For many Singaporeans, buying your first property is usually your largest financial purchase. And as with any investment, nobody wants to lose money. We definitely hope that our property will become a valuable asset and go up in price over the years so we can sell off for a profit.
But even if you weren’t lucky enough to be the first owner (eg. successful BTO), that does not mean you can’t make money.
Take a look at this property:
From the chart, it seems obvious that this is a great asset because even if you had bought at any point in time, you could have still made money as the price continued to appreciate.
But the question to think about is, who makes the most profit?
Is it the first owner, the second, or the last owner?
Historically, the first owner is the one who makes the most money because they have a greater margin. This allows them to sell at a lower price than their neighbours (eg. the second owners of similar properties in the same block or neighbourhood), while still earning more in profits than them.
Who has a greater advantage in controlling and setting the price?
Clearly, the first owner can afford to sell slightly lower than the purchase price of the third owner, and yet still make more than both the second and third owner.
So if you got your flat through a BTO exercise and have yet to sell, perhaps you might want to rethink your strategy. As the first owner, you always have the largest advantage, and you can make your property become a profitable asset by making two strategic asset plays:
- Hold and sell later
- Sell after MOP (when you’re the newest in the market and thus more appealing to resale buyers) and shift into another asset that will grow even faster
The longer you hold, the shorter the lease you’re leaving behind for the next owners. This will reduce your bargaining power, and even if there’s another similar property in your neighbourhood at a higher price, your property looks worse in comparison because of the shorter lease.
Of course, if you simply intend to stay in your property until the end, then this strategy will not be for you. However, if you’re someone who wants your property to make money, then be strategic about it.
Now that you understand your options, let’s move on to explore whether HDB flats are worth buying, and can my HDB flat still be an asset?