Buying a HDB flat is usually the first, and possibly, biggest financial decision that most Singaporean couples have to make.
When it comes to buying a HDB flat, Singaporean couples have a couple of options. They can opt for a brand new flat through the HDB Build-To-Order (BTO) scheme, or get a resale flat from the open market.
We think getting a BTO flat makes sense for many young couples. Here are some advantages that we would like to highlight.
(1) Optimal Flat Layout
It is common to hear Singaporeans complain about how small flats are these days. And while there is no denying that sizes of flats have shrunk in recent years, we think the layout of today’s HDB flats are far superior than flats from earlier generations.
For example, a fair bit of the size reduction we see in today’s HDB flat is due to the smaller kitchen and absence of a balcony. Flats these days also have the living and dining area beside the kitchen, with a small walkway separating the bedrooms. In our opinion, the layout in today’s HDB flat is a lot more efficient.
(2) Longer Lease
BTO flats come with a fresh 99-year lease. In contrast, older flats built in the 80s may have less than 70 years remaining on its lease.
From an investment perspective, it is better to have a longer lease on your home. The reason is simple, if you buy a flat that currently only has 70 years remaining on the lease, this would be down to 50 years in 20 years time. And with a lease that is lesser than 50 years, you may start to see your flat value decrease rather quickly.
In contrast, a fresh 99-year lease means you not only retain the value of the home for many years to come, but will also be able to pass it down to your children.
(3) Cheaper Renovation Cost
Generally speaking, BTO flats cost less to renovate compared to their counterparts in the resale market. That is because there is less hacking required to be done for existing walls, tiles and built-in cabinets.
When renovating a flat, there are many cost items to take note of. Do not be fooled by the numerous articles trending on social media promising you your dream home for less than $30,000. These homes are likely to cost you much more than what you read about online.
In our “All You Need To Know About Buying Your First BTO in 90 Minutes Talk”, we will share some insights into how much you can realistically expect to pay for your home renovation inclusive of furnishing. We will share what are the hidden cost items to watch out for. So do sign up for the talk and join us.
(4) Lower Price
BTO flats are priced by HDB such that they are cheaper than older resale flats in a similar area. For example, in the recent February 2016 BTO launch, a 4-room flat at Sengkang would cost about $300,000. In the resale market, the medium price of a 4-room flat at Sengkang is currently $410,000.
Aside from having a much lower sales price, buyers also save more money in the future. This is because they will incur lower interest cost in the long run as their housing loan would be smaller. It also means they will have more money in the future that can be used for investments.
The difference in price can potentially add up to a lot in the long-term. We encourage you to look beyond just the selling price of the flat when buying your flat. We also are covering this in our BTO talk in the hopes that choosing the right flat would potentially save you thousands of dollars of your retirement funds in the long run.
(5) Enjoy Government Grants
In the past couple of years, the government has introduced and enhanced a host of grants that first-time homebuyer can tap on. There is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t take full advantage of them.
Additional CPF Housing Grant (AHG)
The AHG of up to $40,000 is meant to help lower and middle-income families earning up to $5,000 per month buy their first subsidised home. The AHG is granted according to your income, and can be used by families to offset the cost of purchasing their first home, new or resale.
Special CPF Housing Grant (SHG)
The enhanced SHG of up to $40,000 aims to further help lower- to middle-income first-time homebuyers earning up to $8,500 purchase a new flat from HDB (up to 4-room) in the non-mature estates.
A couple that earns a combined monthly income of $4,000, and intending to purchase a 4-room flat in a non-mature estate will qualify for a total grant of $55,000, ($15,000 AHG and $40,000 Special CPF Housing Grant). That means if the cost of a 4-room flat is $300,000, the couple will only need to pay $245,000, or a discount of almost 20%.
Join Us At Our BTO Talk
In conclusion, we believe buying a BTO flat in Singapore does bring with it many advantages to homeowners, with the most important being the fact that you actually have a place you can call home.
That being said, buying a BTO flat isn’t like going into the supermarket and simply picking up what you like. There are many aspects to the purchase of the flat such as affordability, your future plans, interest rates, selection of optional component scheme and other regulations that you need to be aware of.
We know this could be somewhat complicating. That is why we are organising our very first DollarsAndSense.sg talk. In this talk, we will focus specifically on everything you need to know to buy your first BTO flat. We hope to share our insights with you so that you can make a good, educated decision towards buying your first BTO flat.
We encourage you to come with your partner since buying a BTO flat is a joint decision.
Details Of Talk
To find out more and to register for the talk, click on this link. http://peatix.com/event/165709
We will see you there!
If you are thinking of buying your first BTO flat in the near future, DollarsAndSense.sg is organising an “All You Need To Know About Buying Your First BTO Flat In 90 Minutes” talk. It is going to be extremely relevant for couples who are thinking of getting a BTO flat during the upcoming HDB launches this year. We have limited slots, so register quickly if you think this event suits you.