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'Sexy single' asks on Reddit: Older but cheaper HDB flat, or newer but more expensive one?

'Sexy single' asks on Reddit: Older but cheaper HDB flat, or newer but more expensive one?
PHOTO: Unsplash

A Redditor who identifies as a 'sexy single' posted a thread on Reddit asking other singles in Singapore, sexy or otherwise, whether they would choose to buy an older but cheaper flat or a newer but costlier one.

The thread garnered more than a hundred comments, with an overwhelming majority of commenters stating that they would choose to buy an older flat.

The most common ones were location, locale, and price, as older flats tend to have a lower per-square-foot (psf) cost.

Most Singaporeans follow the usual rite of passage: Meet their other halves in their twenties, apply for BTO, collect the unit in five years, get married and move in together. All of this usually happens in their late twenties to early thirties.

However, if you identify with the 'sexy single' Reddit user, you might be on your phone scrolling through the countless posts of friends celebrating wedding anniversaries and kids' birthdays while you contemplate a solo night of Netflix and chill.

Despite being single, you're not alone. According to statistics, there's been a year-on-year increase in singles of all ages below 50.

So, with the minimum age being set at 35 to buy an HDB as a single, do you download all the dating apps and start furiously swiping so you can find a spouse before even considering property ownership?

Or, do you embrace sexy singlehood and find a place to call your own as soon as you blow out the candles on your 35th birthday, without having to share it with anyone else?

If you've gone with option number two, this article's for you. 

So, you're single. Which HDB do you pick?

Here's the good thing about being single. You can pick any house you like and decorate it however you want. There's no one to tell you not to hang that giant Batman poster on the living room wall or that you need to have matching bowls and plates. 

However if you're single, you can only apply for 2-room BTO units in non-mature estates. Hello? Singles need space too, right?  

For more space, you'd need to turn to the resale market where you're not bounded by estates or flat size. 

So here's the question, would you get an older but cheaper flat, or a newer unit that's more expensive?

The general consensus amongst those who commented on the Reddit post is that buying an older HDB flat would be their preferred option over a newer one. Here's why:

Location, location, location

Choosing to buy an older flat means unlocking a wider selection of locations, including prime neighbourhoods such as Toa Payoh or Holland Village.

Mature estates already have a hub of well-developed amenities in place, so you don't need to travel too far for groceries or services. 

Some favour familiarity, choosing to buy a home in the stomping ground so they can continue to enjoy their neighbourhood.

Here are some things you should consider when it comes to location:

Schools. If you're not planning to remain single, do you have a primary school in mind for your future mini-me? 

Green spaces. Love nature? Pick a place where you can jog to the nearby park and enjoy the fresh air and lush trees.

Malls. For the urbanites who love to wander through sprawling malls, you might want a place that's a few bus stops away from the nearest mega mall. 

Supermarket. Are you a bonafide Gordon Ramsey in the kitchen? Having a supermarket right below your block is a must, so you don't need to break your back lugging groceries home. 

Work. Get in that extra hour of sleep by living near your workplace. Great for workaholics. 

Connectivity. Those who don't plan on having a car might want to look at units near the MRT, because there's nothing worse than having to change multiple buses just to get to a train station. 

At least this guy has his priorities right. Midnight coke runs, anybody? 

Size is king

For some, size and layout take centre stage when picking a home. Having your own little corner of the world in land-scarce Singapore is more valuable than choosing a new flat with lesser lease decay. 

Many on the Reddit thread expressed that they would never even consider a two-room BTO as having a spacious home is high on their list of priorities.

Older flats are generally more spacious than newer ones. Many singles feel that even though they would be living alone, having ample space is still important to them.

Flats built before 1998 also don't have a bomb shelter built yet, so every inch of your house is usable living space. 

Newer flats are designed with smaller kitchens. Those who love whipping up meals will find it quite the squeeze, so they opt for older resales with a larger cooking area.


For some, it all comes down to the dollars and cents — most of those who commented shared how they felt that the older flats had a lower PSF price.

Some even said that they would instead get a bigger space even if the price were the same, as they would get more 'house' for the same amount of money.

A concern of buying an older flat is the lease decay, as naturally, a significant portion of the lease has run out, leaving behind an average of 50-60 years remaining. This could be a problem for owners looking to sell their flat in future.

However, most commenters felt that as long as the lease covered them for the remaining years of their life, it was sufficient enough.

Many were looking at the flat as a forever home instead of an investment piece.

However, it's not all sunshine and rainbows with older flats as it does come with several drawbacks. These are things that one has to consider when choosing to buy an older unit.

Wear and tear

Older flats definitely come with greater wear and tear, so be sure to factor that into your renovation budget when picking an older unit. 

There may also be the issue of worn-out built-in carpentry and cracked tiles, which will weigh heavy on your wallet when it comes to hacking and demolition costs.

No cockroaches, please

Flats with the rubbish chute located within the kitchen might be convenient if you're the sort who hates making the long trek to dispose of your daily trash. But, it comes with the con of having unwanted guests intruding in your home from time to time.

We're talking about cockroaches. 

There's nothing worse than coming home after a long day at work only to find a six-legged foe hanging out in your living room. Also, we don't need to remind you that cockroaches can fly. 

Those who still favour an older resale but hate having the rubbish chute in the house can opt to board it up so you don't get any nasty surprises. 

Houses built in the 1990s onwards have a centralised refuse chute, so you can sleep soundly at night knowing you won't have any unwanted housemates in your apartment.  

Pro tip: Roll up an old towel and place it at your door entrance to prevent any creepy crawlies from getting into your home during the scheduled fogging days. 

With all of these in mind, we hope it helps you plan what sort of HDB unit you would like for your future bachelor/bachelorette pad.

This article was first published in

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