Asked on 02 Sep 2019
I am looking at HDB resale vs renting a place while waiting for her to get her PR before we BTO. But the latter option would only mean that we get our place 4-5 years later, after she gets her PR and our BTO is ready. But renting a place is also costly and a waste of money? Which option, in general, saves more money?
In my opinion, you should opt for a resale flat, as compared to a BTO. This is because BTO is more for couples who can afford to wait by staying in their parents' house and saving during the 3-4 years wait for the collection of keys of the BTO.
While BTO flat may be cheaper than the resale units by 20-60k, many will choose to do renovation which will cost quite a bit. Furnishing said BTO would also be an expensive endeavour, requiring big-ticket items like aircon, wiring, ceiling fans, water heater etc. In this manner, whatever "savings" you get from BTO can be easily wiped out by the cost of making it livable to your taste. Also, as you mentioned, if you rent a place, the money you spend on rental(800-1000/month) can be better put to use servicing your mortgage loan.
On the other hand, resale flats are more for couples who are willing and able to get a place of their own, as the units are already renovated, and in a "ready to move in" condition- the seller might even leave appliances and furniture behind, as the cost of relocating such used items may be too high and they would prefer to get new ones. Resale also has a wider choice, and you can use the free market to browse around and negotiate for a better price! Furthermore, due to the uncertain economic outlook, prices of resale flats have been falling so you might just snag yourself a great deal:)
I was in a similar situation as you a few months back; but have decided to appeal for ICA to kinda expedite my spouse PR's application through two ways 1) Seek MP for assistance, 2) Self-write a report on why my spouse is suitable for PR and what kind of contribution she can offer.
ICA replied quite fast after that and it was approved, which makes us eligible to apply for PR immediately.
If let's say the PR is still pending after very long, I will not hesitate to get a resale.
Resale now has a lot more grants than BTO(if you include proximity grant too), and you just might be able to save some $$$.
Thanks, free feel to buzz me for more info about PR related matters.
Hey Samuel -- if you go for a resale HDB, you'd also have to fulfil the 5-year Minimum Occupation Period before you can even apply for a BTO.
It used to be that you could apply for the BTO first as long as the completion date was after your MOP, but HDB recently decided to be more stringent about enforcing the policy to dampen demand for BTOs. (Apparently Singapore is land scarce. Who knew?)
That means it could be up to 9-10 years before you get your BTO (tho PM Lee says they're trying to shorten the BTO completion time).
You can check out this guide on the housing options available to you, but in short, you can choose from:
2-room Flexi BTO flat in a non-mature estate
2-room Flexi Balance flat in a non-mature estate
(If purchased with parents/siblings who are citizens/PRs) - DBSS flat
Resale flat (but for the long haul)
You might also want to check out this guide on HDB grants to shave a bit off the resale HDB purchase price.