Condos in Singapore: 5 Traits to Make Your Property More Appealing to Buyers

·11-min read

If you thought that more people around you seem to be trading up their HDB flats for condos or lining up at the latest condo launch, it’s not just pure speculation on your part.

According to our latest population census, the proportion of resident households living in condominiums and other apartments increased from 11.5% in 2010 to 16% in 2020. That 4.5% doesn’t seem like a lot at first until you realise that Singapore has a total of over 1 million households.

If further cooling measures on the hot property market aren’t introduced by the Government, analysts expect private non-landed home prices to continue rising, on the back of a supply shortage, low interest rates and strong demand, especially from that of owner-occupiers.

Earlier in March, it was also announced that condo resale prices hit a 10-year high, as buyers were expecting that new condo launches would be priced higher than resale condo units. In addition, with the market’s healthy demand for luxury condos even surpassing that of pre-COVID-19 times, no one would guess that the pandemic was still underway.

It’s simple economics, really. When supply is low and demand high, this drives up the price that each buyer is willing to pay for a commodity – in this case, a resale condo.

For those looking to sell their condo, it’s good news as this makes the transaction more favourable on your end… But at the same time, you’ll still want to capitalise on the current market trends in order to maximise your returns.

Here are five traits that may make your condo more appealing to buyers.

1. You Have a Spacious, Entry-level Condo

Treasure at Tampines
Treasure at Tampines

Treasure at Tampines is an affordable, entry-level condo. Browse all Treasure at Tampines units for sale on PropertyGuru.

In our Singapore Property Market Index Q2 2021 report, we noticed that there are most transactions in the $1 million to $1.5 million price range. There was less demand for condos homes below $1 million, and an increased demand for properties priced between $1.5 million to $2 million.

Similarly, in our more recent Q3 2021 report, the bulk of transactions fell within the $1 million to $1.5 million price range, and units priced below $1 million saw decreasing demand. However, the number of properties sold within the $1.5 million to $2 million range dipped, and more buyers bought units above $2 million. Of these, 20.3% were in the $2 million to $4 million range.

What do these findings mean?

With so many of us working from home now, space has become a necessity, rather than a luxury. The increase in the number of transactions in the $2 million to $4 million range suggests more of a mass preference for larger homes rather than luxury homes.

Related article: Singapore Work From Home Culture Is Changing How We Shop for Homes in 2021

The price factor could also be due to more projects launched recently in the Core Central Region (CCR) and the Rest of Central Region (RCR), which tend to command higher psf prices.

This is in line with the weakening demand for units below $1 million, which tend to be shoebox units. There’s possibly a slowdown in investments for them, and more buyers are now owner-occupiers who prefer more space.

Thus, if your condo fits the bill of “more spacious than shoebox” yet remains affordably priced at the preferred $1 million to $1.5 million sweet spot, you’re more likely to appeal to a larger pool of buyers.

2. Your Price Is Right

However, it’s not just about slapping a $1 million to $1.5 million price tag on your condo and expecting hordes of interested buyers to lap it all up.

Sure, you’ve got the market on your side. According to our Q3 2021 report, resale condos made up 55.6% of all non-landed private property transactions. Not only because there were fewer mass-market new launches to drive up transaction volumes, but also buyers’ expectation that new condo launches would be priced higher than resale condo units.

In addition, resale condo units tend to be in a move-in/rent-out condition, have more room for price negotiation, and might even be more spacious than their brand-new counterparts.

Related article: New Launch Property vs Resale Condos in Singapore: Which is Better?

When pricing your property, you’ll need to take into consideration many other factors such as the general psf price for your area, last-transacted prices of similar units in the same property, current market sentiments/trends, and even how much exposure you can get for your listing.

Singapore buyers are still a practical lot, and would still consider if the property they want to buy fits their needs as well as is within their budget, AND value for money. Theoretically, you could price your condo way below valuation and make a quick sale… but that would be most disadvantageous to yourself.

Rather than cracking your head over all these questions, why not consider passing on this task to a reputable property agent who can also help you handle the paperwork, liaise with potential buyers for viewings, post the sale listing on PropertyGuru and so on?

3. Your Condo Is in a “Hot” District

Lake Grande
Lake Grande

Lake Grande is located 400m away from Lakeside MRT and TOP-ed in 2020. Browse all Lake Grande units for sale on PropertyGuru.

If your condo is in a ‘hot’ location, that alone would be a major selling point. Sometimes, it’s not about being in the CCR or RCR per se; there could be other factors such as amenities nearby, top primary schools within 1km, rejuvenation of estates, and so on.

For example, in our Q2 2021 report, we saw that Districts 4, 5, 15, 22 and 23 were the five best performing districts with asking price growth. Many of these were in the west of Singapore, in the OCR. Similarly, in our Q3 2021 report, Districts 6, 15, 22, 23 and 25 came out top when it came to asking price growth, again with many of these on the west side of the island.

Especially for District 22 (Boon Lay, Jurong, Tuas), where asking prices increased by 10.49% from the previous quarter, this was noteworthy as asking prices had previously risen by 14.9% in the preceding quarter. Asking prices can only increase with growing demand; this shows that there’s strong interest in the district.

Peering into our crystal ball (after studying the market), we’re expecting the “hot” districts of the next quarter to be District 27 (Sembawang, Yishun), District 18 (Tampines, Pasir Ris) and Districts 9, 10 and 11 (CCR) due to new launches.

Why Are “Ulu” OCR Districts so Popular?

Technically, nowhere in Singapore is really ‘ulu’, what with our splendid public transport network. Even if you decided to live in the middle of a forest, you’d probably be just a few kilometres from amenities.

From a property buyer standpoint, condos in the OCR are a treasure trove of mass-market condos, resale condos are as affordable as $800 psf, they are typically larger developments and the CBD isn’t that far, really. The west side is also a hive of activity, with Jurong being dubbed the second CBD.

4. Your Condo Is Untenanted

Putting a condo that is tenanted on the resale market comes with its pros and cons. For investors, this could save them the trouble of looking for their own tenant; for potential owner-occupiers, this could pose a problem if they need to move in ASAP.

We’ve mentioned above that one of the property trends of late include the advent of more owner-occupiers looking for a condo unit to actually make a home in. In addition, having a tenant who is hardly at home or reluctant to welcome viewings could make the condo sale go slower.

Even for investors, they’ll need to do their sums when considering an existing tenant. Is the rental income able to cover the mortgage that they’re going to pay? If the answer is no, the condo (and its current tenant) might not be a worthwhile investment for them.

Related article: How Fast Can You Realistically Sell Your Property?

5. Your Condo Looks Presentable, Inside Out

Parc Riviera
Parc Riviera

It also helps that Parc Riviera units have a nice view overlooking greenery. Browse all Parc Riviera units for sale on PropertyGuru.

While your condo doesn’t need to have amazing curbside appeal and look like something out of Netflix’s The World's Most Extraordinary Homes, it still needs to look presentable from inside out.

We don’t know about you, but we’d think twice about buying a condo unit where the windows are broken, things are falling apart inside, there’s moss all over the walls, and the interior just looks like a hurricane hit it 10 years ago.

Exaggerations aside, while you don’t need to do an extensive renovation before you intend to sell (the new owner will renovate anyway), minor maintenance works such as repainting of the walls, replacing broken pipes or door hinges, and even decluttering the unit could propel your listing to the top of many potential buyers’ shortlisted favourites.

Related article: Can Renovations Affect Your Property Resale Value? Here’s Our List of Do’s and Don’ts

It also helps if your unit is well-ventilated, bright, and when people come over for viewings, there’s no strange smell in the air. If you can, ask someone to look after your pets and/or young children during viewings. Some potential buyers might be allergic to animal fur and even afraid of say, large dogs.

If you or your agent can take lovely pictures of the unit (devoid of clutter), that would also make the property more appealing to potential buyers. Do you need to hire a professional photographer for this? Not really. But if you have the means and the money, you could. A good agent could also provide this service, along with the staging of your apartment for photography.

Buying and Selling Condos in Singapore

Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, it’s always best to do your own research on property prices, market trends, when to enter the market and so on before making your move. Especially for those looking to sell or buy an investment property, this is key, as they’ll want to make sure they can reap the highest return on investment from the purchase or sale.

For sellers, five traits to make your condo more appealing to buyers include but are not limited to:

  • Having a spacious, entry-level condo

  • Setting the right price

  • Owning a condo in a ‘hot’ district

  • Having an untenanted unit

  • Making sure your condo looks presentable

Want to sell but yet to begin your research? Start with our PropertyGuru Singapore Property Market Index reports to learn more about the non-landed private residential market.

More FAQs about Condos in Singapore

How to Buy a Condo in Singapore?

Are you looking to buy a new launch condo or a resale condo? It’s best to hire an agent to help you with all the legalese and paperwork, but first, determine your eligibility (you’ll need to be at least 21 years old), affordability and personal property requirements.

Can I Buy an HDB Flat If I Own a Condo?

No, you cannot buy a flat from HDB if you own any private properties. You’ll need to sell your private property before buying an HDB flat (within six months for resale, and there’s a wait out period of 30 months if you intend to buy a BTO), and you might be subject to other fees such as an Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty.

Can I Use CPF to Buy a Condo?

Yes, the funds in your CPF Ordinary Account can be used to fund your condo purchase. As you’ll be taking a home loan from a bank, your Loan-to-Value limit will be 75% of the home’s selling price, and the rest will need to be paid with a combination of cash and CPF OA funds.

What Is an Executive Condo?

An executive condo, or EC for short, is a special type of property that is developed and sold by private developers but subsidised by HDB (and hence bounded by HDB rules). ECs have the facilities of a condo, such as swimming pools and gyms, but are more affordably priced. Once ECs hit their 11th year, they become privatised.

For more property news, resources and useful content like this article, check out PropertyGuru’s guides section.

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This article was written by Mary Wu, who hopes to share what she's learnt from her home-buying and renovation journey with PropertyGuru readers. When she's not writing, she's usually baking up a storm or checking out a new cafe in town.

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