Singapore is the country where land is considered as precious as gold. There are few who can afford landed residential properties while majority of the population still relies on public housing units offered by HDB. Yet for young professionals, working citizens and those can afford more than HDBs but find landed properties too expensive, buying a condominium is indeed a practical option.
However, buying a condominium in Singapore isn’t always all about the location and grandiosity of the building. There are certain factors to consider buying condo in Singapore, that is, if you want to make one your biggest financial investments worth it. Discover these factors on this Singapore condo buying guide.
10 Essential Factors to Consider Buying Condo in Singapore
1. Real Estate Market Timing
Before even searching online for available condominiums and new launches, it is wise to check the current situation of the real estate market first. Yes, there’s a proper time to acquire a property. Try buying a flat when the market is at its peak and you will be surprised to discover that you are actually paying more than what it’s worth. As a general rule, the right time to buy a condo in Singapore is when the volume of transactions goes up while the price remains constant. Likewise, be wary about HDB releasing tons of DBSS and ECs because normally this is a sign that the upmarket is greatly in demand thus prices will go up in no time.
2. Surrounding Property Value
Assessing property value is also one of the most important factors to consider buying condo in Singapore. There are many ways on how to assess the current value of a property. You can always ask IRAS about the property valuation of the flat but there’s a more reliable and easier method than this. Check the estimated property value of your surrounding units, including nearby condominiums and adjacent apartments. Of course there would always be variables such as developer, facilities, land area, etc. so always keep this in mind these things when comparing prices.
3. URA Master Plan
A condo located right next to an MRT station is approximately 5 times more expensive than those erected within tolerable radius. Got a waterpark and express highways nearby? That will add up to the overall price of the unit. Remember that buying a condo in a mature estate versus a young estate will significantly differ in terms of prices. That is why checking the URA master plan of the area is a good way to gauge the potentials of the community. Moreover, the URA master plan reveals not just the proposed developments but the timeline as well.
4. Project Developer
Not every condominium is made the same. Depending on the quality of materials used, structural design and project developer, some are made to last a lifetime while others will show wear and tear within couple of years. If you want a quality condominium unit, choose a developer with proven track record. Additionally, real estate project developers who has been in the business for a long time and those with proven track record of success are known to deliver completion dates on time. Review their past projects to determine credibility.
5. Age of the Property
Continuing on this Singapore condo buying guide is a tip for those planning to own a resale flat unit. Brand new condo units are equipped with modern structures, latest furnishings, high-tech security and contemporary building design. But this doesn’t mean resale flat units are no good buy. Compare to brand new flats, resale condos usually have an established community and you can haggle a bigger unit for just about the same amount of money you will be paying for a new flat. Though, remember to check the age of the property as well as the remaining lease if applicable.
6. Freedom of Space
Unlike landed residential properties that are huge and spacious, condominiums are limited in terms of floor area. And this indeed is one of the many factors to consider buying condo in Singapore. If you want freedom of space, you can still enjoy it by carefully selecting the appropriate unit type. Remember that it is easier and definitely cost efficient to buy a 4BR condo unit than buying two separate 2BR suites. Furthermore, there are new developments that feature terrace-style balconies within the unit that you can use as an additional space to expand your floor area.
7. Heat and Noise Pollution
This is one of the most often neglected factors when buying a condo unit in Singapore, the heat and noise pollution that can could disappoint even the most tolerant buyer. Usually, agents will show you the unit at the most convenient time of the day. Early morning or late afternoon when the sun isn’t that hot and when your neighbors are out sleeping or in the office. To avoid awry neighbors, nice views turning into heating oven, trucks and buses causing unwanted noise; it is best to visit the condo at different times of the day. This is especially true for units directly facing the sun and those located within major highways.
8. Amenities and Facilities
Often used synonymously, amenities and facilities actually convey different meanings. Facilities are things that you and your guests can use such as swimming pools, saunas, gym, café, restaurant, etc. On the other hand, amenities are the things available within your unit such as air condition, cable, internet access, bath tub, patio, and the likes. Remember that not all condominium offers the same amenities as well as facilities. Although, bear in mind that the more services there are in a condo; the more expensive they can get. If you don’t need lavishing extras, ditching them can help you save some cost.
9. Building and Unit Maintenance
Association dues or more commonly known as maintenance fees is a mandatory payment made by unit owners to the administrators of the building. This fee is used to maintain not just the common facilities of the building but the individual units as well. Note that this is a compulsory payment that cannot be haggled, and it is made on top of your monthly home loan, if you have one. When buying condo in Singapore, always check the monthly maintenance fee because this is not standardized. Luxury condos are known to charge up to $1,000 a month but the usual rate range from $200-300.
10. Capital Appreciation
Finally on these condo buying tips, always consider the capital appreciation of the property. Keep in mind that for the condo to appreciate its price, there should be a sustainable demand and shortage of supply. This is where acquiring condo on younger estates seems to be more beneficial in terms of current pricing and capital appreciation. On young estates or non-central regions, there’s a shortage of new developments while the population grows at a fast pace. When the time comes that the young estate matures, the condominium you earlier procure will definitely increase in value.
There are many factors to consider buying condo in Singapore. From choosing the right timing to scrutinizing monthly maintenance fees, buying a condominium in Singapore isn’t all about price and location. Take into consideration the “other” factors that although not commonly discussed, bears a significant importance on your purchase. Be wise and always think smart, keep these condo buying tips in mind before signing the red dotted line.