$2.5M-$3M Budget but Can't Find Your Dream Condo? It's Not Your Fault, Here's Why.

A $2.5M budget, yet nothing to buy? 

Sounds far-fetched? 

According to a 2022 survey by PropertyGuru, the average time it takes for a buyer to find a home in Singapore is 6.5 months. 

This is up from 5.5 months in 2021

The competition for is fiercer than ever — In the first quarter of 2023, there were an average of 10 buyers for every home that was listed for sale.

This is especially the case if you’re looking at properties above $2M…

Where you’ll be competing with foreign investors looking to park their money in SG real estate. 

This is a very real problem.

Let me introduce you to a family that went through that exact scenario and would have likely incurred an extra $66K/year of rental costs just trying to search for their new home. 

We’ll run through the problems they were facing, and the frameworks they used to ultimately decide on their new home after 6 gruelling months of searching. 

Meet the Tan family.

the Tan Family

With 2 young kids (6 and 7 years old respectively), they just sold off their Lavendar resale HDB and were looking for a home nearer to their kids’ schools.

They initially set aside a $2.8M budget, thinking that this price range would give them more than enough options to choose from.

But they were in for a shock.

When they inputted their criteria into the PropertyGuru search filter, what came next gave them a huge surprise:

5 Search Results to make a $2.8M purchase from

They barely had 5 units to choose from… in the whole of Singapore.

When inspected further, it turned out that NONE of those units actually met all the criterias they wanted.

Meaning — they had essentially 0 suitable search results on PropertyGuru.

There simply wasn’t any developments in Singapore that matched their ideal dream home.

The criterias they had (which you might have too)

  • CCR D9, D10, D11 — Near their kids’ schools (St Margeret Primary and ACS Junior)
  • >1100 sqft with 3 Bedrooms — a large space for their kids
  • Walking distance to MRT and malls
  • Up to $2.8M budget
  • Built after 2012 — on the newer side with a healthy lease
  • Decently sized development with over 200 units

Since there wasn’t enough supply of developments that matched all these…

We did what we had to, and ended up narrowing it down to the closest options.

We can categorize their possible options into:
NEW LAUNCH VS RESALE

1. First Category: Resale Condos

Location wise, Mount Sophia area (Dhoby Ghaut) had a huge stretch of resale condos that was ideal in terms of being right in between both their kids’ schools.

Price was around $2.8M-3M for a resale 3-Bedder there, which was reasonably priced and still within their budget.

Location, price, and nearby amenities was good… so this should be a great choice for them right?

Not exactly.

If we’re looking to use property as a way to accumulate or grow our wealth…

It’s crucial that our property, in the very least, is forecasted to NOT lose money.

Here’s what I mean:

Condos in the Mount Sophia area saw relatively stagnant pricing for the past 10 years.

With the exception of the small surge in demand during COVID, prices would basically be more or less a straight line with no upward trajectory.

Condos in the Mount Sophia area mostly looked like this

So this leads us to a logical assumption:

If prices remained stagnant for the past 10 years...

what are the chances that it will continue to remain stagnant for the next 10 years?

It’s impossible to have a 100% accurate prediction, but I would say the chances is higher than usual.

A trend is called a trend because it has higher probability of continuing the same pattern.

Meaning, when they buy at $3M now, they have a higher-than-usual-probability of selling it for $3M 10 years later.

Looks like a breakeven, right?

Wrong.

We still haven’t factored in all the stamp duty fees, legal fees, renovation costs, mortgage interest paid, and inflation.

Renovation costs is already ~$80K for the condos of that age.

Meaning they could possibly have a nett loss of around $200K-$400K even though they “broke even” on paper.

This is the unfortunate drawback of Resale condos, especially when our quantum is high

If we were going for a $1.3M resale condo, the real estate fees might still be more acceptable as things like stamp duty are a % of the sale price.

But when we’re dealing with a condo above $2.5M… even a tiny % can mean multiple 6-figures when added up.

Interestingly enough, many families/couples I’ve consulted are already aware of this.

They know that resale condos don’t fare very well in the capital appreciation aspect.

That resale properties in today’s market have a good chance of NOT making money.

It’s just whether they want to bite the bullet and accept it or not.

This was especially the case for Mount Sophia condos stagnating in price despite its prime location, as proven by the historic data.

Important: Nothing wrong with resale condos

Before we go into the New Launch category, resale condos are still a solid choice if you can find a development that matches your family’s criteria.

Plus, there’s ways to make sure your resale condo path is more “financially safe”.

Here’s what I advised the Tan family:

If they want to go with the resale condo route, it’s better to go for the cheaper units at the $2.5M range, instead of the $2.8-3M units they were considering.

Why?

If you know that your property is not likely to appreciate much, then why park more cash there then?

If investment returns is something you prioritize — then there’s no point parking an extra $500K in a property that won’t grow it by much.

It would be more logical to get a cheaper condo and invest the difference in another asset class (stocks, bonds, whatever your preference is).

Plus your real estate fees (stamp duty, agent, etc) will also be lower at the end of the day, which is more savings for you.

2. Second Category: New Launch Condos

Besides viewing resale condos, the Tan family also viewed a lot of condo new launches, but they were still not confident that they found one to call home.

Initially they had another agent bring them around new launches that were close enough to their criteria…

But they were torn between 2 choices:

Blossom by the Park and The Reef at King’s Dock.

They preferred The Reef, with it’s $2.8M price tag being reasonable for the 3-Bedders there.

But I could tell they were still hesitating, which prompted me to find out why.

“Since you already have an agent and seen so many options on the market, what concerns are in your mind right now?”

Timing.

“Is now the right timing to enter the property market? Should we wait for prices to drop?”

What they were really trying to say was…

“can we save potentially 6-figures if we waited for prices to drop?”

This is a very common sentiment among buyers today, which is not surprising considering the high prices.

The hard truth is that there is no perfect time in the property market.

The best timing to enter the market was yesterday as property prices in Singapore’s situation will only keep going up. 

There is no right timing.

I put money where my mouth is -- I myself am invested in 3 properties the moment my financial situation allowed me to safely do it.

The inevitable fact about timing is that when we sell high, we naturally buy high as well. 

So it all boils down to what you’re looking to achieve out of your property purchase, and not whether the timing is perfect or not.

Keep in mind, there are people who always said they wished they entered the property market 10 years ago… and this will probably be the same 10 years later!

Another huge concern they had:

“Buy New Launch = need to rent in the meantime”

They were concerned over needing to rent at $5.5K/month for 3 years while the condo is being built.

This adds up to close to $200K over 3 years, which is a significant sum.

Of course, this scared them and made them rethink this route.

I’ll come back to this shortly, because they had a surprising epiphany later on which removed this concern for them.

How they finally reached their decision

The truth about today’s property market is that there isn’t enough variety of choices to cater to every family’s specific list of criteria.

If the PropertyGuru search results show “0 listings match your criteria”… this will likely be the same 6-9 months later as well.

The only way is to see what criterias you’re willing to forgo — age, tenure, probability of capital gains, waiting time to move in, etc.

But I realised asking “what are you willing to forgo?” doesn’t give you the clearest picture on what you prioritize most.

Instead, I found that one simple question helped families gain crystal clear clarity on their non-negotiables…

“What are you NOT willing to forgo?...

What’s the #1 Priority that you MUST see in your property...

otherwise it will leave a sore regretful feeling in the future?”

This question hit them hard, and they just looked at each other with a puzzled face.

This is the what they told me the next day:

“We don’t want to lose money”.

“We want to protect our investment and make sure we don’t end up with a negative sale when we exit”.

The context here is that they sold off their existing Lavendar Resale HDB at the same price they bought at 5 years ago…

Which meant it was a NEGATIVE SALE that lost them money.

This is because their HDB saw no capital gains, while they still had to fork out a tidy 5-figure sum of real estate fees (agent, legal, seller stamp duties, etc).

Meaning they saw a nett loss at the end of the day.

Due to this, they were confident that their priority was “NOT losing money”

You might be thinking… 

“Why isn’t their priority to MAKE money instead of not losing money?”

The harsh reality is that property prices today is NOT a question of how much money you can make.

Despite what the developers tell you about how their development is “undervalued” or “primed for growth due to development of surrounding areas”…

The probability of making money in today’s market is just much lower than what it was 5-10 years ago.

Prices are just less likely go go through huge appreciations again like the previous cycles.

Just think about it — would it be likely that the price of a 3-Bedder condo keeps jumping by $300K in price every 3 years again and again?

Probably not, because the current prices are already making it unaffordable for people who could originally qualify 5 years ago.

Yes, prices will likely continue to go up, but probably NOT at the huge spikes we saw in the past. 

Plus even if you do enjoy capital gains, we still need to minus off all the incurred fees in the process…

Which is why the Tan family understood a realistic goal was to NOT lose money.

Keep in mind, I’m saying this as someone with a 100% "Condo Profiting" success rate

100% of my past clients have made money with my condo recommendations.

Some even saw $300K of capital gains within just 2 years. 

$329K Capital Gains in 2 Years
$358K Capital Gains in 2 Years
$308K Capital Gains in 3 Years

Most saw between $200K-$400K of capital gains within 5 years — be it for resale or new launch.

This is because I use meticulous investment frameworks to determine a development’s potential for capital appreciation before I ever recommend anything to my clients.

But even with this track record…

My professional analysis is that it’s harder to recreate these kinds of massive successes in the current property market.

Yes it’s still possible to enjoy capital gains with your property, just don’t expect it to be a $500K gain within 3 years. 

That’s why it’s important to be PRUDENT in our risk-analysis process

This is just my own personal preference of keeping my investments safe:

I always try to be prudent by not assuming high returns.

I prefer to understate, rather than overstate and be disappointed.

Especially in today’s property market, it’s more a question of how we can AVOID losing money.

Because let’s say the Tan family goes for the Resale 3-Bedders at Mt Sophia:

In the event that price continues stagnating for the next decade (as it did for the previous years), they will end up with a negative sale and LOSE money due to the real estate fees incurred.

Imagine paying hundreds of thousands of mortgage interest… only to end up losing money?

That’s why it’s a question of “would I rather lose money… or NOT make money?”

By “not making money” — this means to enjoy enough capital gains on your new property to at least recoup all your real estate fees and walk out with a net equal. 

Back to the Tan Family… they shifted their priority to “80% Investment and 20% Ownstay”

Previously they prioritized ownstay over investment — “20% Investment and 80% Ownstay”.

Now, their priority flipped to 80% Investment.

Just to be clear, a lower % priority on ownstay doesn’t mean that we choose a property that isn’t comfortable.

It just means that a development’s growth potential is one of the big factors we pay attention to, while ensuring the property still suits the needs of the family.

Being clear on their priority to NOT lose money made the condo selection process MUCH more clear cut.

They previously only wanted properties in the Core Central Region (CCR), but were now open to consider the Rest-of-Central region (RCR) because of that clarity.

With this new information…

I quickly narrowed the list down to the top development that matched their new criteria.

The Final Winner: Reserve Residences

The Reserve Residences. Source: The Business Times

They were looking for a family-friendly development that offered a balance of modern amenities and capital growth potential. 

Keeping this in mind, I suggested Reserve Residences from my meticulous analysis process, a property I knew was perfectly aligned with their needs.

Reserve Residences is a family-centric development with spacious units and an abundance of green spaces. The development also features a plethora of amenities, including a state-of-the-art gym, children’s play area, and a serene pool.

This is a Integrated Development located at a 5-minute walk from Beauty World MRT.

Source: EdgeProp

Most importantly, it’s located within proximity to renowned schools, making it suitable for the Tan family who wanted it to be convenient for their kids in ACS Junior and St Margeret Primary.

But, the cherry on top was the development’s growth potential.

Based on my analysis, the area where Reserve Residences is located is poised for growth, making it a great investment opportunity.

The area showed high potential for growth due to upcoming transformations...

which meant the demand in the area would be likely to rise.

The photo below below shows the current supply and demand of private properties in that area.

Besides supply below long with moderate demand…

The demand is forecasted to increase due to future transformations in the area, making this development’s profit potential noteworthy.

Or at least, It’s forecasted for them to enjoy enough capital gains to not lose money by the time they exit.

Meaning their estimated capital gains should be enough to cover their 3 years of renting right now, plus all the real estate fees incurred during this process.

This eliminated their initial concern about “throwing away $200K to rent”.

Plus, this development’s convenience was a huge plus point for them.

The close proximity to the MRT coupled with the fact that its an Integrated Development (shops and amenities below the condo), makes it quite comfortable for the family.

As a result, the Tan family could secure a home that not only met their lifestyle needs but also served as a smart investment. 

This is the power of a comprehensive and expert analysis.

Disclaimer: I’m not recommending you to buy Reserve Residences off the bat, please do your own research.

This is how the Tan Family could finally make their decision confidently

The Tan Family securing their unit!

After months of tedious searching and visiting dozens of showrooms/resale units, they could finally confidently call Reserve Residences their new home.

They locked in a 4-Bedder unit (1416 sqft) at $3.4M with a PSF of ~$2,400.

This lifted a huge weight off their shoulders.

They finally managed to overcome their 6-month struggle of “have budget but nothing to buy”.

A word of warning... condos could be unprofitable due to this TRAP

Most Singaporeans think that location is what matters the most when buying a profitable condo.

That the condo must be “walkable to MRT”…

Or must be “situated in an area with upcoming developments”…

Or that should be in a “prime location”.

But what if I told you that location ISN’T the most important factor in determining the profit potential of a condo?

Now, location is definitely important…

But it won’t matter much if the condo developers are taking advantage of you with this dirty trick.

Let me explain.

If you’ve seen the pricing of new condos these days…

Then you probably noticed that some condos are significantly pricier than others.

Now, it’s not surprising if your Orchard condo is significantly more expensive than your average condo.

But it becomes a problem…

When you’re paying a huge premium compared to the condo down the street.

This is called “Future Value Pricing”,

Where buyers will be paying high prices for the POTENTIAL of the area.

(like new MRTs and shopping malls being built nearby in the future).

“But since the area will develop, my condo will appreciate in value right?

Not exactly — if you buy in at a “future price”.

Because it means you’re letting the developer profit from your condo’s capital appreciation — instead of YOU…

As you actually paid for the “future capital appreciation” when you bought in at the premium pricing.

This is a trap I’ve seen many condo buyers fall into.

(Without them even knowing it!)

A trap that could cost people to buy the WRONG new home, with disappointing capital appreciation.

To save you the trouble of researching, I’ve compiled a list of of the 5 clear signs to tell if a condo is profitable or not:

5 Clear Signs to Buy a Condo with Multiple 6-Figure Profit Potential.

I’ll reveal data-backed analysis and case studies with easily implementable techniques you can use.

So that you know which condos to avoid (even if the public thinks they’re amazing)…

And which are the underestimated condos with secretly high capital appreciation potential.

These insights stem from the expertise and knowledge of over 133+ condo specialists, and dozens of real life incidents I’ve personally witnessed myself.

And the reason I’m sharing my research for free is simple.

There is so much misinformation and misleading claims flooding the internet right now.

I don’t want you to be deceived into making a multiple 7-figure condo purchase that you would regret later on.

That’s why the least I can do is to educate the public, one family at a time.

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.

If you’re just looking for comfort in a home without expectations on the capital gains aspect, then a spacious resale condo could be for you.

But if you’re certain capital gains is one of your top priorities when choosing your new condo, then perhaps you could look into new launches.

If there’s a chance that you’re considering the condo route, then you should read my free report on the 5 Clear Signs to Buy a Condo with Multiple 6-Figure Profit Potential.

This is where I pull back the curtains on the key profitability factors that MUST be present in a development.

I’ll also share stories of similar families in your position, and what they did to hugely profit from their condos.

Click the button below to download an exclusive copy now.