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How to choose your perfect fit cheap condominiums?

Condominiums are usually seen as expensive and luxurious private properties that Singaporeans continuously aspire towards. The thing is, though, not all condominiums have to be expensive – in our YouTube video. We covered three affordable condominiums that all cost less than or around half a million dollars.

However, the key question is: are they really worth buying? The scope is a little wide with this question, so we’ve narrowed it down to the following:

Based on the following age groups, 20-35 years old, 35-55 years old, and 55 years old and above. Are cheap condominiums truly worth its value?


Before we begin the article, you might ask, why those three age groups specifically? That’s because we understand that individuals of different ages have different priorities.


A. Age 20-35 years old

More specifically, younger couples and individuals in the 20-35 years old age group are most likely to be looking to buy their first property, and are looking at condominiums either because they have failed to obtain a BTO flat, or because they are not willing to buy a resale HDB flat.

Most people in this age group are likely to be unable to afford more expensive condominiums. Though, due to the fact that their incomes are likely to be entry-level pay.

B. Age 35-55 years old

Meanwhile, middle-aged folks in the 35-55 years old age group might be looking to upgrade their current property to a newer, bigger one, perhaps with more amenities.

C. Age 55 years old and above

Lastly, those in the silver generation that are 55 years old and above could be looking to downgrade into a cozy retirement property after their children have moved out of their previous house.

With that being said, let’s dive into the three factors that we believe best answer the question. Should you buy a cheap condominium?


1. Size

The first factor we’ll be addressing, of course, is size.

A. Age 20-35 years old

First, let’s take a look at this factor from the perspective of younger couples and young graduates that may plan on having children in the future. Most cheap condominiums are on the smaller side, and thus may not be suitable for their future needs and plans.

Most 4-room HDB flats are about 95 sqm in size, compared to most cheap condominiums that are 45 sqm in size. The size of the condominiums may thus not be ideal in the future.

On the flip side, couples that have no intention of having children. Or perhaps singles in this age group that can afford such a price point, may find that cheap condominiums are ideal for their living situation.

Condominiums are able to offer great amenities and possibly more privacy than HDB flats, and have the potential to be a great investment property for first-time homeowners. If we disregard the smaller size of most cheaper condominiums.

Moreover, singles could also choose to buy such a unit, and continue staying at their family home while renting out this property for the first few years, before moving back in once the mortgage has been covered by rental income.

B. Age 35-55 years old

Secondly, for middle-aged folks, regarding size, there are two key problems that we should consider.

The first one, like above, is if there is enough space for children to live in. Those in this age group may typically already have children. They have to keep in mind that moving into a condominium may not necessarily always be an upgrade.

If size is the key factor that holds the most sway in their decision-making process. There are resale HDB flats out there that are actually bigger than condominiums, that may be cheaper in price as well.

The second problem would be the fact that as the parents of those in this age group grow older, they may need more care. If the situation arises where one’s elderly parents may need to move into the same home so that they can be taken care of more easily, the unit may then again be too small.

In both these cases, we see the importance of having a larger house when taking into consideration one’s future plans and outlook. For those in this age group, cheaper condominiums may not be the right fit, considering the factor of size.

C. Age 55 years old and above

Thirdly, for those older than 55 years old, the size of cheaper condominiums may just be the perfect fit for their needs. A home for elderly people that is smaller may actually be better, for a multitude of reasons. One reason would be that the elderly do not usually require much living space.

And another more practical reason would be that a smaller unit means less surface area to clean, which is something that may be a key consideration for the elderly.


2. Accessibility

The next factor we’ll discuss is location of the condominium, and its accessibility

Most cheap condominiums are located in the Outside Central Region (OCR) districts, and also in non-mature estates. Do check out our previous video about Singapore Region.

Singapore Region Map Photo:Property Guru

This means that the area around such condominiums are likely to be less developed, and may not have many shopping malls or schools in its vicinity.

For this factor, we’ll group the first and second age groups together, to address the main problem: proximity to schools.

I. Schools

The location of the condominium plays a huge role in determining where children end up schooling. For those in the first age group, who may or may not have children in the future, they should keep this in mind if they have a specific school that they want their children to attend in the future.

Gan Eng Seng Primary School Photo: CIAP Architects

This applies for those in the second group as well. Upgrading to a cheaper condominium comes with its benefits. But this may mean that children would have to transfer schools, or their next level of education will be spent in a school in an unfamiliar neighborhood.

Moreover, for working adults who do not own a car, this accessibility might be a key factor to consider when deciding to buy a cheaper condominium, especially those with children.

II. Transportation Costs

What many forget to account for is transportation costs, which may actually offset the money saved from buying a cheaper condominium. Taking public transportation across long distances or hailing taxis to work five days a week eats into your accounts more than you think.

For the last age group, the location and accessibility of the property may not actually be a huge problem. Why do we say this?

Well, if you’re looking for a private property as your retirement home, chances are you’re already retired. This means that there’s not much of a reason for the elderly to leave their homes, other than maybe to take a walk around the neighborhood, or to venture out to the nearest wet market to pick up groceries for the week.

While the nearest shopping malls or markets may not be in close proximity to the condominium. One trip to the grocery store a week isn’t really much of an inconvenience.

This is even more so if you own a car. Perhaps one thing to consider is if there are hawker centres or coffee shops nearby. Because not every elderly is able or willing to cook every day.

All in all, we think that this factor may hinder the first two age groups the most, but doesn’t really apply to the last age group. 


3. Alternatives

Lastly, the last factor we definitely have to consider is alternatives

A. Age 20-35 years old

For the younger folks, a perfectly acceptable alternative would be a BTO flat, or perhaps a resale HDB flat.

There are definitely a lot of downsides and unpredictable factors when we talk about owning a cheaper condominium. In the first place, BTO flats are likely to be both more affordable and larger than even the most affordable condominium unit.

Even if you’ve been unsuccessful in obtaining a BTO flat for awhile, we’d still recommend a resale HDB flat instead of a cheaper condominium. In fact, just as we’ve covered in this article, we actually believe that resale HDB flats can be a better option as compared to a BTO flat.


B. Age 35-55 years old

For those in the 35-55 years old age range, your top priority right now may be simply to upgrade to a nicer property. However, we should keep in mind that condominiums have lost the prestige that used to be attached to it, as owning a condominium has become more and more common.

Large 4 Room HDB Flat

Now, a true ‘upgrade’ would come in the form of practicality. A larger HDB flat in a mature estate would be a good example. Just as we’ve covered in our article, we believe that it is possible for a larger resale HDB flat to be a better long-term investment than a cheaper condominium.


C. Age 55 years old and above

For those in the silver generation, deciding what property is going to be your retirement home is a decision that should not be taken lightly.

As we’ve covered in this article about where you should stay for your retirement home! There are a multitude of options available for you to choose from: it simply depends on what your priorities are.

For example, if you’re fine with a property that’s less luxurious and prioritise living in a house close to your children and grandchildren, a 2-room flexi resale HDB flat may be the way to go. 


Contact Us

Do share your opinions on this article with us by dropping us an email ! Contacting us through our Facebook and Instagram pages. What age group do you fall under? Do you think you will still want to buy a cheaper condominium after reading this article? 

If you’re still unsure of what property best suits your needs, no matter your age group. Do feel free whatsapp message or call KC at +65 8809 2889! At Home Quarters, we take all your priorities and circumstances 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.

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

Oh No, No More Visitor Parking In All New Condominiums in Singapore!

What?! No more visitor parking in all the new condominiums in Singapore! Did I hear that right? In this article, we will discuss the new ruling announced by Land Transport Authority (LTA) that will phase out visitor parking lot moving forward called Range-based Parking Provision Standards (RPPS). What is the impact of this new ruling on car park spaces in new launches in Singapore? What is the impact then of this new ruling on older condominiums in Singapore?


Range-based Parking Provision Standards (RPPS)

Before we dive deep into the impacts, we first have to know what is in LTA’s new Range-based Parking Provision Standards (RPPS). The revised parking standards will replace the existing Car Parking Standards and Range-based Car Parking Standards from 1 February 2019.

In line with Singapore’s move towards a car-lite society, this gives developers greater flexibility to manage parking spaces according to the needs of the development. This is especially in regions that are very well connected to the current public transport system. As such, more space will be freed up for greenery and communal use.

The new standards will specify the range of car parking provisions such as parking spaces for cars, motorcycles, bicycles. On top of that, specific lots such as coach buses for hotels and loading/unloading bays for commercial development that private developments are allowed to provide will vary according to location zones and land uses.

Minimum Parking Provision

Previously, there is a minimum parking provision, and developers have to request for LTA’s approval to reduce the parking provision of up to 20% below the minimum standard for some developments. Now, RPPS provide the developers’ flexibility to determine the desired level of parking provision within the range without the need to seek LTA’s approval. However, if the developers wish to build less than or more than the specified range of car parking provision then the application will still have to be evaluated by LTA on a case by case basis.

Developers might face penalties of $16,000 charge for each car parking space (or $5,500 for each motorcycle parking space) if they go either above or below the range they are allowed. This is interesting as LTA move towards capping of the parking spaces instead of stipulating a minimum number of parking provisions. This move is seen as a greater emphasis on reducing the number of cars on the roads and also encouraging people to commute via public transport. It also specifies mandatory bicycle parking requirements.


The impact on new condominiums affected by this new RPPS

Under the RPPS, the lower and upper bound for car park space in residential developments is split according to Zone 1. Zone 1 is defined as central business district and Marina Bay, except for car-lite precinct.

Source: The Jovell Residences

Zone 1: 50-80% of the total dwelling units
Outside of Zone 1: 80-100% of the total dwelling units

Usually, buyers of private condominiums expect to have at least 1 car park space in the condominium for their own use. Thus, there will not be additional car park spaces for visitors even for condominium outside of Zone 1, much lest the buyers that purchase a unit within Zone 1.


Does it really impact the actual owner profile that are currently staying in Zone 1?

Based on experience, the condominiums in Zone 1 usually exercise a paid parking system to reduce the number of parking spaces to residents that need it, and thus willing to pay for it.

That is even for condominiums that have a 1-1 ratio of car park lots to units. Being located so near to the city centre, many owners and tenants does not need a car too. The excess provides for bigger unit owners that could have a need for 1 or 2 cars lots, which is paid to the management agent. That is then added into the maintenance fund and sinking fund.

This is not the first time that the issue of car park space is in the spotlight. From 2005, developers of new condominiums that is build within 400m of a train station is allowed to reduce the car park space to only 80% of the number of units in the condominium. When Home Quarters visited a few of these developments, we found that the car park lot space is not fully taken up as well.

Oh No, No More Visitor Parking In All New Condominiums in Singapore!_Home Quarters SG_KC Ng Keng Chong

This might be due to these condominium being heavily tenanted. Majority of the tenants and even residents who chose a living location nearer to train station do not own a car. This transition will takes time to be generally accepted and people will adapt to the fewer parking spaces in new condominiums moving forward.


What about the older condominiums?

Not only will the new ruling affect new condominiums, we think that it will definitely affect older condominiums built before the new parking standards. If buyers are looking for condominium that will allow them to park 2 or even 3 cars in the condominium itself without paying for the additional car park lot, they could consider buying older condominiums such as Mandarin Gardens that have about 1500 parking spaces for its 1000 residential units.

Source: Mandarin Gardens

There are definitely enough lots for guests and visitors to park during festive seasons such as Chinese New Year, Hari Raya and Christmas! This will become a selling point for older properties with ample parking spaces. Another type of property that might attract more attention will be the strata property with their own lots. Usually they come with 2 parking spaces and are right outside the door of the unit.

This will save the owners the hassle of walking a long distance from the lot where they park or competing with the neighbours for parking space. Regarding the 2nd car parking lot charge, if buyers buy a condominium without being made aware of the 2nd car park charge, they can end up having unwanted tension between themselves and the management council. As reflected by the incident in 2010, the police had to be called in twice to intervene on matter relating to additional car parking lots.


Conclusion

There will most likely be more new rules or by-laws set up by each individual management committee of the condominium to have a mutually agreed upon way to resolve the parking situation.

Oh No, No More Visitor Parking In All New Condominiums in Singapore!_Home Quarters SG_KC Ng Keng Chong

There will also be teething issues such as those seen in the viral video in October 2019 where a resident at Eight Riversuites condominium hurled vulgarities at the security officer over a condominium rule that requires guests to pay $10 for parking after 11pm.

At Home Quarters, we think it will take time for Singapore to fully embrace being a car lite city, to take public transportation or to make cycling a mainstream transport option. To integrate it as part of the culture and way of life of all the residents living in the city state will take some time.

Now that you know about Range-based Parking Provision Standards, what will be the impact on car park spaces in new launches in Singapore and also what might be the impact of this new ruling on older condominiums in Singapore. Do you support the push by the government towards a car-lite nation and is parking spaces important in your decision to purchase your next dream home?


Contact Us

If you have questions or if you are thinking about properly showcasing your house for sale, contact Home Quarters by going over to homequarters.com.sg, send us an email at homequarterssg@gmail.com or direct message us on Facebook or Instagram! If you would like to schedule a virtual viewing, that is also possible – you can read all about what you need to look out for during a property virtual viewing here before COVID-19 end.

Reach out to us any way you like and we love to help you out and answer any questions you have to sell your house so that you can move on to the next big thing in life.

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