Should I buy my primary property now?

I brought my clients to see a rental property in Lion Towers two weekends ago. This couple became my clients one year ago when I helped them to source for a rental property. With their one year lease coming up, they were looking at other alternative rental properties they could consider. They were originally planning to buy something before their current lease expired but with half the time spent travelling, this busy couple did not find the time to look at properties for sale.

Should I buy my first property now?At the end of the viewing, the husband asked, “Jack, do you think we should buy something (condo for own stay) now at this point of the market cycle?”

I sat them down and shared with them what I felt was applicable for them.

Buyers buy properties essentially for two main reasons. The first is for their own stay as a primary residence while the second is as an investment, meant to be rented out. There are different criterias used for selecting a property that is suitable for one’s own stay and one that is meant to be an investment property. Many buyers and investors often confuse and mix up the criterias they use when deciding what to buy. I will not be covering the differences in this post.

What are you looking for?
The first point to consider is understanding the kind of properties that you will be interested to buy for your own stay. What is the supply like for this type of properties? Are such properties readily available? At any one time, there will always be properties in the market for sale. However, when it comes to something that you are happy to call your home, such a property may not always be on the market. It would be different if you are buying an investment property – you have a lot more options as long as you are not insistent on buying only units in that one or two projects or locations.

Property Market Cycle
There is no guarantee that in a market downturn, the type of properties that you like will definitely be on sale. And even if it is on sale, it does not necessarily mean you will be able to get it cheap. One project I took this couple to see was Parc Stevens. Let’s take a look at the figures in the following table:

Parc Stevens TransactionsAs the table shows, the transaction volume for Parc Stevens dried up during the global financial crisis in 2008 & 2009. Yet, prices remained pretty stable during that period.

Happy Owners
There are a lot of owners who are very happy with their primary residence. They have no intention to move and are often oblivious to how much their homes can fetch or how much their neighbours just sold their homes for. It does not bother or matter to them which part of the property market cycle they are in. Neither does it bother them if the price of their residence has not gone up since the time they bought.

Are you someone who is on the lookout to buy a primary residence and will very happily stay in that place for many years to come?

My Recommendation
If you are someone who will happily stay put once you find something suitable and you have specific requirements for a home, I would encourage you to ignore the market cycle and go ahead to buy if you see something suitable and this property is within what you are willing to put in. The added advantage to this is the opportunity to lock in the current low interest rate for the next couple of years and to clear the 4 years seller’s stamp duty earlier.

So what did my clients decide to do? They have extended the lease at their current place by one more year. The new rent that they will be paying is about 16% higher than what they paid last year. By the time the new one year lease expires, they would have paid about $120,000 in rent over the two-year period. The increase in price of the type of properties they are looking at  is easily above this level.

Over the next few months I will be meeting up with them whenever their schedule allows them to and will help them to identify suitable properties to buy. The target is to get something before the new lease expires. This is a high priority for them now and they have started the ball rolling by applying for an approval in principle (for mortgage loans) from the banks.

To buyers who are looking for properties to buy at the moment, do your homework, enjoy the process and I hope you find something really suitable for your needs.


Jack also assists investors to identify suitable properties to invest in.

If you have any needs or questions related to real estate,
do not hesitate to contact him @ +65-9337-8483.

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About Jack Sheo

A licensed and proactive real estate professional, Jack goes beyond just sourcing and marketing real estate properties. Efficient and approachable, he makes the whole experience easy and stress-free.
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