Home shopping in Singapore? Deciding between an HDB flat and a condominium unit can be a tough call, especially with varied opinions on which is the better deal. With ongoing development plans in Singapore, are the commonly held beliefs about HDBs and condos still valid today? Let’s find out.
HDB flats aim to offer affordable housing to Singapore Citizens (SCs) and Permanent Residents (PRs), ranging from two-room flexi flats to five-room apartments. While Maisonettes are no longer built, they can still be found on the resale market.
Government subsidies for homebuyers vary based on factors like marital status, household income, property purchase history, and proximity to parents' homes. Although resale HDB flats are more affordable than private properties, prices have risen, with transactions occasionally surpassing $1 million.
If home ownership is currently unattainable, renting an HDB or condo unit is a viable option. Non-Singapore Citizens and non-Permanent Residents can rent HDB units with specific permits, such as a Student Pass or Employment Pass. Lease agreements for HDB flats must adhere to a minimum duration of six months.
Condos are private residential apartments equipped with exclusive facilities like swimming pools, gyms, BBQ pits, and playgrounds, distinguishing them from HDB flats with public amenities. Developers may incorporate unique features, such as The Reef at King’s Dock's 180m floating deck and marine viewing hammock. However, these extras come with additional costs and a higher price point.
Condo prices can be substantial, exemplified by transactions like The Nassim's $20 million sale. In addition to mortgage payments, condo owners face monthly maintenance fees ranging from $250 to $1,000. Despite the costs, owning a condo is seen as a status symbol and a lucrative investment.
Many Singaporean households upgrade to a condo after selling their initial HDB flat. The minimum rental period of three months makes condos attractive for expats and short-term renters.
Executive Condominiums (ECs) are a unique blend of public and private housing. During the initial decade, they are classified as HDB flats, subject to the 5-year Minimum Occupation Period (MOP), eligibility schemes, and resale levies. After the 10th year, they transition to private housing.
ECs specifically cater to singles and households with incomes exceeding HDB’s eligibility ceiling ($7,000 for singles, $14,000 for households). This allows them to purchase an affordable home. Understanding the nuances of HDB flats, condos, and ECs dispels common misconceptions about these housing options.
"HDB offers more connection" – Myth
While some condos may be perceived as more isolated compared to well-located HDB flats, the Urban Redevelopment Authority's 50-year plan promises enhanced connectivity with new MRT lines. Developers strategically choose land parcels aligned with the Land Transport Authority's development blueprint, ensuring future residents enjoy connectivity and potential capital gains. The belief that HDBs provide more connectivity is a myth that is evolving with Singapore's urban development plans.
"Condos are more secluded and secure as compared to hdb” – Fact
While complete privacy might be unattainable in densely populated urban settings, condos provide an additional layer of security and privacy compared to HDBs. With 24/7 security guards, secured access cards, and monitored facilities, condos create a safer environment. Recent crime rate increases, particularly in public residential areas, emphasize the importance of security, making the belief that condos are safer and offer more privacy a fact.
Privacy: HDB vs condo - Myth
When it comes to privacy, both condos and HDBs may vary in the levels of noise and exposure to neighbors based on factors like the unit's orientation, whether it faces a main road, or if it directly overlooks a neighbor's window. During property viewings, buyers and tenants should pay attention to these details to assess the privacy conditions of the unit.
"Condos are closer to more facilities as compared to HDBs" - Myth
While it might have been accurate in the past, HDB neighborhoods now boast facilities like sports courts, playgrounds, and exercise corners within the vicinity. Proximity to amenities is more about location than property type. HDB areas are equipped with sports facilities, and though swimming complexes may be more accessible in condos, HDB residents can find these amenities a short journey away. Both HDBs and condos benefit from nearby MRT station malls, schools, and convenience stores, with HDBs known for their convenient local shops.
"Compared to HDBs, condos are more pet-friendly" - Fact
Believe it or not, there are restrictions on the types of pets allowed in HDB flats, with only specific breeds permitted. While dogs, rabbits, hamsters, tortoises, fish, and certain bird species are allowed, only about 62 dog breeds are approved. Unfortunately, cats are still not permitted in HDB flats. On the other hand, condos, being private properties, are not subject to HDB's restrictions. Condo residents have the freedom to own cats and various dog breeds without the need for licenses. Whether HDB or condo is better depends on personal preferences, especially regarding pet ownership.