9 cheapest condos in Singapore: Studio apartments under $600k

High-rise private apartment condominiums in the Scotts Road and Cairnhill area.
PHOTO: The Straits Times file

“Cheap” is a relative term. To people from anywhere else in the world, nothing in Singapore is really cheap except the bus, MRT and hawker food.

But if you’ve been trawling through property listings in search of a condo, at some point any property under the $1 million mark starts to look like it could be sold at Daiso.

To weed out the best deals in the bargain bin, here are the cheapest condos currently available on 99.co.

(Disclaimer: MoneySmart is not being paid by 99.co. They don’t even know we’ve been trawling through their site for this article. All photos are grabbed from 99.co listings.)

9 cheapest condos in Singapore under $600,000

Condo

Nearest MRT

Price

The Hillford

Beauty World

$505,000

Parc Rosewood

Woodlands / Woodlands South

$528,000

Kovan Grandeur

Kovan

$538,000

High Park Residences

Thanggam LRT / Sengkang MRT

$549,000

Pavilion Square

Aljunied

$550,000

Sol Acres

Teck Whye LRT / Bukit Panjang MRT

$568,000

Stratum

Pasir Ris

$570,000

Glasgow Residence

Kovan

$588,000

Avila Gardens

Tampines East

$580,000

1. The Hillford

There’s a reason The Hillford is so cheap. It was conceived as a “retirement resort” composed of 1- and 2-bedroom apartments, and comes with a lease of only 60 years.

That said, there is no age requirement for buyers or residents. At $505,000 for this 398 sq ft one-bedroom apartment, you might even have some money left over to actually retire.

The 2017 condo is located at Jalan Jurong Kechil in the Upper Bukit Timah area about 8 minutes’ walk from Beauty World MRT and within walking distance of the area’s food and lifestyle area along Cheong Chin Nam Road.

It’s also a good location for those who’ve morphed into nature lovers during Covid, as both the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and Bukit Batok Nature Park are only 15 minutes’ walk away.

Price: $505,000 ($1,268.84 psf)

2. Parc Rosewood

Parc Rosewood is an example of a condo that is cheap because of its far-flung location in Woodlands. This 431 sq ft unit is just $528,000, with the potential for further cost savings if you do your groceries in JB when borders reopen.

In non-Covid times, this location would have been ideal for people who spent lots of time in JB and wanted to do everyday stuff like go to the dentist across the Causeway.

Right now, the condo’s saving grace is that it’s got access to two MRT lines, Woodlands on the North South Line and Woodlands South on the Thomson-East Coast Line, if you don’t mind walking over 15 minutes to get to them.

Price: $528,000 ($1,225.06 psf)

3. Kovan Grandeur

Don’t mind squeezing into a shoebox studio apartment? Then this 366 sq ft studio at Kovan Grandeur might be for you. While “grandeur” is most certainly false advertising, at $538,000, you can’t really ask for more.

While the location in the Hougang area isn’t exactly what I’d call central, it’s not really boondock-level ulu and Kovan MRT is a comfortable 11 minutes’ walk away.

Price: $538,000 ($1,469.95 sq ft)

ALSO READ: 7 affordable 4-bedroom condos for $1.1m or cheaper (for bigger families)

4. High Park Residences

This 388 sq ft studio apartment is yet another example of how you can always find cheap condo units in ulu locations. The unit, which costs $549,000, is located in Sengkang, which doesn’t sound that bad, until you discover that you’ll have to take the LRT.

Thanggam LRT station is only 5 minutes’ walk away, but if you want to skip the LRT and get to the MRT straight away, you’ll need to factor in almost 30 minutes of walking to Sengkang MRT.

Price: $549,800 ($1,417.01 psf)

5. Pavilion Square

Living in Geylang isn’t that bad. You get to eat durian whenever you want, amongst other things. Another advantage of living smack in the middle of the red light district is that properties tend to be quite cheap, considering you’re living on the city fringe.

Take this 1-bedroom, 398 sq ft condo unit in Pavilion Square, for example. Located on Geylang Road by Lorong 16, it’s a friggin’ freehold apartment for just $550,000, located 8 minutes’ walk from Aljunied MRT.

Price: $550,000 ($1,381.91 psf)

6. Sol Acres

Sol Acres is actually an Executive Condo (EC) whose first owners moved in in 2019. So, the property still has 8 years to go before it gets converted to private property. But hey, that means you’ll get to apply for CPF grants if you buy it now.

This 1-bedroom unit costs just $568,000 and measures 495 sq ft, which is practically palatial as far as 1-bedroom condos go.

However, you’ll have to be content with living quite a distance from the nearest MRT station, Bukit Panjang, which is about 21 minutes’ walk away. Alternatively, Teck Whye LRT station is only 6 minutes’ walk away, but everybody in that area hates the LRT so that’s perhaps not really a plus.

Price: $568,000 ($1,147.47 psf)

ALSO READ: 10 cheapest dual-key new launch condominiums in 2021

7. Stratum

Studio apartments usually mean the sleeping and living areas are not separate, but at this newly-renovated studio apartment at Stratum, a partition has been built between the two. At 474 sq ft, it’s quite spacious, so you’re essentially buying a 1-bedroom apartment for the price of a studio.

Situated on Elias Road across the road from Elias Mall and a short walk from Pasir Ris Park, it’s in a rather nice location. Pasir Ris MRT is a bit far away at 18 minutes, but given the low psf price, I think it’s still worth it.

Price: $570,000 ($1,202.53 psf)

8. Glasgow Residence

Glasgow Residence is a small 5-storey apartment block located in a low-density pocket in the Hougang/Kovan area, 11 minutes’ walk from Kovan MRT.

The property has basic facilities like two small swimming pools and barbecue pits, and that’s about it. The upside of living in a smaller condo is of course that you don’t have to share the common areas with thousands of noisy neighbours and their kids.

This 420 sq ft, 1-bedroom unit is one of the more expensive condos on this list, but it’s still quite cheap considering it’s a 999-year leasehold property, ie. virtually freehold. Actually, it’s marked as a 1-bedroom unit but based on the pictures it looks more like a studio. Best to book an appointment if you really want to know the truth.

Price: $588,000 ($1,400 psf)

9. Avila Gardens

Avila Gardens is located in a low density area in the east, very near Changi Airport which has been relegated to being nothing more than a big shopping mall since 2020.

The main downside is that the nearest MRT, Tampines East, is a sweat-inducing 20 minutes’ walk away, making it less troublesome to take a plane to a neighbouring country than to get to work in the CBD.

This freehold studio apartment costs just $580,000 and is quite spacious at 463 sq ft — big enough to separate the sleeping area with a screen, as the owners have done.

Price: $580,000 ($1,252.70 psf)

ALSO READ: 6 newly launched condominiums with actual price decreases in 2021

Can you afford the condo downpayment?

When buying a condo, your only financing option is a bank loan — the HDB loan is, of course, not applicable.

As with all bank loans, borrowing restrictions apply. You’ll need to put down a condo downpayment of at least 25 per cent, of which at least 5 per cent must be in cash. The remaining 20 per cent can be paid in cash and/or with CPF Ordinary Account savings

So, to buy a $600,000 condo, you need to fork out at least $30,000 in cash, and at least $150,000 in CPF OA. Not enough in your CPF? You’ll need to top up the balance in cash.

You’ll also need to factor in extra costs like legal fees and registration fees, which should cost you anywhere from about $1,000 to $2,000, as well as stamp duty, which for a $600,000 would cost you $12,600 provided you are a Singaporean who doesn’t own any other properties.

Finally, assuming you manage to borrow the maximum of 75per cent, you’re looking at monthly repayments of $1,500 for a 25 year loan, not including any interest.

Save a bit of cash by picking a home loan with an attractive interest rate with the help of MoneySmart’s home loan wizard.

Things to note before you buy a condo

Other than the price and the location, you might want to consider the following factors before splashing out on a condo:

Size: Condos are priced at a premium, so you’ll get much less per square foot than you would with an HDB flat. Something to think about if you think you might need more space in future.

HDB eligibility: If you decide to buy an HDB flat one day, you’ll have to sell your condo at least 30 months before.

If you successfully ballot for a BTO flat, you can time the sale of the condo for 30 months before picking up the keys to the flat, but if you buy a resale flat you’ll have to arrange for alternative accommodation for 30 months before moving into your new place.

Lease: Freehold or leasehold? If you have kids you want to inherit your wealth, freehold property retains its value much better but is more expensive.

This article was first published in MoneySmart.