I bought my first property in Singapore! And my story goes like this…
Prior to starting my own consultancy business, I was a freelance property writer and real estate agent. The income was irregular and I didn’t save much. After a business venture turned sour in 2013, I had to dig into my own savings to start over.
I applied for a flat under the Housing and Development Board’s (HDB) Built-To- Order (BTO) scheme in July 2014. It was during the second balloting in August that I managed to get my flat. While I was elated, the HDB subsequently told me my HDB loan was not approved because my business was less than a year old.
I subsequently sought help from my MP who wrote an appeal letter on my behalf. We did not have much choice as my mom and I desperately needed a home. In the end, the appeal was successful – God bless my MP!
I subsequently booked a unit in Punggol for S$138,790. I chose Punggol because the township was fairly new. Although it was far away from the city, I knew this was my best bet as I needed an affordable home with great room for capital appreciation.
I had studied and even written about the Punggol 21 masterplan showing where the LRT stations will be built within the vicinity. On top of that, the Waterway @ Punggol, a water and landscaping feature of the township, had won an international environment prize. Therefore, I knew this area, which many people deemed as “ulu”, had a lot of potential for growth.
For the financing part, I had to pay an option fee of S$500 and a 10 percent down payment. Luckily, my Central Provident Fund (CPF) savings was quite a lot and I could use my CPF for my 10 percent down payment, plus legal fees and such.
I was also qualified for grants of S$25,000. With my CPF savings of S$56,090 (after setting aside stamp and legal fees) and a loan amount of S$57,700, the monthly mortgage worked out to S$270 a month.
Ensuring the affordability of my monthly mortgage is crucial, especially when I had just started my business and needed to keep myself afloat. Things then began to look up. I was beginning to get noticed on the other side of the causeway and was getting regular speaking engagements from Malaysian developers.
While I am glad that the dark clouds had passed, the moral of the story is housing affordability is not just a Malaysian issue, it is a Singaporean problem as well.
Khalil Adis is the author of the best-selling ‘Property Buying for Gen Y’. He is a property journalist, a sought-after speaker, and a real estate consultant, well-known for his independent reviews and commentaries. He has his own consultancy business which presents a myriad of services which include property and market research, due diligence, editorial, content management and speaking engagements in the regional property market.
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