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  • Writer's picturePriscilla Low

[Part 2] Can Everyday Singaporeans Benefit From Property Wealth Planning

Updated: Nov 29, 2021

Property Wealth Planning is always a favourite dinner conversation and here's a list of the top 5 common questions that we often hear. If you are clueless about Property Wealth Planning, read Part 1 for Property Wealth Planning 101 first.

Q1: When is the best time to sell our HDB?

Before we answer this question, let's start on a golden rule. When we talk about the passing marks for exam, it is common that the passing grade is 50 out of 100. When we review the appreciation rates of properties, we use an annual increase of 2.5% per annum as the passing yardstick.

Why 2.5%? Because this is the guaranteed CPF interest rate. If your property is appreciating below 2.5% per annum, you might as well sell your home and leave the monies in your CPF account which would give you a yearly interest of 2.5%.

And now, drum roll... so when is the best time to sell a HDB flat? We studied all transacted prices of HDBs, from five-year-old to 40-year-old flats*, during the period of 2010 to 2020 and found the below periods with the highest and lowest appreciation rate.

(Note: *Age of HDB aka HDB lease starts from the date of first owner's key collection. This means that the age of the flat starts when the flat is already built.)

For those who find charts to be mind-boggling, the study shows that HDBs that are between 11 to 15 years old were appreciating well at an average rate of 5.15% per year, while HDBs that are between 20 to 30 years old were having a low appreciation rate of 0.57% per year.

If you are interested to know more about the appreciation rates for the other ages of the HDBs, let's schedule an appointment for a chat.

Q2: Oh, so it is better to sell our HDB before it reaches 20 years?

Your property path should be aligned to your family's needs and preferences. While it is very likely that your HDB may appreciate until it reaches 20 years old, many families may wish to upgrade earlier as their next purchase would be a private property. Most newer condominiums would be smaller in size, such as those in the central region, and thus a smaller abode could be more manageable when their children are younger.

Others also see that there are also opportunities costs in holding on to their HDB. While the HDBs may be appreciating, their quantum gain would be lesser than a condominium. What does this mean? See below example:

If both BTO and condominium were to appreciate at the same rate of 4%, the amount of gross profit in the next five years would be:

HDB - 4% x property value of $600K x 5 years = $120K

Condo - 4% x property value of $1.2m x 5 years = $240K

Thus some families prefer to strike while the iron is hot - while they are still young and their careers are growing strongly, they could focus their financials on their property to capitalise and gain higher amounts of gross profits.

Q3: Do condominiums have the same life cycle as HDBs?

To find out this answer, we also studied all of the leasehold condominiums transacted prices, from zero-year-old to 40-year-old flats**, during the period of 2010 to 2020. Here are the periods with the highest and lowest appreciation rates:

(Note: **Age of condominium aka condominium lease starts from the start date of the leasehold of the land. Unlike HDB flats, this means that the condominium could already be about 3-5 year-old when the first owner collected the key.)

In summary, the charts show that condominiums that are between 11 to 15 years old were appreciating well at an average rate of 4.51% per year, while condominiums that are between 20 to 30 years old were having a low appreciation rate of 1.03% per year.

If you are interested to know more about the appreciation rates for the other ages of the condominiums, schedule an appointment with me using the link below.

Q4: My parents want to leave their ageing HDB to us. Is that a wise choice?

Many of our parents own an aged property and they don't think of selling it as they hope to pass the apartment as a final gift to their children. Whether their choice is wise would depend on their needs and objectives.

In most cases, unless their property is a private condominium with high possibility of en-bloc, most ageing properties are likely to have a low appreciation rate due to their decaying lease.

Some of them live a quiet hermit lifestyle in their large apartment, thinking that they are 'guarding' a treasure trove for their children. To them, a bigger home means a bigger treasure to pass to their children and a smaller home means lesser value. If their aim is to grow more wealth for their children, then their aged property isn't always the best gift. An ageing home is like a leaking pail. With each day, there would be lesser water left in the pail for the family and they could consider changing the pail.

For others, their aged HDB could be the only spacious roof that could accommodate the weekly gatherings of home-cooked meals for all their grandchildren and relatives. In this case, that pail is priceless, even if it is leaking. Though it may good to keep an open mind and explore options of other suitable pails that may have a smaller leak.

Q5: If our property is depreciating, why would there be buyers for it?

The answer is yes, because it depends on individual families' needs and preferences.

  • Some families may wish to right-size from their condominiums to older apartments to have more cash savings to prepare for retirement.

  • Some could be trying to restructure their portfolio to own two apartments - an older and cheaper apartment for homestay and another for investment.

  • Some may wish to consider older properties for its spaciousness and location in mature estates.

  • Others may also choose to splurge on aged apartments that offer unique value such as an irresistible sea view, a HDB terrace home with their own sky windows and private garden, a jumbo flat that are over 1,800 sqf, or even fengshui reasons etc.


People may resist discussing about property planning because they never thought about it. But it is never too late to start. And we can never emphasize enough - that there is no right and wrong, as long as it is aligned to the family's needs and objectives. Each family's property path is unique.

If there is a wrong, it could be turning a blind eye and not taking the first step to plan out your property path.

If you found the sharing helpful and would like any guidance in your property planning, feel free to book a free consultation.



Before the change to real estate, Pris Low was in the non-profit sector for close to 20 years, helping distressed consumers, disadvantaged families, children with special needs, persons with disability and frail seniors.

Now she finds it equally meaningful to be able to work directly with individuals, couples and families to plan their property path, find a right home within their comfortable finances and help them build resilient families that can flourish and overcome challenges.

Each property path is unique to the family, and there is no right and wrong path as long as it guides the family towards achieving their goals at its own pace.

You may hear many agents saying, 'Now is the best time to buy a property'. Pris Low believes that, 'Now is the best time to start your property planning'.

Every journey starts with a single step. Contact me for a non-obligatory chat!

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