Adulting may be difficult at times but the fun part is – you start to own your own assets, including property! When should you start looking into buying your first property? Perhaps it’s for your own living, or for investments? With some proper planning, you will be able to use your property investments to your advantage and earn from it.
Eligibility to buying your first property
Let’s start off with eligibility. One of your property choices is likely to be a HDB flat. One of the most important factors when considering a HDB flat is the eligibility criteria.
If you are part of a new Singapore Permanent Resident (SPR) household – with either partner under 3 years of being a SPR – and is keen to own a unit now, you will only be able to purchase a private property.
If you are a Singapore citizen and thinking of purchasing as a sole owner, meaning you are the only person that will be purchasing the unit and you are under the age of 35 years old, generally you will not be able to purchase a HDB flat too.
Exceptions may occur if you are a single, unwed parent. In that situation, HDB will assess on a case to case basis if you are able to purchase a resale flat. In addition, the National Development Minister, Lawrence Wong, announced on 4 March 2020 that single unwed parents aged 21 and above will be allowed to buy new three-room flats in non-mature estates, on top of the existing two-room flexi flats in non-mature estates and resale flats.
So for single individual buyers under the age of 35, your only choice is the private property market.
Objective of the your property purchase
What is the main objective of buying your first property? This is an important point to consider when purchasing a property. Is the unit that you are currently purchasing for your own stay or for investment? There are often polar opposites consideration depending on your objective.
What is your expectations of the market price increase of the unit that you are looking at within the holding period? How much cash and CPF savings are you willing to pay for the capital and rental upside while you hold it? Will you be willing to hold past the expected holding period if the price have not gone up to your expectations?
For HDB flats, it is built with the intention for buyers to stay in it, thus, once you have purchased the unit, there is a Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) of 5 years. Even if the price hit a high, you will not be able to sell it within that period.
For private property, there is no minimum occupation period. However, there is a seller stamp duty period and right now in early 2020, it is a 3 years period – stepping down from 12% to 8% to 4% for every year held.
So, it is important to know how long will you wish to hold onto this property as well. Do you hate moving and intend to build a family at this place? Or is this is a temporary housing solution and you will be looking to purchase a bigger unit in the near future if you plan for your family to become bigger with children.
Next up, we can take a look at lifestyle needs. Perhaps you enjoy hosting friends and family over the weekends. You may prefer to have access to condominium facilities such as the pool, gym, BBQ pits and function room then.
You might also have a strict exercise regime, thus needing the pool and gym in close proximity. That will help reduce the travel time to and from your place to your workout location. Or you may want your children to learn how to swim in the comfort and safety of your own condominium pool with a private swim coach teaching them. If the above is important to you, then owning a private condominium might be a better option for you.
What is your next property decision?
Lastly, consider your future property decisions. If you choose to own a private property first, and wish to purchase a HDB build to order (BTO) flat thereafter, you have to wait 30 months after the completion of the sale before you are eligible to apply for a new HDB flat. If you are lucky enough to get a unit on the first try, you might only be able to collect the key to your new HDB home about 4 years later. During the interim period, you have to find alternative housing.
For resale HDB flats, you can go ahead even before selling the private property you own, but you will not get to enjoy the first timer CPF housing grant or take up a HDB loan within that 30 months period either. Also, you will have to sell off the private property within 6 months of owning the resale HDB unit.
For Singaporeans looking to own a HDB flat in your property portfolio, you have to start from a HDB flat first and after satisfying the MOP period, you can then proceed to own multiple other private residential properties. For SPR households, you have to sell off the HDB flat if you desire to own a private residential property after.
At Home Quarters, we strongly suggest that you to seek the advice of a professional real estate salesperson to walk you through all these thought provoking questions before you jump head-first into choosing which to buy. Just like how a good doctor conduct fact finding thoroughly for their patients, a good real estate salesperson also do the same before recommending and shortlisting a specific type of property for you.
If you would like to schedule a virtual viewing when buying your first property, that is also possible – you can read all about what you need to look out for during a property virtual viewing here.
That’s it for this article! Stay safe everybody, and remember, call Home Quarters and start packing!