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According to latest flash estimates from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), Singapore private home prices have risen by 2.9% in the Q1 of 2021, an increase from the previous quarter where prices rose 2.1%.

Overall, we can see that the Q1 private residential property index increased to 161.6 points, an increase of 4.6 points from the Q4 of 2020.

Landed Property prices in Q1 have seen a rise by 5.6%. A significant increase since the 1.6% fall in the last quarter. 

Non-landed properties prices on the other hand are up 2.1%, as compared to the 3% increase in the Q4. Whereby prices of non-landed properties in the RCR went up by 6.1%, followed by the increase of 0.9% in the OCR. Non-landed properties in the CCR, however, saw a decrease in 0.3% this quarter.

 

COMPARISON OF PROPERTY PRICE INDEX FOR 4TH QUARTER 2020 AND 1ST QUARTER 2021

  Price Index1 % Change over Previous Quarter
4Q/20 1Q/21 4Q20 1Q/21
All Residential
(1Q09=100)
157.0 161.6 2.1 2.9

Landed 
Property

173.8 183.5 -1.6 5.6
Non-landed
Property
153.3 156.5 3.0 2.1
CCR2/ 133.6 133.2 3.2 -0.3
RCR3/ 160.6 170.4 4.4 6.1
OCR 183.6 185.3 1.8 0.9

 

(Source: URA Media Release) 

As a first time home buyer, the process of buying a resale flat can be quite confusing (especially if you are doing this on your own and not through a buyer agent). There are just so many things that need to be done like getting all your documents ready, filling out paperwork, etc. That is why we have decided to write this article, to help ease you into the whole process of buying a resale HDB flat. 

In this article, we have come up with 12 main steps that you will have to take to get you through your buying process from start to finish. We will also be giving you lots of expert tips and tricks as well as things to watch out for.  Let's start with step number 1.

Step 1 - Register Your Intent To Buy

The first step in the resale buying process is to register your intent to buy a resale HDB flat. To do so, simply log into the HDB Resale Portal with your SingPass account. Please note that if you are buying a home with other applicants like your family members or your partner (fiance), only one person needs to register. Once you have done so, your intent to buy will be valid for 12 months. After its expiry, you will have to apply for a new one.

Step 2 - Apply For Your Eligibility for Housing Grant

Once you have registered your intent to buy, the HDB portal will start to show you your "buying process". This is their “step-by-step guide” on buying a HDB flat, even though there is more that goes into it. What you have to do now is to apply for your eligibility for housing grant. If you have done your research, you would know that there are 3 grants that you can apply for. If you have not, you can read our article on “Your Complete Guide to HDB Grants”. These grants are the Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (EHG), Family Grant (FG) and Proximity Housing Grant (PHG). By filling up the questionnaire on the HDB Resale Portal, HDB will tell you the estimated amount you are eligible for in terms of these 3 grants. Remember to save the results on your form because you might need it for later. 

Step 3 - Apply For Your Home Loan Eligibility (HLE) or Bank Loan

Getting your loan early is very important as it will guide you through your next steps in purchasing a home. There are two ways that you can apply for a loan, one is through a bank of your choice and the other is through HDB aka Housing Loan Eligibility or HLE. There are pros and cons to both, so we recommend that you do your research before deciding on which type of loan you would like to take up.

Once you receive your loan amount, you should move quickly as it is typically valid for only 6 months which means you have to find a home in this stipulated time or you will have to apply for a new one once it expires.

Read more: 12 steps to buying a resale HDB flat in Singapore!

The first HDB flats were built in 1960. That was 61 years ago today. And with its 99-year lease, many HDB flats are now starting to mature past the 40 year mark. So what happens when your flat is nearing its end? - You may have heard about something called SERS, which is the HDB equivalent to en bloc. In fact, you might actually hope that your flat gets chosen for SERS. Who wouldn't? 

In this article, we will be delving deep into SERS and VERS, what they are, what differs between them, what they mean for you if you are chosen and how to tell if you are eligible. Let's get into it!

 

(Image Credit: Gov.sg)

What is SERS?

SERS stands for the Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme. It was first implemented or introduced in August 1995 as a part of the Government’s efforts to renew older housing estates sitting on land with high redevelopment potential to ensure that Singapore remains vibrant city. So in a nutshell, the Government takes back flats before the end of the lease and redevelops them to revitalize older estates with new developments. SERS is also known to be very highly selective with only 5% of HDB flats being estimated to be eligible for SERS.

Read more: Everything you need to know about HDB en bloc - SERS & VERS!

Singapore private property prices have risen to its highest in two years as the overall price index for private residential properties increased 2.1% from the 3rd Quarter to the 4th.  
 
Non-landed property prices in the Core Central Region (CCR) increased by 3.3% while prices in the Rest of Central Region (RCR) and Outside Central Region (OCR) rose by 4.8% and 1.7% respectively. Landed property prices on the other hand fell 2.1% in this quarter. 
 
"This compares with a 0.8% increase in the previous quarter", said the URA.
 
The 4th Quarter increase of 2.1% is the steepest quarterly increase since the jump of 3.4% in the 2nd Quarter of 2018. Joining countries such as the UK, US, Australia and New Zealand, Singapore's property market is proving its resilience through the recession and the Covid-19 pandemic with a surge in property prices through this hard time. A good reason for the increase could be the number of new launch condominiums fueled by low interest rates.
 
For the whole of 2020, private home prices rose by 2.2% compared with 2.7% increase in 2019. It is also predicted that the prices for private properties may increase 1% to 4% in 2021. 
 

COMPARISON OF PROPERTY PRICE INDEX FOR 3RD QUARTER 2020 AND 4TH QUARTER 2020

  Price Index1 % Change over Previous Quarter
3Q/20 4Q/20 3Q20 4Q/20
All Residential
(1Q09=100)
153.8 157.0 0.8 2.1

Landed 
Property

176.6 172.9 3.7 -2.1
Non-landed
Property
148.8 153.6 0.1 3.2
CCR2/ 129.5 133.8 -3.8 3.3
RCR3/ 153.8 161.2 2.5 4.8
OCR 180.4 183.5 1.7 1.7

(Source: URA Media Release) 

So you’re looking to purchase your very first HDB flat. You probably have a million questions running through your mind. How much money do I need to buy a flat? What grants can I apply for? Are there any income ceilings for HDB grants? Well, we’re here to help answer all your questions when it comes to HDB grants.

Before you think about what grants you’re eligible for, you first need to decide what type of flat you are looking to buy. Are you looking to buy a Build To Order (BTO), a resale flat or an Executive Condo (EC). The answer to this question is your starting point. 

In this article, we will be breaking down all the HDB grants that are available categorised under what type of housing you are applying for. Let’s start with the basics, BTO. 

*Something to take note: grants do change from time to time so make sure to cross check with the HDB website. This article is accurate to date.*

HDB Grants For BTOs

Before we talk about the grants available, let's get into the HDB income ceiling for BTOs. The current income ceiling for BTOs generally is $14,000. However it can differ for the types of flat that you choose. For example, the income ceiling for a 2-3 room flat can go as low as $7,000 and the income ceiling for larger flats like multi-gen flats can go up to $21,000. Now let's get into the grants!

The grant available for couples or families who choose to BTO is the Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (EHG). This grant ranges from $5,000 to $80,000. The HDB income ceiling for this grant is $9000. This means that if you and your spouse are looking to apply for this grant, your max total income combined should not exceed $9000. 

Singles above 35 years old are also able to qualify for this grant. However for singles, the income ceiling and grant range is halved. So a single with a monthly income of no more than $4,500 can apply and the grant range would instead be $2,500 to $40,000. This is also the same for Singaporean citizens with a foreign spouse. 

Why does the grant range vary so much? This is to help lower and middle class families afford a home. The lower your income ceiling, the higher the grant you get. 

Total max grant for BTO = $80,000

Read more: Your Complete Guide To HDB Grants!

If you came here to learn all about Additional Buyer Stamp Duty, or, ABSD, you have come to the right place. Below are some frequently asked questions about ABSD as well as some tips we can offer you on how to legally avoid it. If our article doesn’t answer any of your questions on ABSD, be sure to write in to us by clicking the button below

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Now let’s begin shall we?

  1. What is ABSD?

ABSD was first introduced on the 8th of December 2011. In the simplest of terms, ABSD is a government tax that is typically charged on the purchase of a second and subsequent residential property. These include HDB flats, residential shophouses (ABSD not applicable on commercial shophouses), condos and landed properties. However ABSD is charged depending on the buyer’s residential status. 

 

  1. Why do we pay ABSD?

ABSD is a cooling measure implemented by the government to keep property prices affordable for Singapore citizens by managing the demand for residential properties. It also aims to discourage foreigners and other entities from purchasing residential properties, and more so multiple residential properties.

 

  1. Who needs to pay ABSD?

- Singaporean citizens who are purchasing a second and subsequent residential property. 
- Singaporean permanent residents (PRs) who are buying their first residential property. 
- Foreigners who are buying any residential property (except those under FTA*).
- Entities* buying any residential property.

* Foreigners under Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) include Nationals and Permanent Residents of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland and Nationals of the United States of America.
* Entities refer to an 1. unincorporated association/ 2. a trustee for a collective investment scheme when acting in that capacity/ 3. a trustee-manager for a business trust when acting in that capacity/ 4. the partners of the partnership whether or not any of them is an individual, where the property conveyed, transferred or assigned is to be held as partnership property.

Read more: 9 things you need to know about ABSD and 10 tips to avoid it!

With the URA's release of its 3rd Quarter 2020 real estate statistics, we can learn that the private residential property index has increased since the 2nd Quarter. This increase can be seen in the table below. The increase of 1.2 points from 152.6 points in 2Q 2020 to 153.8 points in 3Q 2020 represents an increase of 0.8%, compared to the 0.3% increase in the previous quarter.

Specifically for condominiums (non-landed private residential properties), there was a strong performance in prices of condos in the Rest of Central Region (RCR) and Outside Central Region (OCR), while there was a sharp decline in the prices of condos in the Core Central Region (CCR). Prices in RCR increased 3.3%, compared to the 1.7% decrease in the previous quarter, and the prices in OCR increased by 1.7%, compared to the 0.1% increase in the previous quarter. Prices in CCR however has decreased by 4.9%, compared to the 2.7% increase in the previous quarter. This can be seen in the third chart below. 

COMPARISON OF PROPERTY PRICE INDEX FOR 2ND QUARTER 2020 AND 3RD QUARTER 2020

  Price Index1 % Change over Previous Quarter
2Q20 3Q20 2Q20 3Q20
All Residential (1Q09=100) 152.6 153.8 0.3 0.8
Landed Property 170.3 176.8 0.0 3.8
Non-landed Property 148.7 148.7 0.4 0.0
CCR2/ 134.6 128.0 2.7 -4.9
RCR3/ 150.0 155.0 -1.7 3.3
OCR 177.4 180.4 0.1 1.7
Read more: URA release of 3Q 2020 real estate statistics