The high cost of property in Singapore is one reason why many young couples in Singapore may find that they need to have a long engagement before they can get married, or feel that they need to delay having kids until later in their marriage.
Working through the possible housing options is usually when many young couples face their first problem solving and conflict challenges in their relationship. It is an especially important issue as it combines several issues such as financial attitudes, relationships with the extended family, lifestyle expectations and when to start a family.
Buying Direct from the HDB
This is possibly the most financially prudent option for first-time married couples who qualify in terms of combined family income and other factors set by the Housing Development Board (HDB). Doing so allows you to benefit from government subsidies as well.
There are however, a few things to note when buying a BTO, DBSS or Executive Condominium. In most cases, you will have to wait about 2 to 4 years as HDB will need to complete building your new home. During this time, you will need to decide what your housing options will be. Many young couples choose to live at home or with their in-laws. Whilst this is a possible option, it does mean that you will have to adjust to your in-laws family practices and also to not having a free rein in your own home before your marriage.
New flats from the HDB are likely to be in newer estates where amenities such as schools and other facilities may not be as numerous. They will however, be cheaper in price and the fact that the full cost of the HDB will only be realised in a few years’ time allows you to delay the onset of interest repayments and gives you a longer window to save for any renovation costs which you might incur when you take possession of your new HDB.
Getting a Resale HDB Flat
For couples who don’t qualify for a flat directly from the HDB, there is the option to buy an HDB flat on the resale market. Whilst these flats are typically more expensive, buying one gives you a few immediate advantages. First, they are ready for occupation almost at once, so you won’t have to worry about where you will live before your flat is ready. Secondly, they are often larger and in mature estates, making them more pleasant to live in from the onset. Finally, if you are able to buy one in relatively good condition, you may not have to spend as much to renovate it.
Living with Parents
This is an option which many young couples in land-scarce Singapore choose. Provided your parents and in-laws are open to the idea of you staying with them in their family home, then this allows you to get married and start a family sooner rather than later. It is also, in the long run the most cost-effective and financially beneficial solution for the extended family unit as a whole.
It does mean however, that from day one of your marriage, that life will not be about just the two of you. You will have to take the feelings and preferences of your extended families into consideration in every decision you make together. This can be incredibly stressful for some couples.
However, if you are blessed with a family in which this solution works, then you will never have to worry about having to do all the household chores on your own, or about whether or not your children will be cared for if both of you choose to work. In an extended family household, all the household responsibilities get spread out and you know that you will always have a support system and a safety net at home.
Renting a Property
For couples who can’t wait to start life together and who want the excitement of choosing and decorating a place of their own and having enough privacy to work through the early stages of marriage together, renting a property is another possibility.
Whilst it means that the money you spend on rent will be a pure expense and will not go towards building a future nest egg, it does allow you to choose a property that both of you feel happy with and to begin your married life immediately. It is also a possible interim measure you take whilst you wait for your HDB flat together.
Buying a Private Property
For some, this is the “Singapore Dream”- being able to buy and live in your own private property. However, in Singapore, this usually means many years of saving up for the initial down payment, and then many more years of loan repayments in order to realise this dream.
It might mean that as a couple you will need to wait several years before getting married and starting a family as you will need to build up your savings in order to purchase a private property. It might also mean that you will need to plan your careers more carefully and that both of you will have to work for many years instead of having at least one of you take time off to stay at home with your kids when you decide to start a family.
An additional consideration might arise if your parents or in-laws are financing the purchase of your first property. In this case, you may need to assess how much say they will expect to have in your decisions about the property and how comfortable you and your spouse might feel about that.
Choosing your first home is can be both exciting and stressful for newly-weds.
Despite the scarcity of land in Singapore, there are still many housing options available for young couples.
It is best to choose a new home which balances financial prudence with maintaining positive relationships with your extended families. You can refer to this useful infographic guide on Redbrick to learn more about Singapore housing loans.