Singapore Property Update

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Should we buy a BTO or resale flat?

Hi Joe,

My fiancee and I are getting married next year and we are thinking of whether to get a BTO or resale flat to be near my parents. They live in Bishan and the flats there are very expensive. On the other hand, the BTO flats are located quite far away. What do you is a better choice?




Hi Teng,

There are no right or wrong answers in your question. It depends which matter more to you – lifestyle or potential for future appreciation.

As you are getting married next year, you may not have a place of your own to stay if you choose a BTO flat as you will usually need to wait three to four years for it to completed. In the meantime, you may have to rent a place to stay or to endure the scrutiny of living with your parents or in-laws if you choose to move in with them. The worst choice is to continue living apart after marriage till you collect keys to your new unit and fully renovate it.

If you do not like any of the above, buying a resale flat in Bishan will ensure you have a flat to stay in immediately after marriage and within walking distance to your parents’ home as well. However, Bishan is a prime HDB estate and prices there are quite high – expect to pay median of $400,000 for a three room flat and $500,000 for a four room flat. To compound matters, you will be buying at the peak of the market as most of the flats are more than thirty years old and there is little potential for appreciation in the future.

On the other hand, BTO flats usually cost less than resale flats and for this very reason, there is a good chance of appreciation in the future. Furthermore, it comes with a new 99 year lease which enables you to live in it for a number of years without worrying about the decay of its lease. As history has shown, prices of BTO flats will usually increase for the first twenty years at least and so if you buy a BTO flat and sell ten to twenty years later, you are almost guarantee a profit which can be reinvested to upgrade your home.


With warm regards,




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About the Author

Joe is a property enthusiast who bought his first property in Singapore at the age of 26 in 2005. From 2005 to 2015, he built a portfolio of 6 private properties in Singapore and has since sold three of them realizing a net profit of between 60 to 100 percent. He made his first million dollars in property investing at the age of 30 and has now amassed a property portfolio in Singapore, Australia and Malaysia worth more than $10 million dollars.

Joe is a conservative long-term property investor who believes in life-long learning and education in property investing. He does not claim to be a property expert or guru, but rather an adventurer who is in the middle of an exciting journey to achieve financial freedom from his property investments.

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Updated: December 8, 2018 — 11:59 am

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