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S$ 300,000 Profit! When should you sell your BTO?

There’s a reason why many Singaporeans equate balloting for Build-To-Order (BTO) flats to a lucky draw. It’s not just because there’s always almost an oversubscription of hopeful buyers to obtain their first or second HDB flat; rather, it’s because up until now, BTO flats have almost always been sold at a profit. This lies largely with just how subsidized the flats are in the first place – the government sells them way below market price.

Up until this point, this is all common knowledge; what we want to analyze is, when is the best time to sell your BTO flat to maximize its profits? We’ll explore this article in 3 parts:

1. BTO resale transaction over a 5 year period

Firstly, we’ll talk about the hard data regarding the average psf of BTO flats, and analyze, based on the trends of 8 BTO estates, when exactly BTO flats can be sold at its peak price.

2. BTO Hard Profit

Secondly, we’ll talk about when you should sell your BTO flat based on how you paid for your BTO flat in the first place.

3. The reasons why you may not want to sell your BTO flat, even for a large profit?

Thirdly, we’ll conclude by giving our opinions on why you may not want to sell your BTO flat, even if you can sell it at a profit.


1. BTO resale transaction over a 5 year period

Many Singaporeans tend to sell their BTO flats immediately after the 5-year Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) is reached. Let’s take a look at the following table that includes the sale transactions of 8 BTO flats to see if this decision is the correct one to maximize the sale profits of BTO flats.

Highlighted in red are the peak BTO sale transaction prices within 5 years after its MOP period. As we can see from the table, 6 out of 8 BTO estates saw the prices of their units peak either on the year of MOP, or within 1 year of that, with only Sri Geylang Serai and Treelodge@Punggol continuing to appreciate over the 5 years. We should note that for Treelodge@Punggol, its average psf increased only by $10 5 years after its MOP period; as for Sri Geylang Serai, its location is pretty much unmatched, and is definitely an outlier in the charts due to its location.

Sri Geylang Serai Source: Archnet

We can see that in most cases, maximum profit can be made when the BTO flat is sold early, right after it MOP. In any case, let’s zoom in on an actual example, highlighting the clear profits and how the exact calculations go down.


 2. BTO Hard Profit

Let’s assume you and your spouse or fiancée are fresh graduates who have been offered starting pay, and you work for about two to three years before deciding to apply for a BTO flat together. On average, your individual salaries would be between 3.5 to 4 thousand dollars each.

Enhanced Housing Grant(EHG) Source:HDB

In this case, couples would be eligible for a HDB Enhanced Housing Grant (EHG) worth 15 thousand dollars, that counts as Central Provision Fund (CPF) savings in their Ordinary Account (OA) when used to buy their BTO.

Based OnAmount in CPF account when purchasing BTO Flat
Average monthly income of household$ 62,100*
Money earned from EHG Grant$ 15,000
Grand total$ 77,100
*CPF was calculated as follows: savings from OA are 23% of wages; assuming both individuals earn 3.75 thousand dollars a month, the combined total moved into their OA per month is 1.725 thousand dollars per month. This amount is multiplied by 36 months, as we assume that the couple buys their HDB flat 3 years after they begin working.

With that out of the way, let’s calculate what happens after five years, when the couple is ready to sell their BTO flat. Assuming they use a HDB loan, and using Coralinus as an example.

HDB Housing Loan
Down payment made with CPF$ 19,162
Down payment made with cashNIL
Total amount to be paid off after 25 years$234,715
Hard profit earned after reselling flat right after MOP$ 303,245
Amount to be placed back into CPF OA account,
including accrued interest
$ 21,680
Final Profit Remaining$ 46,850

The final hard profit that a couple selling their BTO flat would earn in this case, is $46,850. Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to earn such a sum of money, in just a span of 5 years? The thing is, things aren’t always as simple as that. As such,


3.  The reasons why you may not want to sell your BTO flat, even for a large profit?

To answer this question, end goal plays a huge part. We’ll split this segment into three parts.

A. Large Condominium

Firstly, let’s say that your end goal is to upgrade to a large condominium that your entire family can live in. A property like that with a good location doesn’t come cheap – 10 or 20 years later, it’s probably only going to be more expensive.

The calculations come in if you choose to sell your property now for its maximum profit, and relocate to a resale HDB flat or a smaller condominium using that profit. Even if your BTO flat can generate profit, it doesn’t mean that your next property will. With how the resale HDB market has been looking lately. You may either just breakeven, or sell at a price lower than what you bought it for in the future.

In this case, it may benefit you to be a little more prudent and continue holding on to your BTO flat until you’re ready to upgrade to a condominium. Because like we’ve said before, it’s almost impossible for BTO flats not to be sold at a profit. In any case, maximizing your profits doesn’t just mean selling your property at the highest price possible. It can also mean maximizing the use of your profits.


B. Large Resale HDB Flat

Secondly, your end goal may actually be to live in a large resale HDB flat in a prime location, because of how affordable it is for its size and location, as compared to condominiums.

In this case, you may as well sell your BTO flat and immediately upgrade to the resale HDB flat you are eyeing, putting the entirety of your profits into your next resale HDB flat.

C. M.O.P Period

Lastly, your end goal might actually change after you’ve moved in to your BTO flat. 5 years waiting for it to MOP is a long time. In those 5 years, you may have started a family, made friends, or maybe your elderly parents have joined you to live in that particular estate.

Moreover, you have to factor in the fact that you have to spend about 4-6 years waiting for your BTO flat to even be ready. After waiting for such a long time for your flat, it is inevitable that you might feel some hesitation towards selling your flat after a measly five years. There have been some people that were content enough with their lives in their BTO flat that, even though they could have sold it at a profit, have chosen not to. In simple terms, money isn’t everything.


Conclusion

The question of when you should sell your BTO flat isn’t as simple as it seems. Sure, the simple answer is right after it MOP, but there’s a lot more financial calculations, future goals, and personal priorities that come with it.

At Home Quarters, we take all these factors into account before we advise you on how to sell your property, or what property we believe you should buy. We’d be happy to provide you with various analyses, advice, and any sort of assistance you may require, whether you’re a buyer or a seller. Leave your contact details and any queries down below, and we’ll contact you ASAP.


Contact Us

If you have any opinions regarding this article, you can let us know through commenting on our YouTube that we did on this article, sending us a quick email, or hitting us up on our Facebook and Instagram pages to shoot us a quick direct message.

If you have questions or if you are thinking about properly showcasing your house for sale, whatsapp message or call KC from Home Quarters and begin finding your new home today: +65 8809 2889!

That’s all for this article! Stay safe, and remember, call Home Quarters and start packing!

Trying forever to BTO with your partner? Seal the deal with Resale Flats!

You have found someone to BTO with, but found it difficult to secure your dream home? You are definitely not alone. You may start to think about choosing a resale flat instead.

Common unspoken dilemmas: BTO applications sometimes take way too long.


In some situations, applying for BTO with your partner may not be the most efficient.

After all, in order to successfully BTO, the entire process takes time, a lot of research and one element that is out of your control: luck. BTO refers to the built-to-order flats which the government launches every few months for Singaporeans to purchase. There is also a list of eligibility criteria to fulfill in order to buy BTO flats. But it is often preferred because it is relatively cheaper, and buyers believe they make a good investment option.

Trying forever to BTO with your partner? Seal the deal with Resale Flats!_Home Quarters SG_KC Ng Keng Chong

However, BTO flats are often oversubscribed, especially the ones located in popular estates such as Kallang, Bidadari and Clementi. There are many cases in which couples make more than 3 BTO attempts and still are not able to obtain a BTO unit. On top of this difficulty, couples would also need to wait about 3-4 years before they can move in because the BTO flats need time to complete construction and renovation.

We have met many of our friends and clients who are in this unfavourable situation. Due to their personal timelines and reasons, they may not be able to wait or attempt for BTO flats repeatedly. Staying with their parents or in-laws could be an option, but not always. If that is the case, we would recommend that you start your first home with a resale flat. What are the pros and cons of getting a resale flat? Let’s break it down for you:


Choosing Your Preferred Location – something you would do even when you are choosing your BTO with your partner.

The number one advantage of getting a resale flat is to pick your preferred location. Getting a unit in a convenient location would help you cut down on hours on your daily commute to work or to town. It is also a timeless advantage when it comes to selling your unit in future.

After narrowing down the estates that you and your partner like, you can start looking for specific units for house-viewing. For couples who want to stay close to their parents, you do not have to wait for a BTO launch to occur in your neighbourhood. Furthermore, the government is no longer rolling out BTO launches in mature estates.

Buying a resale flat will give you greater control over which unit you would stay in eventually.

Check out the transportation network, the traffic noise in an existing thriving neighbourhood.


Greater Control Over Your Preferred Unit

Resale flats provide you an accurate sensing of what living in the unit would actually be like. You could visit the place and do a complete house viewing, know the neighbours, take note of traffic noise, transportation options, and surrounding facilities. There is also 100% certainty in the layout and space allocation for renovation and living space.

As compared, for BTO flats, you will neither know who your neighbours will be, nor will you know the final look of your flat. These are key considerations of living in a home which you will rely on your luck for. Facilities and traffic conditions may change over the course of the construction of the BTO flats as well, during which you would not be able to predict completely.

For resale flats, quick transactions can allow you to move in within 2 months but for BTO flats, you would have to wait for about 3 – 4 years. If you prefer to have control over your home purchase, resale flats would be a better choice for you.


Flat Features & Flat Size

Resale flats tend to be bigger than the newer BTO flats when we are doing a point-to-point comparison. 

For example, a 18-years old 5-room resale flat in Blk 596D Ang Mo Kio St 52 S(564596) of 110sqf, as compared to a 41-years old 5-room BTO flat in Blk 430 Ang Mo Kio Ave 3 S(560430) just a street away that is 119 sqf. Size is a necessary concern for couples who intend to raise children in a spacious environment. In addition, if they have parents, domestic helpers, or pets that may share the space with them, this would be an important point of consideration.

New residents of BTO flats may realize key differences between their family home and BTO flats. Namely, certain features such as balconies and in-house rubbish chutes are no longer made available. These are still present in some older resale flats, and if these are critical to you, resale flats could offer this benefit.


Costs and Grants

HDB Resale Grant Source: 99.co

There are many grants afforded to first-time buyers of BTO flats or resale flats.


CPF Housing Grants

Upon successful flat booking, CPF Housing Grants are fully credited into the applicant’s CPF Ordinary Account. This would offset the purchase price of the flat, thus, lowering the home loan amount required. The key grant that you can look at is the Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (EHG). These are the requirements:

Income Ceiling: Your average gross monthly household income for the 12 months before your flat application must not exceed $9,000.

Previous Housing Subsidies: You and all other co-applicants and essential occupiers are all first-timers

Employment: You and/ or your spouse/ fiancé(e) must: have worked continuously for 12 months prior, to the flat application, and would still be working at the time you submitted the flat application.

Remaining lease of flat: 20 years or more Flat must have sufficient lease to cover the youngest buyer and spouse/ fiancé(e) to the age of 95 to qualify for the full EHG. Otherwise, the EHG will be pro-rated.

Other property ownership: You and the other flat applicants must not own any of the following properties whether locally or overseas, or have disposed of any such properties in the 30 months before your new flat application: Private residential property (including privatised HUDC flats and ECs), House, Building, or Land

Grant amount: $5,000 – 80,000, depending on household income. (See here for more information)


For resale flats, there are two other grants available: Family Grant and Proximity Housing Grant.

Family Grant
Depending if you and your spouse are Singaporean citizens (or not), are buying a 2-room,

For 3-room, 4-room or 5-room apartment, you could receive between $30,000 – $50,000 of the Family Grant. (See here for more information)

Proximity Housing Grant
For those who are living with, or close to their parents or parents-in-law (within 4km), you could receive between $10,000 – $30,000 of Proximity Housing Grant. (See here for more information)

Whether you choose to BTO or to buy a resale unit depends on your lifestyle preferences and circumstances.

Future Property Plans

Just like buyers of BTO flats, buyers of resale flat have to fulfill a minimum occupancy period (MOP) requirement of 5 years. If you do intend to buy a BTO flat in future, in order to be considered a “first-time buyer”, do take note of the requirements as follow:

  • Not the owner of a flat bought from HDB, or an EC/ DBSS flat bought from a developer
  • Not sold a flat bought from HDB, or an EC/ DBSS flat bought from a developer
  • Not received any CPF Housing Grant for the purchase of an HDB resale flat
  • Not taken any form of housing subsidy

As such, you may need to consider not to apply for the CPF Housing Grant when you buy your resale flat in order to increase your chances of applying for a BTO flat in future. 


Conclusion

We understand that there are a lot of concerns that you may have especially if you did not manage to get your BTO flat of your choice time and again. It may seem like the traditional route to apply for a BTO flat before you can start your family.

However, you may be surprised to know that many other Singaporeans willingly choose to buy resale flats because they want to choose a unit with great location and features, not because they are pressured to choose resale flats as a ‘worse alternative’! 

You may be looking at resale condominiums instead of resale HDB flats, for that, read our previous post that compares between new launch or resale condominium flats.


Contact Us

At Home Quarters, we have helped many friends to find their dream home by guiding them through the journey of finding their ideal unit. You may have many concerns – it is perfectly normal – just contact Home Quarters by going over to homequarters.com.sg or send us an email at homequarterssg@gmail.com or direct message us on Facebook or Instagram. Let us know and we can start right away to address your needs.

That’s it for this article! Stay safe everybody, and remember, call Home Quarters and start packing!