Cash Over Valuation (COV) is a rising trend. In Feb 2021, ChannelNews Asia reported more buyers willing to pay COV for HDB resale flats in Singapore. To better plan your finances, here's how to estimate COV and HDB valuation.
It’s official: resale HDB flats are back on the menu.
Plagued by construction delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as private property owners moving out into larger resale HDB flats, demand for resale HDB flats has been on the rise since the circuit breaker period.
The pent-up demand for resale flats has also seen cash over valuation (COV) back in the spotlight as more COV transactions have taken place. In fact, some buyers have been paying a COV between $10,000 and $50,000, although it has also been reported that some have paid between $100,000 and $200,000 for choice flats.
Whether you’re a buyer looking to buy a resale flat, or a seller looking to sell, here are five traits that would make a resale flat more attractive (or potentially increase its value):
1. Bigger HDB Resale Flats
Although larger HDB flats have always been popular, the work-from-home culture brought by the COVID-19 pandemic has seen demand for bigger homes, including bigger HDB flats, increase even further as buyers prioritise space and privacy.
In fact, according to this CNA article, the average quarterly increase before the pandemic and from Q3 2020 to Q1 2020 for 4-room and 5-room resale flats was 34%, compared to 18% for 3-room flats in the same period. The average quarterly increase for 5-room flats and executive flats, meanwhile was even higher at 40%.
In general, 4-room and 5-room flats built in the 1990s are the biggest in terms of size, and these flats are attractive to bigger families, so expect it to be of higher value.
Not only are they spacious, but each of these flat types also has its own unique design characteristic.
For instance, executive maisonettes are two-storey HDB flats that are mostly found in mature estates such as Ang Mo Kio, Bishan, and Queenstown.
The first level consists of the living room, kitchen and dining area; whilst the bedrooms are located on the second level, providing its occupants some privacy. Last built in 1995, these flats are about 1,527 to 1,700 sq ft, but some are over 2,300 sq ft—making them ideal for large families.
Speaking of good locations, Singaporeans are also generally fond of resale HDB flats located in the central area and/or the city fringe.
Areas like Queenstown, Bukit Merah and Tanjong Pagar are close to the city and tend to have better amenities (e.g. schools, eateries, etc.) and public transport connectivity, which is why most of the million-dollar HDB flats had been transacted here.
In fact, according to this Straits Times article, more than 102 million-dollar HDB flats transactions have happened in the central area since 2012. Popular projects in the area include The Pinnacle @ Duxton, SkyVille @ Dawson, and SkyTerrace @ Dawson.
Based on HDB’s Q1 2021 data, the median resale price of 4-room resale flats in the central area is $910,000, the highest amongst 26 HDB estates. Needless to say, expect to pay a premium if you want to live here.
4. HDB Resale Flats Located in a Transformation District
Given the choice, most Singaporeans would prefer to live in a mature estate because generally, it has better access to amenities like MRT stations, schools, malls, eateries and so on.
However, flats located in mature estates also tend to be slightly more expensive. And despite the current bullish state of the HDB resale market, price affordability remains an important factor for many.
In 2020, seven of the 10 most popular HDB estates with the highest transactions consist of non-mature estates such as Sengkang, Punggol, Yishun and Woodlands. Of the top 10 most transacted HDB estates, six of those were transacted below the national average prices of $452,175.
Some of the key reasons behind the popularity of these estates include future growth and the transformation.
Infrastructure improvements and additions such as office spaces, amenities, residential homes, MRT stations and networks, and business districts will make the area more desirable and help to entice buyers.
For example, despite being considered as a non-mature estate, Woodlands is served by five MRT stations across two different MRT lines. Furthermore, URA’s Master Plan for the area will see the Woodlands Regional Centre becoming the largest regional hub in the north region, which will create more jobs and attract more Singaporeans to live there.
Although flats in Woodlands remain quite affordable, the average price growth of 5-room flats in the past quarter was one of the highest in a non-mature town, rising 16.7% higher compared to before pre-pandemic levels in 2019.
5. Longer Remaining Lease
Resale HDB flats in the market are sold after the 5-year Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) and therefore do not come with a fresh 99-year lease.
Therefore, HDB flats that have recently crossed its MOP are typically more attractive to buyers as there’s still a high number of years left on their 99-year leases. Not only that, but newers flats are potentially better condition with less wear and tear. As such, these flats also tend to fetch higher prices as buyers generally don’t have to worry about outliving the flat’s lease.
Notwithstanding rare HDB flat types or resale flats located in central areas, an ageing flat is likely to depreciate in value because of lease decay. And as the flat ages, the pool of potential buyers becomes smaller.
Unlike new HDB flats, buying a resale flat is more restrictive if you plan on using your CPF funds; if the flat’s remaining lease is not at least 20 years and is not enough to cover the youngest buyer until the age of 95 years, the amount of CPF funds that you can use to service the flat will be prorated.
Other FAQs About What Makes a Resale Flat More Attractive
What Should I Look Out For in a Resale Flat?
The flat’s remaining lease, location, condition of the flat, and size are some of the aspects you should look out for.
Why Are Resale Flats More Expensive Than BTO?
Whilst BTO flats are subsidised by the government, resale flats are sold by independent sellers in the secondary market. Some resale flats are also located close to important amenities, which drive up the prices.
Is It Worth Buying a Resale Flat?
Although older, resale flats are available in every estate in Singapore, and you can buy a resale flat that’s close to the type of amenity that you like, or to your family. In addition, there are fewer restrictions and more government grants available.
Find Resale HDB Flats for Sale on PropertyGuru, and Get Expert Help to Finance It on PropertyGuru Finance
Reduce your carbon footprint by taking public transport. In Singapore, there are 636,180 registered cars as of 2020, and globally, the transport industry is responsible for about 24% of total global emissions!
Before buying a condominium, you would probably consider factors such location, price, size, and capital returns; however, another key reason for buying a condominium is the added lifestyle benefits. In other words, the facilities that come ‘bundled’ along it.
Most condo developments have common facilities such as swimming pools, gyms and BBQ pits. However, if you’re someone who’s looking for a larger variety of facilities or even specific facilities based on your lifestyle, then a condo with full facilities would be on your radar.
But what exactly is a condo with full facilities?
What is Considered a Full Facilities Condo?
You may have heard of the term ‘condo with full facilities’ during showflat visits, or even seen it on developers’ marketing materials, but do you know what it means?
If you think it means that a condo has an Olympic-sized swimming pool or over 40 facilities, well, you’re close, but no cigar.
Interestingly, what makes a full facilities condo is... a tennis court.
“In agent practice, a full facilities condo is a condo that has a tennis court.” says Lester Chen, Senior Division Director, SRI.
Aside from having a tennis court, a condo should also have ‘regular’ condo facilities such as pools, gyms, playgrounds, and BBQ pits, according to Bren Soon, Division Director at Huttons Asia.
“As such, you could say that mega-scale condos are also considered as full facilities condos, since most big development condos nowadays come with these features,” Bren says.
Since fitting at least one tennis court requires a lot of space, a condo with full facilities is usually a big condo development such as Treasure at Tampines and Parc Clematis, considering that these large-scale projects typically have huge site areas.
What Are Some Examples of Mega Condo Developments?
What Should You Consider Before Buying A Mega Condo Development/Condo with Full Facilities?
1. Do the Facilities Matter to You?
As you might imagine, a condo with full facilities means that there are more and larger facilities available, some of which are more family-friendly or catered for different lifestyles. For example, City Square Residences has a bowling alley and karaoke room for its residents.
If these facilities matter to you and your family, or you plan to make use of the facilities as much as possible, then a mega condo project will suit you better.
Meanwhile, if you’re buying as an investor and plan to rent the unit out, a condo with full facilities would cater to a wider group of tenants; for example, active singles who frequent the gym or families who want children’s pools.
Abel Ang, Senior Marketing Director at ERA, meanwhile believes that it’s more important to leave a legacy for the future and for your children. “For example, whether the condo’s location and layout are suitable for the family. In my professional opinion, facilities do not have a major impact with regard to future resale pricing,” he says.
2. Is Maintenance Fee a Big Factor To You?
Besides servicing your monthly mortgage, you should also factor in the condo’s maintenance fee.
A condo’s maintenance fee depends on factors such as the size of the development, unit size, location, as well as the type and number of facilities available. Depending on these factors, the monthly maintenance fee can vary from a few hundred to four-digit figures.
Although you would typically pay a higher monthly maintenance fee if they’re more facilities within the condo, mega condo projects generally also have more owners sharing the maintenance costs. Therefore, the maintenance fee is actually lower compared to smaller or more ‘fancy’ condo projects.
“If you plan on selling your home in the future, the monthly maintenance fee is a selling point; a high maintenance fee might be a deterrent for some buyers,” Lester says.
3. Do You Mind Sharing The Facilities With More People?
With more people living together, the facilities will likely be occupied most of the time so don’t be surprised to see a crowded swimming pool or be put on a waiting list if you want to use the tennis court.
As Lester explains, “A condo with full facilities may have a larger variety of facilities, but it’s also a larger development with more units and more people living together. Therefore, the facilities are generally fully booked or more crowded.”
Agreeing, Bren also says that residents tend to face stiff competition when booking common facilities such as BBQ pits and function rooms, sharing that some residents stay up till late just to book facilities via the condo portal once they become available.
Verdict: Should You Buy a Condo with Full Facilities?
Facilities are part and parcel of a condo project and whether or not a condo with full facilities is suitable for you will depend on your lifestyle, and whether you appreciate having those facilities at your doorstep.
As Abel shares, “I have clients who are gym, tennis, and swimming instructors. As such, they preferred condos that have facilities that allowed them to facilitate the nature of their work.”
Whilst it’s convenient to live in a mega condo with a wide range of facilities and the maintenance fee is lower, remember that you’ll be sharing the facilities with thousands of others.
Aside from that, remember that property is a big-ticket item and you should also take the aspects such as location, unit size, and price into your decision.
More FAQs Related to Condo Facilities
1. Can Maids Use Condo Facilities?
While there are some condominiums in Singapore that have strict rules against domestic helpers from using the condo facilities, other condominiums do not have such restrictions. According to the BCA, “there are no prescribed by-laws that restrict or prohibit certain groups of people from using the common property”.
2. What is a Condo?
A condo is a private strata property whereby the owners jointly share ownership of the land. The owners also share common facilities such as swimming pools, gyms, BBQ pits, and gardens.
3. What Is the Average Condo Maintenance Fee?
The average condo maintenance fee is from $300 to $700 per month, depending on factors such as the number of units available in the development, total floor space, types of amenities available, etc.
The executive maisonette is a 2-storey HDB flat that measures 1,527 to 1,700 square feet. Since these were discontinued in 1995, you can only buy them resale. Here are 10 affordable maisonette units under $600,000.
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