At the end of the day, they would have their huge HDB EA plus a $200K+ cash surplus saved for retirement.

This is how the Rani family strategically leveraged their situation to enjoy the best of both worlds. 

Conclusion

There is no one-size-fits-all “ideal” property — it all depends on your objective and family situation.

At the end of the day, what do you want the most out of your home?  

Once you get clear with your objective and needs first, then it will be easier to narrow down on the ideal property for your situation.

Just because many families choose the condo route for capital gains doesn’t mean you have to follow.

If you’re just looking for comfort in a home without expectations to profit from it, then a large HDB flat like an EA/EM is worth considering.

But if earning $100K-$300K in 5-10 years is important to you, then a condo is more suited for you to achieve that goal.

Remember — we don’t have to necessarily sacrifice one for the other.

We don’t have to sacrifice our family’s comfort just because we want to make good money by getting a condo.

There are many possibilities around your situation, just like how the Rani family maximized their situation to profit $200K and still get an EA for the space.

Choosing a spacious, older condo is an option too.

My point? Don’t rule out possibilities before exploring them.

If there’s a chance that you’re considering the condo route, then you should consider booking a time with me to go through your possible options together.

Apply for a FREE no-obligation consultation with me personally
(Worth $349)

For a limited time, I’ll be opening up my calendar to FOUR free consultations a week for families or couples looking for more clarity on what their suitable property options are.

These consultations are obligation-FREE, and we do not have to move forward together if we’re not a good fit — i.e. you can always go to  another agent afterwards, no hard feelings.

Here’s what we’ll go through together during the call:

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2023 Property Market Prediction, with “Insider Sneak Peek” of Today’s Property Prices

I’ll share with you my raw opinion on the current property market, and reveal to you my insider sources of today’s property prices (that I will get in trouble legally if I share publicly).

Customised Property Roadmap Journey

We'll design a custom tailored property roadmap for your unique situation -- that factors in your family's current and future needs, all while ensuring you're on track to growing your wealth.

Detailed Financial Assessment

We’ll go through your finances TOGETHER and gain clarity over the possible options you have. So you’ll have the assurance that your family will still be financially secure after buying your new home.

3 Steps Wealth Accumulation Method

The 3-step Framework that has helped all my clients make strategic and profitable decisions, without having to worry about overstretching finances or making short-sighted decisions.

3 Common Pitfalls Most Condo Buyers Make

What every condo buyer should look out for, that could cost them WASTED time and money.

Hi, I’m Jenn Ee

I specialise in helping families and couples to upgrade to a condo without the stress, risk, and hassle that this scary journey brings.

Having helped families from all walks of life to upgrade their property, be it single mothers, large families, young couples and families, and even retirees, I can understand their concerns and fears on a very deep level.

Many of my clients tend to have concerns such as…

Hi, I’m Jenn Ee

I specialise in helping families and couples to upgrade to a condo without the stress, risk, and hassle that this scary journey brings.

Having helped families from all walks of life to upgrade their property, be it families, young couples, single mothers, or retirees, I can understand their concerns and fears on a very deep level.

Many of my clients tend to have concerns such as…

As a single mother of a 7 y/o daughter,
I understand your concerns

“What if I’m in my client’s shoes? — a single mother with kids, feeling anxious about where we are going to stay next, whether my kids will be comfortable, and whether I would land in serious financial troubles?”

That’s something I think about all the time.

This is why I’m so passionate about real estate and helping families upgrade to their dream property safely.

Because I understand your pain on a personal level, and I will do my absolute best to ensure your property journey will be as smooth and stress-free as possible.

It’s a bit selfish of me, but I get a deep sense of satisfaction every time I see a client and their kids happily settled in their new home, as it feels like I just helped someone who was in my shoes before. 

This is also why…

I will never recommend properties without first UNDERSTANDING my clients’ unique situations and needs.

And the best way for me to do that?

Some of the results my clients have achieved

42 years old - Personal Chauffeur and Nurse

$358K capital gain in 2 years
Fahmi and Syaz

39 years old - Division manager

$329K capital gain in 2 years
Warren and Amy

40 years old - Doctor

$260K capital gain in 1 year
Rachel

46 years old - HR Manager

$308K capital gain in 3 years
Mr Teo

33 years old - Sales executive

$305K capital gain in 3 years
Mr Ang

37 years old - Account service manager

$348K capital gain in 3 years
Janice

34 years old - Civil Servant

$250K capital gain in 3 years
Rani

33 years old - Business owner and Logistics assistant

$210K capital gain in 4 years
Patrick and Jasmine

What my clients say about me

"she is one ethic property agent that is sincere to her client and give value added service"
"Knowledgeable and responsive... Great experience from start to ends"
"She was very detailed and patient in our property search journey"
"was indeed the person we were looking for"
"She is always ready to give her truthful opinion and bring out the best for her clients"
"Definitely highly recommend Jenn for her personalized service"
"Happy to get our unit at such a good price. Will definitely recommend her to my friends"
"We were very impressed with her efficiency and how smooth the whole process was made"
"Her assurance and trust has given me confident in making a decision at the shortest time without any regrets"

Here’s what to do next

STEP 1

Click the button below to apply for a free consultation, and select a time for our 1-1 call

Step 3

We’ll hop on a 1-hour call, designed for you to gain a brand new perspective on your upgrading journey

Step 2

Once you selected a time, you’ll be asked to fill up a short questionnaire for me to understand your situation better

Step 4

There is absolutely no obligation for us to move forward together, and all the free resources and information are yours to keep

Here’s what to do next

STEP 1

Click the button below to apply for a free consultation, and select a time for our 1-1 call

Step 2

Once you selected a time, you’ll be asked to fill up a short questionnaire for me to understand your situation better

Step 3

We’ll hop on a 45-minute call, designed for you to gain a brand new perspective on your upgrading journey

Step 4

There is absolutely no obligation for us to move forward together, and all the free resources and information are yours to keep