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Tuesday, 23 April 2013

HDB - Is the price a bargain?

Female readers out there, if you are into handbags, you will be able to spot bargains when you are travelling to Europe or US - be it Prada, LV, or Coach. 

You have to act quick! There is no time to call friends or relatives back in Singapore to check the retail prices back home.

If you hesitate for a moment, the bitch standing next to you will grab the handbag and you will spend the whole trip sulking.

It's the same for male readers. COE prices dipped below $10,000 some years back. Those who "knew" the car market would have maxed out on a 10 years car loan with minimum deposit - never mind if it's the "wrong" thing to do on paper.

You would have been much better off than those who felt its "safer" to save up a meaningful deposit first so you can limit the car loan to not more than 5 years. Yup, you "saved" on interest; but you got "scxxwd" by the mercurial rise in COE prices by waiting... 

The moral of the story is that if you know what you are buying, you will know instinctively whether something is expensive, fair value, or at a bargain.  No need to ask gurus or your friends. You can squeeze the trigger yourself!

A HDB flat is usually the biggest big ticket purchase for working class readers who are like me. However, it amazes me that most people would spend more time doing research buying a washing machine or big screen LED TV than getting themselves "in-tuned" with the HDB market.

I would like to share 2 real life stories on the advantage of being in the know on what you buy:

Story A - me!

During my time, I can only buy a resale HDB flat when I reach 35 years young. So at 30, I was already eagerly on countdown. During my free time, I was flipping the papers to get an idea of the HDB prices in Queenstown.

I bought my 55 sq m 3S corner flat in Queenstown for $124,000. Officially, this 3 room flat is not a corner unit as it's an old design - the corner corridor outside belongs to HDB. A normal corridor 3S is selling at $118,000.

I saw this unit in the morning and closed the deal in the night. My math not good but thank goodness I just needed primary school math.

After buying this unit, I bought from HDB the 9 sq m corner corridor for $1,000. (Where in Singapore can buy 9 sq m for S1,000? HDB good or what?)
$118,000 divided by 55 sq m =
$124,000 divided by 55 sq m =

$125,000 divided by 64 sq m = 

Story B - my sibling

My sibling bought a 3I HDB flat in Holland Village area last year with cash over valuation at $12,000 only!?

Never mind Holland V area -  where in Queenstown can get this "low" COV?  

I know what you are thinking. Could be a murder or horrible death unit? Or O$P$ ah long harassment unit? This can be easily ascertained if you knock on doors and ask the neighbours.

It's like the handbag example. When I say know the market or product, it meant you have the street smarts to know whether it's genuine or fake.

My sibling came, saw, and closed the deal there and then. No let me think about it. The amazing thing is that there were 5 clients who saw this flat before her! 

How to get to know the HDB market

1) Newspaper classified ads

2) Take a glance at the HDB ads junk mail in your letter box before you throw them away 

3) And for those IT savvy, HDB Singapore

I'll throw in this bonus. Sometimes price is not everything. How to know whether a new BTO HDB flat or an older resale HDB flat is better for you?

Attend house warming parties and invite yourself to friends' flats duh!

You may discover you don't like the size or layout of the new BTO flats. You may prefer HDB flats from certain era. For eg, do you know the differences between 3S, 3I, 3A, and 3NG?

Is your knowledge from floor plans or from kicking the tires?

Price is not everything. That's why to you paying $1 million for a 5 room HDB is crazy; but to the new owner, it's a bargain! For that location, that view, that size, its priceless!   



  1. i dick (correct spelling?) out another 2 songs that origin was japanese.



    i did not know before hand, they are my favourates.

    1. these are the mandarin versions,



    2. i don't care you bring the best instrument in the world or hire the best voice on the planet, i just want the origin.

      the origin is the most valuable as far as i'm concern.

    3. As for me, I don't mind re-interpretations.

      Same song, different musical arrangements or different sing style can be refreshing.

      Hmm... Maybe that's why I still single...

    4. no wonder you lack of creative mind haha. keep producing copies.

      we accept copies and keep inside ourself, and we create something to show to others, that should be the way.

      what am i saying haha....

    5. Alas, I am bounded by my mediocrity :(

      You think why I enjoy talking to you?

      I only got one screw loose... You unconventional logic may help loosen my other screws ;)


  2. depends on whether you need it or not, if you need it badly, price is cheap, if no need a dollar is still expensive.

    if you buy a bottle of water cost $10,000! thats very very cheap if you bought it at the dasert where you almost sure of thirst to death.

    1. after a while never blog, i got this feeling my english becomes very poor haha.

    2. LOL!

      We both now no longer in school. No one marking our england.

      Be ourselves. Language is meant to express; not to impress.

      You have your own coconut signature writing style :)

    3. Exactly!

      My daughter used to comment that my posts got many england errors. But, I told her that I am not asking readers to mark england essay leh.

    4. CW,

      That makes 3 "wo xing wo su" writers ;)

    5. if only my buddy is as smart as you, i think it was 2005 or 06 i insist he buy a 3 room HDB for investment and rental income, he is single too and rental at that time was i think around $700 for the unit, he had some CPF for down payment. he can use the rental to pay off the instalment.

      i remeber i look out for him and 3 room at that time was around 130-160K, %@$#%# he didn't buy!

    6. the reason i insist is this, do the maths and i remeber calculate the investment yield was around 7-9% after consider the grand and other benefit our Govt gives. where to get this type of returns with so little risk!!??

    7. coconut,

      As a single, no one will take care of us. Lagi must take care of ourselves first!

      I guess that's the benefit of singlehood. No illusions about can depend on wife, can depend on children, can depend on "ah kong" to take care of us.

      No entitlement mentality. We are last at the pecking order.

      I must say it's a nice touch for "ah kong" to change policy to allow singles to buy BTO flats in non-mature estates.

      If singles don't take advantage of it now, I am sure in 10 years' time they will still complain "ah kong" not fair to them. Huh?

      Some singles have psychological mental blocks:

      1) Denial about their single status - still holding out for the perfect one so they can apply HDB as a couple.

      2) Enjoy being "looked after" by family and friends - buying flat means they are declaring their independence...

      3) I better stop before I get clobbered. There is a big difference between single by choice and single "bo bian"...

      As traders, we both know it's the psychological part that destroys most traders, not their intelligence (or lack of).

    8. as a trader we must learn to overcome all these psycho "disorder", if you can't do it in life, what makes you think you can do it in trading? in trading we have a lot of "bo bian" also.

      by the way, what make you think we (ppl who have children) can depends on our children in our old age, thats a wishful thinking, i will consider lucky if they don't depends on me forever.

    9. ya talk about single, you would have a lots of psycho problems when comes to old age, your friend will be gone one by one if you are lucky enough. having close family members just around by your side makes a whole world of different.

    10. just like trading, you have to think long term, the whole picture.

      i must say i didn't plan marriage and children, it comes naturally and i was lucky. i never takes my family for granted.

      and just like trading, if you only pursure your own freedom and happiness (only wanted profit in trading), then you are in illusion. life is never about freedom and happiness, is about the ups and down and the experiences.

    11. Wow coconut!

      1) I like your philosophy!

      Life is indeed not about cherry-picking the good ones only. Without the bad, how do we know when it's good?

      2) No need to wait till my "young" age (I grow younger each day), I now already have lots of psycho issues! LOL!

      Thank goodness I am on the journey to gain AWARENESS of my flaws and issues. So it's both fun and frightening...

      3) No planning for me too. I am working on my mental serenity to accept whatever life throws at me:

      I may meet another soul mate (I had; she belongs to someone else)

      Mom may go on to a happy place (and I then travel 9 months out of the year like the HK man of leisure)

      I may be hit by an illness or accident (all plans go to hell!)

      I may strike Toto first prize as the sole winner (provided CW give way of course!)

      All I know is that the past 18 months on sabbatical from work to be with mom is the happy decision.

      I could be now in Sweden making more zeroes in my bank account; but if mom leaves or I get sick, I'll have lots of regrets...

      Making decision is more important than planning.

      (Of course after you clear out those "bo-bian" that are self-inflicted)

    12. what soul mate!?

      use your animal instinct!!! of cos must follow the law la.

      ya, i like point number 2, just like trading, fun but scary in discovering yourself. once you acknowledge your flaw, you can overcomes it.

    13. ofcos you have to think in terms of trading to overcome it, cos in trading, if you don't you are dead!

    14. but in life, you always get away with it, and worst you began to think its ok not to overcomes it, back to square one.

  3. i'm considering buying into M'sia stocks. anyone any comment?

    1. coconut,

      Younger readers may not have heard about the CLOB wild west cowboy days; while older readers may still be nursing bad memories from the CLOB saga.

      You may want to check out this site where Malaysian finance bloggers hang out:


      Who knows about Malaysia stocks better than the locals?

      Be gentle with your questions OK? Let them get used to your style of writing ;)

      I've heard stories about Malaysian stocks from older colleagues - they made a lot of money; and lost even more!

      It sure made our penny stock runs and S-chips episodes pale in comparison.

      By the way, I like this Malaysian blogger, what he blogs about got substance one:


    2. thanks,

      i tell you about my clob experience.

      1997/98 asia financial crises, during the very bottom of the market, there was a very very wide spread between clob and the m'sia counter, i went in and buy public bank and many other counters range from 10C to 20c! m'sia counter was trading almost double the price, unbelievable!!!

      until the next day i call my brother to sell off all my share at a loss of only a few thousand dollars, i throw in the towel, i know somehow something was not right. the next day, m'sia anounce capital control and disown all clob counter traded in s'pore.

      i was happy that i only lost a few thousand, my friends are stuck with all the clob shares. what a time!

    3. however my friend was able to sell his shares a few years later which he told me, with a nice profit, we all bought them at the very bottom of the market.

    4. ok share with you this one, another chinese copy japanese song.


      how can they do that? no copy right infrienment? i especially hate those chinese songs copy from english one!

    5. Friend,

      Got pay royalty to the song writer (or record label depending on who owns the copyright) one lah!

      Lyricist lose out; but the song writer would love that their song is cover by as many singers as possible.

      Ka ching!

      This is a great source of "passive" income provided you have a monster hit.

  4. sure?

    finally find one that is the reverse, i'm 100% sure this is a chinese origin and sing by my favorate.

    one of the best ever writen!

    1. oh i forgot haha


    2. of cos, during that time, the japs takes whatever they like from the chinese.

    3. coconut,

      Music has no boundaries. You like you like; don't like don't like.

      It's good to have cultural exchanges through music, films, literature and the arts.

      Just look at K-pop. Before the korean wave, we hardly knew anything about Korea except Arirang.

      I hope one day we can export our own unique Singapore culture abroad too.

      OK, with the number of students taking literature today, literature may decline for a while further; but Singapore films, arts, and music got future!!!

      We need a cultural soul besides top GDP per capita; best airport; best business destination, etc :)

    4. wah, PAP need candidates le haha....

      what unique culture? all i see is copy here and there, nothing against copy, we need to especially when we are a young country but we seriously lack of creative part.

      the govt follow what other govt are doing and we follow what the govt is doing. we becomes most part a "following" nation and we the "following" citizens.

      following comes from outside but creative comes from inside.

    5. just like trading, we need both following mindset and contrarian mindset (creative) to be able to survive in the long run.

      good in only one side will quickly get you into trouble pretty soon.

    6. smol, i'm going for my dental ops starting next month le, very scary inside haha. its more complicated than i thought and takes more than 1 ops to complete the whole process until implants. just having an evaluation this morning gives me all the cold swate all over and i think i starting to get a fever believe it or not.

    7. coconut,

      I give you power!

      I had an operation on my wisdom tooth many years ago. No pain.

      Look at it this way, after your operation, you can flash your "new improved" pearly whites at the mei meis around the billiard tables.

      You're back!

    8. haha i'm no 3 year old, no pain?

      what? show my denture? these mei mei can tell whether its real or not in hundred steps! i'm no fool haha.

    9. i decide to do it not becos of anybody but myself, it comes to a point that i actually have problem eating properly.

      like cutting a really really bad position that i hold for years. i thought i'll never see a dentist in my whole life, i was dead wrong.

    10. Good for you!

      To eat is happiness.

      Can't enjoy it you having problems.

      Hey, now "synthetic" beauty is "in". Happy can oredi :)

    11. you think why i share all these stupid personal matter?

      no, they are not stupid, its personal, so does trading. if you don't dick (that word again!) out all these bury deep inside torn, you can't advance in trading, no way!


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