Some Condos Offer Discounts, 150 HDB Flat Owners Caught Buying Private Homes Within MOP, and More

Some Condos Offer Discounts, 150 HDB Flat Owners Caught Buying Private Homes Within MOP, and More
Some Condos Offer Discounts, 150 HDB Flat Owners Caught Buying Private Homes Within MOP, and More

16 to 22 May 2023

Several condominium projects, mostly in the Core Central Region (CCR), have offered discounts to attract buyers in April and May 2023. Meanwhile, some HDB flat owners have attempted to bypass the Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) by using a trust scheme to acquire or invest in properties under the names of their children.


1. Several condos offer discounts to move sales

Several condominium projects, mostly in the CCR, have offered discounts to attract buyers in April and May 2023, reported The Business Times.

At One Draycott, for instance, a 2-bedroom unit was offered at $2.2 million, down from its $2.7 million original price.

The Atelier in District 9 shifted 46 units in April 2023 alone, after offering a 7% discount on certain units.

Other projects that have also advertised promotions include The Avenir, One Bernam, The Lilium, and The Gazania.

Median prices for some projects have dropped since their initial launches, indicating potential deals at lower prices.

Analysts noted that developers may be offering discounts to beat Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) deadlines, cushion the impact of higher ABSD rates for foreign buyers, or finance their projects.

However, they do not expect the major discounting to continue.

“With developers facing high interest rates and construction costs, it is likely that prices will see a slight increase in the months ahead,” said Lee Sze Teck, Senior Director of Research at Huttons Asia.

Related article: What Do Singaporeans Think About the April 2023 Property Cooling Measures?


2. 150 flat owners caught bypassing MOP rule by purchasing private homes via trust

hdb flat

Some HDB flat owners have attempted to bypass the MOP – which prevents them from buying private homes until they have lived in their flats for five years – by using a trust scheme to acquire or invest in properties under the names of their children, reported The Straits Times.

In fact, HDB has caught some 150 flat owners who were violating this rule between 2018 and 2022.

Most of the people who violate the MOP restriction mistakenly thought they could bypass the rule by having the property go under the name of their children via a trust scheme or were wrongly advised by real estate agents.

Since bank loans are not available for trust purchases, typical buyers using this scheme are usually cash-rich investors. To deter speculators, the government has increased the ABSD for trust properties to 65%.

“HDB takes the violation of MOP regulations seriously and will not hesitate to take enforcement action against errant owners,” said a spokesman for HDB.

Those who violate the MOP restriction face various penalties, depending on the severity of their infringement, including financial penalties of up to $50,000 or the compulsory acquisition of their flat.


3. New private home sales surge 80% in April 2023

In April 2023, Singapore saw new private home sales rise to their highest level in seven months, on the back of strong take-up at two projects – Blossoms by the Park and Tembusu Grand, reported CNA.

Excluding Executive Condominiums (ECs), developers sold 887 units last month, up 80% month-on-month (MoM) and 34% year-on-year (YoY).

Of the 779 units launched in April 2023, Singaporeans accounted for most of the buyers – making up 84% of buyers at Blossoms by the Park and 90% at Tembusu Grand.

Analysts believe the new property cooling measures had minimal impact on local buyers, while foreign buyers seem to have been affected as their ABSD payable was doubled to 60%.

In fact, only eight foreigners purchased units at Blossoms by the Park.

While the cooling measures may lead to fewer acquisitions by foreigners, its “impact on overall transaction volume is expected to be minimal”, said Lee Sze Teck, Senior Research Director at Huttons Asia.

This comes as “almost 95% of buyers are either Singaporeans or permanent residents”, he added.

With the anticipated slowdown in foreign demand, analysts expect new private home sales to shrink in 2023, with developers pushing back some of the launches to H2 2023, particularly those in the prime areas.


4. More than 70% of flats in Bidadari are completed, the rest are to be completed by 2025

HDB revealed that 6,418 BTO flats within the new Bidadari estate, which account for over 70% of the project have been completed, with the remaining units set to be completed by 2025, reported CNA.

First unveiled in 2013, the new estate comprises 12 BTO projects spread across four districts – Bartley Heights, Alkaff, Woodleigh, and Park Edge.

Woodleigh’s three BTO projects were the first to be completed between September 2022 and March 2023. In fact, more than 90% of buyers have already collected the keys to their homes as of 30 April 2023.

Alkaff district, which is the largest with over 4,000 units, is next to be completed.

“Four out of five projects in the (Alkaff) district have been completed thus far, and residents have moved into their new flats,” shared HDB.

It added that Alkaff Breeze, the remaining project within the district is set for completion by mid-2024.


5. Enhanced CPF Housing Grants benefit 49,500 households since 2019

The Enhanced CPF Housing Grants (EHG) has benefitted 49,500 households purchasing their first flat since September 2019, reported The Business Times.

HDB revealed that it has disbursed a total of $1.56 billion since the grant was introduced in 2019.

Of the 49,500 households that benefitted from the EHG, 28,400 purchased a flat via HDB’s various modes of sale like the BTO and Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) exercises as well as the open booking.

The remaining 21,100 households bought an HDB resale flat.

“The EHG is part of a suite of support that the Government provides to ensure HDB flats remain affordable amid the strong demand,” said HDB.

With the grant and market discounts for BTO flats, around 90% of flat buyers who collected the keys for their new homes within non-mature estates in 2022 utilised a quarter or less of their monthly incomes to service their housing loans.

The figure stood at more than 80% for those who chose flats in mature estates.

“This means that they can service their HDB loans using their monthly CPF contributions, with little or no cash outlay,” noted HDB.

Related article: HDB Grant Eligibility: CPF Housing Grant Eligibility, Grants for Resale Flats, and More in Singapore (2023)


6. Private residential rents may ease in H2 2023


Private residential rents in Singapore continued to increase in the first quarter of 2023, albeit at a slightly slower rate of 7.2% QoQ, revealed Savills Research.

Meanwhile, private residential transactions declined 11.7% YoY in Q1 2023, or the lowest Q1 figure over the past six years.

Rental applications for HDB flats also fell 5.2% YoY, indicating that demand “is falling more out of economic driven factors than high rents pushing foreign demand away from Singapore”.

Looking ahead, Savills expect rental demand to soften in the second half of 2023 due to economic factors and a higher supply of new units.

With the completion of more private non-landed projects, landlords will likely become more willing to negotiate, something they were less likely to do at the beginning of the year.

Savills expects rents for non-landed private property within the mid-tier and mass market segments to increase by 5% to 10% this year, while luxury apartments may register a 10% to 15% hike.

This comes as the higher ABSD levy forces some foreign high-net-worth individuals to rent as they await their permanent residency or Singapore citizenship.

Related article: Will Rental Prices for HDB and Private Properties Come Down in 2023?


7. Property agents to face higher training requirements from October 2025

real estate agents

From October 2025, property agents in Singapore will have to attend 16 hours of training per year to renew their licence – up from the current six to nine hours, reported The Straits Times.

Of the 16 hours, 12 will be structured learning, such as courses on laws and regulations, property markets as well as other real estate-related classes.

The remaining four hours will be self-directed, which could include courses on customer service and digital marketing.

After a few years, the 16-hour requirement will be reviewed by the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA), with the target of increasing it to 24 training hours.

CEA noted that a total of eight new measures will be put in place by 2025 to make sure property agents provide more professional service.

Singapore Estates Agent Association President Adam Wang believes agents will take the new changes positively as these would allow them to upskill and gain more knowledge.

The changes will take effect only in 2025 to provide training centres time to adjust.


8. HDB resale prices continue to grow despite the April 2023 property cooling measures

Singapore has introduced three sets of property cooling measures in recent years in a bid to curb rising prices, reported CNA.

Notably, it has implemented cooling measures in December 2021, September 2022 and April 2023, with the latest set targeted at the private housing market, while the previous two were aimed at the public housing market.

Despite the measures, HDB resale prices continued to increase though at a slower rate than before.

The HDB resale price index rose 1% QoQ in Q1 2023. While it was slower than the 2.3% hike registered in Q4 2022, it was its 12th consecutive quarterly increase.

Analysts believe that the increased housing grant, rising interest rates and rising demand due to WFH needs may have spurred price growth for HDB resale flats.

The recent increase in ABSD may also have an indirect impact on HDB resale prices.

This could lead more people to hold back on their upgrading plans, or sell and rent in the interim.

If more people opt to hold back, then there would be fewer flats being put up for sale. But if more people decide to sell and rent, this could lead to increased demand in the rental market.


9. New private home prices to rise at a more sustainable pace

Experts predict private home prices to rise at a “more sustainable pace” in 2023, on the back of tighter financing conditions and macroeconomic headwinds, reported Singapore Business Review.

Private home price growth is expected to come in at 3% to 6%, compared to the 8.6% increase seen in 2022, mainly due to a weaker economic outlook.

Wong Siew Ying, PropNex Realty’s Head of Research and Content, anticipates private home prices in the Rest of Central Region (RCR) and the Outside Central Region (OCR) to remain relatively resilient, while the CCR – which usually attracts more foreign investment interest – will likely register a marginal decline in price growth this year.

“A potential pullback in investment demand among foreigners, especially for CCR homes could present more buying opportunities for Singaporeans and PRs,” said Wong.

Meanwhile, buyers also expect prices to further increase due to a moderation in interest rates.


10. Mainland Chinese property buyers most vulnerable to ABSD rate hike

Singaporeans are more optimistic about the property market, PropertyGuru Consumer Sentiment Study H1 2020 reveals

OrangeTee said foreign property buyers from Mainland China will be the most affected by the recent hike in ABSD rates, reported Singapore Business Review.

This comes as this group of buyers always constitutes the largest portion of the city-state’s foreign and Permanent Resident (PR) buyers.

In Q1 2023, non-PR and PR buyers from China acquired 316 landed homes. They also purchased 11 luxury condos, which account for 10.8% of the 1,025 luxury condos sold during the quarter.

With this, more property buyers from Mainland China are expected to acquire residential properties as new citizens or PRs in the future.

Meanwhile, Malaysian and Indian buyers stand to be less affected by the ABSD hike as most of them buy condos as PRs.


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Marcus Lee, Content Executive at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact him about this story, email:

This post was originally posted on Property Guru Property Market News Section