Thursday, November 6, 2008

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HDB Flat vs Private Condo: Which is better value?

A forum exchange extracted from the Singapore Property Forum:

"Condos are luxury items. Real owner buyers want to live a "good" and comfortable life in their condos. However, newer condos may even be inferior to HDB in terms of comfort. Some of them don't have enough carpark lots for residents. Some are so small and cramped as to be little more than a pidgeon hole. Some are located in places that are inconvenient without nearby food places, amenities. I think property developers may have got it wrong in this respect. People want to upgrade to Private from HDB by and large because they want a more comfortable lifestyle. Living in an expensive and tiny pidgeonhole where your car has no lot to park in, where your bedroom is so tiny that you can't have bedroom cabinet doors that swing out... instead, they have to be sliding, where facilities are overcrowded, maintenance fees are high, etc. etc. is more torture than an upgrade of lifestyle. Therefore, some developments are just not worth the money..."

"Must say I really agree with you this. Although they're marketed as 'luxury' (and priced as such), many new condos are in more ways a regression. Rooms are now so small they don't even dare to put a bed in the showflat for fear you'd realise just how cramped the rooms are. Huge bay windows in every room consume what little precious space is left. Downstairs, there are no open areas to walk on, or for kids to play. The little space between blocks is used for the pools. The plots are built right up to the edge so that your window opens straight into the window/wall of the adjacent property. Clubhouse is more of a 'room', and 'gym' can barely take more than 4-5 people at once. These make new condos bad deals compared with older developments. I actually know a family who own both a condo and HDB, but decided to 'downgrade' back to the HDB after the novelty of condo living wore off, and they realised they actually got a BETTER quality of life staying in their huge HDB flat."

"I really agree with the point. The quality of life of modern S'porean living in new crampy condo is really bad. They work their shit out of their busy day and the only thing to do is just to pay off their loan for the condo and car. As though the whole world and whole life is to live in a crampy, lousy condo. How sad. They have no life! "

"Yes and your HDB units door is just 2 metres away from your neighbor, and the rubbish chute is just downstairs with the huge foul smell every afternoon when the garbage collectors came....And every Chap Goh Mei, you will see thrashes and thrashes of paper being burnt with no containers without due consideration for neighbors upstairs.... and the lift has lots of saliva, kids urine and its bloody cramp and the fact that the void deck is full of scum. And your neighbors will be foreign workers from India and China who will make noise every hour and hang their clothes right in front of your door....Hahahah which one is better living now? HDB or condo....what a fool !! "

"beside points above, many single lady drive back late at night dare not walk from car park to home, security is an issue, compared to walk fence up in condo with guards. O$P$ is so common inside lift, walls near lift in every floor, re-paint again & again.
No facility, it's convenient if you exercise regularly, track-mill, swimming, common air-con study room. Nicer surrounding, walking path, nice tiles in corridor, higher ceiling, better environment....
It's just totally different living comfort & condition, don't talk about status.
HDB is good, but just can't compare."

"I've spent equal amount of my adulthood living in HDB flats and condos. Strictly as a consumption good, condos do offer a more interesting lifestyle and better security than HDB. Of course, you've to pay maintenance and sinking funds for all those facilities in private condos, whereas HDB landscaping and regular painting come free. Also, because of the government's HDB upgrading, common areas in HDB with their covered walkway and tiled pavements are a lot more appealing than private estate. Most of all, if living in a condo means you've to work all your guts out to pay for it, then you'd be better off living in a HDB flat than be burdened with all those financial worries. Finally, if you're looking at investment returns, then no doubt HDB is better than condos esp 99LH condos."

May also want to read:
Fire Sale: Owners Dump Condos
The days of Cheap, Easy Credits chasing after property is OVER!
When the bubble of greed and fear burst, guess who suffer?
Property Investment Tip: Don't put all your eggs in one basket
HDB Resales: West Sees Highest Price Increase


danny said...

There are condos and then there are condos.

Let me illustrate, my folks bought a nice condo in Clementi Park in the early 90s. Its about 2000 sq feet, 3br, 3.5 bathrooms, 1 storage room, back and front balcony with great views. They don't build em like they used to.

My sister rents a place in Northvale, it's next to CCK MRT, convenient! However, the 'view' is of the adjacent block about 50m away, the unit is at the end of the corridor, where 3 doors are adjacent to each other. Even in HDB the doors are further apart.

The amenities such as pool, playground and the grounds in general are 'nicer' than HDB. Value proposition is still there. maybe not now, but if/when prices drop 20 or even 30% from peak, sure.


Toh Yi, wow, it's the nicest HDB estate i've seen so far. The aura there is the best that I've come across. Got a friend who lives there b/c parents live nearby in landed on Bukit Timah, they aren't the only couple in that position. It's a pricey estate, with EMs going for $600+ k. Since the competition is folks with parents who live in landed near bukit timah, the value proposition is gone. For my $, I'll go for some place in town.

The new DBSS in Bukit Panjang (Senja Green), I think maxes out at $270k (if wrong, please correct), and that's a great bang for your buck.

Anonymous said...

1. long term outlook for singapore property

a. while i generally agree with smart buyer that the market is overpriced and due for possible a strong correction, i would not be overly pessimistic
b. in terms of fundamentals, house prices should be around 4-5 times average annual income, for e.g in the US average houselhold income is around 50-60k in texas and you can get a nice house with a lawn for 25O-300K , very affordable
c. unfortunately the texas lawn house equivilent in sing is the hdb flat which as everyone knows is widely affordable

this gets me to my second point- what is the future of condos and landed houses in a lower middle class society like singapore ?

a. having lived in the US, France and India, i was quite schoked the first time i saw an HDB flat, without any offense to anyone- tjhe fact is that the pricing premium between condos and HDBs is well deserved, the quality of life simiply cannot be compared, common hallways in HDBs are not even prevalent in a third world country like India
b. also bear in mind that singapore will not always be as safe as it is today, over the next 5-10 years you can be usre of a large foreign population, more buzz and with it more crime and sanitation issues, all this will further increase the condo allure
c. many poeple think that only rich 50k per month expats and 1k per month foreign workers are coming to our shores- what has not yet got wide publicity - but will real soon- is the huge middle class professional migration from india, china and even russia, these professional work in IT, banks, tourism etc and usually earn above 5k with many in the 10k range, all these people will drive up demand for suburban condos, these people come with a young family and strong aspirations of living a comfortable lifestyle, they won't settle for a HDB where the standARD of living is lower than their lifestyle in their home countries
d. also don't underestimate domestic demand- all this talk about "value for money" is widespread among the 45+ singaporeans who have seen several mkt cycles, but it is not this group that will be the driver of future housing booms- this will be the twenty somethings aspiring to a better lifestyle, living in boxy HDBs like their parents is not for them, this rise in domestic demand is what drove US growth in the 80s and will also drive singapore's growth, we are just starting to scratch this potential
c. ultimately of course, for all this to happen singapore has to keep growing.. more on this next time

Anonymous said...

Agree with author about condos being of better value. So if you can afford it, switch from HDB flats.

Those who think that HDB flats are cheap, good and convenient - THINK AGAIN - these flats are crappy - poorly built with cracked and slanted walls, leaky ceilings and NEIGHBOURS FROM HELL -the NOISE - can drive a sane person to PERPETUAL INSANITY.

Also, HDB is the LESSOR but wait - they own the flats after 99 years but they would not do anything about their crappy structure. YES there is upgrading but those are superficial aesthetics - covered walkways that allow rain to slash through, gardens that are often left unkempt, lightings that oftentimes do not work, rubbish everywhere - in the lift lobbies, on window sills, on clothes hung out to dry, etc, urine and smoking cigarettes inside lifts and thrown into flat windows sometimes causing small fires to occur.

The worst are the NOISE LEVEL and the SOCIALLY BIZARRE behaviour of actions of some HDB dwellers - making out at unlighted children's playgrounds, on the staircase landing of the top floors, throwing sanitary pads dripping with fresh menstrual blood onto the lower floor neighbour's clothings, cats roaming around corridors, dog barking day and night and leaving their urine and faeces in lifts, corridors and everywhere.

Want to live like this in CLEAN AND GREEN SINGAPORE? Think again. Even Hong Kong is not that bad.

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