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14 Jul 2019
Housing Development Board
Suggestion View - 2164
Be careful about buying a HDB resale flat

I want to give this word of caution to Singaporeans. Be careful when you buy a HDB resale flat.

You may have heard about the money that people make when they sell their resale flat. You may have heard that many permanent residents made money when they sold off their HDB flat to return to their country.

Those were cases in the past when the HDB resale market kept going up. It is no longer the case now.

A property agent showed to me a database of actual cases of resale property bought five years ago, the prices paid in 2014 and the current valuation price. Over 90% of these cases showed losses of several tens of thousands. They are all in red.

The owners of these resale properties are stuck. If they sell their property, they do not have enough to put back into their CPF account. Their cash proportion would probably be wiped out.

The problem is aggravated due to two factors:

a) Some of these properties passed the 40 year mark and the use of CPF by the next buyer is restricted

b) The values of the HDB flats weakened after the minister announced that HDB flat will have no value at the end of the lease.

If you are buying a resale property for own occupation, be prepared to live in the property for the rest of your life. If you have to sell it for any reason, be ready to take a big loss.

The days of sure profit on property investment is over - except for a exceptional cases. Do not believe an agent who tells you that the property on offer is exceptional - it is their job to paint this picture.

It is safe for you to buy a new HDB flat (also called BTO) because the selling price is "subsidised" and you can get a government grant. If you are a citizen, you should use it.

However, if you have to buy a resale flat, be prepared for the reality.

Tan Kin Lian

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