Condominiums are a luxury in Singapore and that might be the main reason why people who can afford prefer them to HDB. Even though the properties in Singapore are among the most expensive worldwide, the country has a higher ownership percentage that exceeds 90%. What does that mean? Singaporeans are rich, right? That may be the first assumption considering that the resale HDBs or public housing hit the S$1 million mark recently. Actually, we can attribute the high home-ownership percentage to brilliant retirement-saving systems in the country known as the CPF. The purpose of the systems is to allow Singaporeans become homeowners before their retirement age. The government also offers generous grants.
Homeownership is an aspiration for most Singaporeans. However, they always encounter a dilemma when deciding on whether to buy a HDB or a condominium. To make the best buying decision, you have to consider several factors such as whether you would like to sell the property in the future, the possibility of property appreciation, eligibility, and your lifestyle choice. But why do most Singaporeans prefer condo properties to HDB?
Why some people consider condominiums over HDB?
There is a bigger divide between the private and public housing in Singapore. Around 80% of people renting properties in Singapore live in HDB flats. Therefore, living in a condominium should set you apart from experiencing life in the country as a local. What’s more, the trade-offs are beneficial.
The Housing Development Board (HDB) provides subsidized flats for the Singaporeans. Perhaps, you already know that the renting prices under this category are very high. To get a condominium, you actually need more than SGD1 million. Nevertheless, you should not think that HDB properties in the country are closer to slums or ghetto. Some of the HDB properties are in line with the quality of private condominiums.
A quick example: some HDB flats in the country fall under Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS). Therefore, their interiors match the quality of private condominiums. Executive Condominium (ECs) fall under the “sandwich” HDB flats class but when building them, the private developers ensure that they have amenities associated with private condominiums. You should never assume that life in a HDB is similar to pauper life. Some other factors that influence people when making a choice include:
Convenience to guests
Security in condominiums is closer to that you should expect in airports – you will actually note that at the first time you get into a condominium as a guest. Condominiums developers in the country like installing complex security measures. To access your floor in some condominiums, you will require a key card. People without a key card have to use a specific lift for the unlocking purposes. It can be hard to get into an apartment. Some guests will climb over 22 flights of stairs primarily because they cannot figure out the way to work lifts.
Guests who have to pass the guardhouse should expect harassment with many questions or demand for identification. However, in HDB flats guests can come to your door at any time and knock. Some people do not like guests. If you are one of them, you should make a wise decision.
All HDB flats are closer to train stations or bus stops. However, some private condominiums are better accessibility, too. Due to their exclusivity, private developers prefer building condominiums in the lesser busy areas. What’s more, some developers believe that people who can afford to buy condominiums can also afford to drive. It might be hard to understand that because most people will not be able to afford a vehicle immediately after buying their first property. As a tenant, remember that you might get a living space that is hard to access. If you do not intend to rent vehicles, check the distance between the property you intend to buy and the nearest point for public transport.
Generally, condominiums in Singapore are more expensive than the HDB properties. However, there are exceptions. Some flats in the mature estates have higher rent that matches the non-centrally situated condominiums. People on tighter budgets choose to rent rooms in the HDB flats instead of the condominiums.
Access to the available private facilities
Private condominiums boast pools, private gyms, and spas situated downstairs. Some HDB flats feature the facilities but in public form – for example, pools open to a neighborhood. If you would like to use such amenities, condominiums are a better choice. You should not go for the best air-conditioned gym if you rarely workout. If such facilities are part of your life, you might find it hard to share the facilities in HDB areas.
Exposure to the local culture
Class issues exist in Singapore. Including individuals who grew up in condominiums have different lifestyles and attitudes compared to individuals who grew up in the HDB flats. By staying in any of the two for a particular period, you should understand why. The purpose of HDB flats in Singapore is to encourage communal living. An empty ground floor should not be a big surprise to you. The ground floors have efficiently promoted neighborhood bonding. Furthermore, Singapore has quotas on the number of foreigners may cluster in a HDB area. That is with an aim of breaking up foreigners’ enclave formation.
Actually, HDB flats have facilitated mingling and integration of Singaporeans. Within a few months, you will have developed some local habits including playing caroms or chess, eating in a coffee shop and complaining about anything wrong. If your job requires building stronger networks among the locals or you would like to experience the local culture, HDB flats are a better choice.
On the other side, life in condominiums is different from the traditional life of Singaporeans. Most Singaporeans consider upgrading from HDB flats to condominiums later in their life. In other words, you will not be very detached when living in a condominium. However, when living in a condominium, you will possibly rub shoulders with expatriates and better-heeled Singaporeans. In some condominiums, you will find managers who conduct the communal activities. Tight knit communities in most condominiums will help you mingle with locals.
Real property buyers desire to live a good and more comfortable life. That is why they mostly opt for condominiums in Singapore. You might also need to consider that when making your purchase decision.