A HDB or a condominium? That's a million dollar question.

Well, you may not have the gift of foresight, but you're in good company. We've done some time travelling of our own, and you're welcome to take a ride with us.

Ready? Let's begin.

Congratulations! You've married the love of your life and are looking to buy your first matrimonial home, with $40,000 in your savings for the downpayment of your first property.

Your options?

1. A 4-room HDB flat (minimum 10% downpayment)



2. A 3-room condominium (minimum 5% cash down payment).

Option #1: A 4-room HDB flat 

Many young Singaporean couples set up their first homes in a HDB flat. But what is the value of that home 10 years later?


From 2009 to 2019, 4-room HDB flats yielded an average capital gain of $100K from $400K to $500K (27% growth) on an average across Singapore.

$100K? Sounds like a great deal.

Think again.

Did the sellers make a gain or a loss by selling their flats at $100K above the purchase price in 2019?

Let’s dig deeper:

• 90% of the HDB loan was used to purchase the 4-room flat at $440K in 2009.

• For the completion of the sale, the seller has to return accrued CPF interests back to the CPF account used to service the housing loan over the last 10 years.

What are the total interests payable for holding onto a HDB flat for 10 years?

  1. HDB housing loan interests: $88,001.06
  2. Return of CPF Accrued Interests: Approx $53,200 

Approximately $141,200 

That's right. You sell your property for a sum of $100,000 above the original price, only to be slapped with total interests payable of $141,200.

A 4-room HDB flat for a first home? Maybe not that great a deal after all.

Option #2: A 3-room condominium

We tend to associate condominiums with cumbersome costs, but these figures may present another perspective:

All other factors (cash outlay and duration) being constant, 3-room condo purchases yielded close to a whopping $800K increase in capital gain (93% growth) on an average!

Not convinced? Let’s take it up a notch. 

Same players: 4-room HDB flat vs. 3-room condominium

Same duration and decade: 2009 – 2019

Location: Central Singapore – Tiong Bahru

Game on.

A 4-room HDB flat at Boon Tiong road located next to Tiong Bahru MRT Station yielded an average $235,000 increase in capital gain (39% growth).

Enjoying the same proximity to Tiong Bahru MRT Station, a 3-room unit at Central Green condominium yielded an average capital gain of $782 psf (113% growth).

That translates to $800,000 on an average!

Even before the final whistle is blown, there is a clear winner. 


But life is not a game. Your savings are not to be gambled with.

Imagine what your financial situation would look like if your money had worked harder for you.

30 years later, what rewards would you have reaped when your HDB flat has been fully paid? Take a look at the price appreciation for each HDB type since 1990.

The above charts shows the following HDB price appreciation from 1990 till date (Ang Mo Kio): 

3-room flat : from $46,000 to $315,000

4-room flat : from $85,500 to $466,000

5-room flat : from $130,000 to $515,000 

Imagine if your parents own one of the above HDB and is fully paid today, do you think they can downgrade & retire with sufficient monthly allowance?

Imagine retiring at 62 and living until 80 years old with a monthly allowance of $2,500  (husband and wife @ $1,250/pax). You'll need…

$2,500 x 12 mths x 18 years = $540,000 cash.

Assuming there are 4 scenerios
(calculated on average + minimum reno of $20k + selling at breakeven)

1) Sell your 5-room ($515k) + downgrade to 3-room ($315k) – reno ($20k) = $180k
2) Sell your 4-room ($466k) + downgrade to 3-room ($315k)  – reno ($20k)= $131k
3) Sell your 3-room ($315k) + downgrade to 2-room ($245k) – reno ($10k)  = $60k

Question: How long do you think the amount will last you?

How would you feel if your years of hard work hard for a fully paid up flat is actually insufficient to cushion your retirement when you need it most?

In comparison, here’s how private properties fare after 30 years, shown through their resale prices:


The above chart shows resale condo prices : growth towards 30years 

Pandan Valley: $1,180,000 to $2,630,000 (increase of $1,450,000) 

Lakepoint: $758,000 to $1,500,000 (increase of $742,000) 

Similarly base on downgrading to a 3-room flat for retirement (avg $315k) from a fully paid condo of $1,500,000 or even $2,630,000, how do you think the situation will fare differently?

At the end of the day, is paying $0 monthly mortgage in HDB really setting you up for your golden years?

Much can happen in 30 years – life is unpredictable that way.

If a fully-paid private property is a more reliable vehicle for retirement, wouldn't you intentionally plan for it?


Most of us start off similarly. We settle blissfully into our matrimonial homes.

The difference is that not everybody finishes quite as well.

What ensures a smoother finish?

Good choices. Backed by a wealth of knowledge and many nuggets of wisdom. Leverage on the experience and mistakes of those who have gone before you. 

You hear this across social media nowadays – How to own multiple properties without using all your savings, the fact is many have FAILED because they relied on their own limited experience and research rather than soughing out seasoned investors, the fact is, there are also thousands of ordinary HDB owners just like you who have successfully turned their HDB into a wealth-building asset and secured savings with a consistent monthly passive income even through the crisis. 

Here's the start of a roadmap…

The Key Lies In How You Manage Your CURRENT Property!

You're not too late, making the next decision right will significantly impact your finances down the road.

Does any of these sound familiar to you?


  • You are FEARFUL of market uncertainty.
  • You know property is a proven investment but fear high monthly installment
  • You're tired of the rat race, living from paycheck to paycheck with no job security
  • You feel inadequate with your cash savings
  • You're worried that your property cannot be rented out
  • You think investment is risky
  • You're waiting for property prices to drop further
  • You're stuck between stocks & fixed deposit vs property
  • Unsure of your plans during this Covid-19 crisis

We can help.

Starting this month, we are offering 12 FREE Consumer Empowerment Session Online every month (worth $380) with a seasoned property investor to guide you on recession-proofing your finances 

Sign up here (Link)

By the end of the session, you will learn proven strategies to :

  • 1) Significantly reduce your existing mortgage
  • 2) Reduce losses due to wrong CPF usage
  • 3) Accelerate your savings and build a rainy day fund of $300k or more in 3 years using a time-proven and a systematic step-by-step roadmap.

    Redeem Your Free Session (Button)


As always, stay hopeful, God is in control and our best days are ahead!

Yvonne Megan Lim
Investor & Fitness Junkie
Trainer, Adv Financial Calculations, PropNex

P.S – The life you desire, the marriage you deserve and the family you love will be fueled by the decisions that you make.

P.P.S – The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, the next best time is now – Warren Buffet.

Blessings favor the action takers, redeem your complimentary session and recession-proof your finances today (Link)

Are You Recession Proof?

Can you safely accelerate your savings for retirement in today's market?

Source:  The Smart Singaporean, Infopedia, Giphy
Produced by: Caleb Lim, Yvonne Goh, Chee Wei Zhong and Chen Li Ren