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5 things to know about the housing market before buying a flat

With the constantly fluctuating trends in the housing market, it gets hard, albeit important, to keep up – especially if you are planning to buy a new home, or even sell an existing one. Luckily, ValueChampion has gathered some helpful insights and key factors that current and future homeowners should take note of!

Here are 5 things you should know about the housing market and its trends.

 

cost of housing in singapore from 1990 - 2018 chart

 

1. Know your market

As shown in the image above, HDB flat resale prices have settled down over the past five years, but prices and price trends vary across different areas of Singapore. For example, heading into 2019, Central and Queenstown remain the most expensive neighbourhoods for resale flats. Other notable trends include a 15 per cent increase in price for Clementi 4-room resale flats from 2017 to 2018. On the other hand, the average price of the same flats in Jurong East and Serangoon fell by 10 per cent during the same period.

median HDB resale prices by neighourhood chart

This highlights the importance of thoroughly researching the markets within the neighbourhoods you are interested in.

Tip: Browse through property listings on sites like PropertyGuru, 99.co and SRX Property. This helps you get a better understanding of how much homes are listed for in your desired neighbourhood!

 

2. Keep up with BTO sales launch announcements

Resale opportunities aside, potential homeowners will be interested to know that there will be 15,000 new flats launching in 2019. The first launch included around 3,100 units in Jurong West, Kallang/Whampoa and Sengkang. Meanwhile, the next launch will occur in May and will feature around 3,480 homes in Tengah, Woodlands and Kallang/Whampoa. If you're seeking brand new homes at relatively affordable prices, keep a look out for these BTO flats! In order to make your home purchase as affordable as possible, make sure to monitor HDB's website, as well as track the best home loan rates for BTO flats.

 

Read more: Laundry at home vs laundromat services – which is cheaper?

 

3. Keep an eye on the U.S. Federal Reserve

While a myriad of factors can impact housing prices in Singapore, it's always worth considering the potential fluctuation of interest rates. This can affect current and prospective homeowners, as many home loan and home loan refinancing rates tend to follow these market interest rates and can change frequently.

Traditionally, interest rates in Singapore, such as SIBOR and SOR tend to closely follow interest rates in the United States, as shown in the graph below. As such, it's important for current and future homeowners to be aware of trends and announcement regarding interest rates in the United States.

historical trend chart for SIBOR 1999-2018

To monitor home loan rates in Singapore and calculate your estimated monthly payments, use this handy home loan tool – it compares the best rates available in the country, based on your personal preferences!

 

4. Be aware of changes in government policy

Just as last summer's cooling measures had a significant impact on the price of private homes, future government actions may have impacts of similar significance in 2019. According to Saxo's Singapore-based globarl macro strategist Kay Van-Petersen, government policy remains the biggest factor for housing prices. As such, in order to avoid any major surprises, current and future homeowners are advised to keep track of news regarding government initiatives in the housing market.

 

Read: 6 little known facts about home insurance coverage

 

5. New home loan products: 5-year fixed rate loans

Recently, home lenders have been offering fixed rate home loans with 5-year lock-in periods. This type of loan has not been offered in Singapore for over 10 years and offers homebuyers the opportunity to secure rates for a longer period of time. This type of loan can be advantageous for those who expect interest rates will rise during the first five years of their loan. However, in the case of 2019, it may be worth waiting to see how central banks around the world will change their rates going forward, as the previous expectation of continued rate hike may now be reconsidered.

Tip: Shop around before choosing a home loan – the best options just might save you 20-30 per cent compared to the average home loan!

 

Remember, rates can change frequently, so always stay up to date on the best rates available! This way, you'll be able to anticipate shocks to the housing market.

 

This article was first published on ValueChampion.

 

 

 

 

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