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Asset Progression

The Ultimate Singapore's Property Asset Progression for Beginners

There are lots of talks about investing in properties to grow wealth and build up a substantial nest egg for retirement. Some property agents even went as far as to say it is possible to upgrade one’s home without forking out extra cash.

Is this possible for every homeowner in Singapore? Are there clever moves that homeowners need to take before they can reap the the harvest that is promised?

Table of Contents

  • The Ultimate Singapore’s Property Asset Progression for Beginners
    • What is Property Asset Progression?
    • Benefits of Property Asset Progression
    • Why Choose Property for Investment ?
    • What Are the Potential Pitfalls of Adopting the Property Asset Progression?
    • How to Apply The Property Asset Progression Strategies?
    • Are You Ready for Property Asset Progression?

What is Property Asset Progression?

Property Asset Progression is a common term used to describe a property investment strategy that helps homeowners grow their property portfolio from a single HDB flat to multiple properties that can generate rental income or capital gain. It is also used to describe upgrading from one property asset class to another such as moving from an HDB flat to a private condo.

As the word “progression” rightfully suggests, it is a gradual asset growing process that takes time and considerable planning. Do not mistake this for a get-rich-quick-scheme that can fetch a sudden windfall overnight. Quite the opposite, the Property Asset Progression requires careful research and even years of strategizing.

For Property Asset Progression to be successful, the planning should start even before the acquisition of the first property. From picking the right property at each stage of the property investment cycle, calculating the CPF and cash outlay to maximising mortgage loan, homeowners have to implement the right strategy at the right time before they can reap the desired returns.

Adopting this form of investment deviates from the traditional view of “paying off our current property in full before buying the next for investment” and the risk-averse mindset of “always try to take as little loan as possible”.

Property Asset Progression advocates maximising loaned funds to generate higher returns, this alone will be a deal-breaker for many traditional property owners. Primarily, the Progression strategy recognises that the old method of buying and selling one single property at a time no longer works in this era.

In the later part of this article, we will discuss in greater details how the Property Asset Progression works and what are the strategies to adopt at different stages of a property cycle.

Benefits of Property Asset Progression

If the Progression strategies are executed correctly and on time, property owners can look forward to owning one or two fully paid private property by their retirement age. These owners can choose to sell these properties, downgrade to an HDB and enjoy a comfortable life for the rest of their living years or put the funds in a fixed deposit account to collect interest.

In some cases, property portfolios would comprise high rental yield properties that generate passive incomes even before the owners reach their retirement. This is fantastic news for those who are still trapped in the corporate rat-race because the recurring rental income will boost financial wealth, create positive changes in their living standard and even fund their children’s education.

Another upside of adopting the Property Asset Progression lies in the fact that such investment requires extremely low cash outlay. Purchasing a private property in Singapore uses only 5% cash, while the remaining 95% can be funded by CPF and bank loan.

Furthermore, unlike investing in asset classes such as stocks and gold, banks are more than happy to issue a mortgage loan to fund a property investment. Simply put, property buyers can invest using someone else’s money even without dipping into their savings!

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Why Choose Property for Investment ?

As Christopher Tan, Chief Executive Officer of Providend puts it, “Real estate is an asset class that can give both income and capital growth. It also hedges against inflation.”

Just how resilient is Singapore’s property market? Even as Singapore is hit with the Covid-19 pandemic that has brought the country’s economy into a downward spiral, the property market showed no sign of decline 1 year on from the start of the pandemic.

Both private property and HDB price indexes continue to see upward trends – a clear indication that buyers are still confident of local properties and the market remains resilient despite unprecedented global uncertainties.

Reportedly, even travel bans are not holding back foreign property buyers. Foreign buyers are opting for virtual viewings and purchasing private properties despite not getting a chance to see the physical space.

The most important message here is that never be over leveraged. Speak to a professional to help you plan your finances.

Private Property Price Index

Private Property Index* 2020
Price index 153.8 152.6 152.1 153.3 152.8

*Data Source: URA 20-Q3 PR, URA 20-Q2 PR, URA 20-Q1 PR

HDB Resale Property Price Index

Private Property Index* 2020
Price index 153.8 152.6 152.1 153.3 152.8

*Data Source: HDB – Resale Price Index (RPI)

Property, A Safe Asset Class

A quick review of Singapore property prices over the past two decades revealed a significant jump of the index from 40.9 in 1990 to over 152 in early 2020.

Despite a series of 6 cooling measures implemented since 2009 to ensure the sustainability of property prices, the property market remains vibrant with continuous streams of local and foreign buyers in the past decades.

Unlike stocks and commodity investment that experience sudden fluctuation of prices even with the slightest shakeup in the economy, Singapore property is a safe asset class that has stood the test of times. Prices have remained upbeat through global financial crises, global pandemics, and even the current economic downturn.

Factors That Are Driving the Prices and Demands

Land scarcity is one of the key factors that is driving the prices and demand for local properties. Even though Singapore had managed to grow through land reclamation, the government’s mandate for rapid urbanization requires far more land to meet the demand.

Furthermore, with Singapore’s total population is projected to reach between 6.5 million and 6.9 million by 2030, the demand for residential properties is likely to surge and impact positively on their prices.

Singapore’s world-class infrastructure, financial security and strong economic growth are also attracting global foreign talents and multinational corporations that will continue to drive property demand and growth.

For those who are looking for a safe asset class to invest, the property sector may present some opportunities that can see long-term yield. Just look at friends or family members around us – many of them would have benefited financially when they sold their BTO flats or Executive Condos and went on to upgrade to a private property of their choice that presented even more capital appreciation for building wealth.

While the chance to ‘flip a property’ and make a quick buck may no longer be as easy in Singapore, property is still a good asset class that can generate wealth. With careful planning and strategising, there are still ample opportunities to make decent recurring rental for passive income and capital gains.

Do you have a Property Asset Progression Plan?

Get a your FREE Property Asset Progression Assessment Report

What Are the Potential Pitfalls of Adopting the Property Asset Progression?

There are always risks and opportunities to different methods of accumulating wealth. The crux of the matter lies in understanding how to apply the right strategies and utilising the appropriate leverage before diving all in.

If buyers want to benefit from Property Asset Progression, wise planning and consultation with a qualified agent who is well versed with the subject will make a world of difference. While it is not rocket science, there are essential steps that require careful consideration too.

Here are some potential pitfalls that buyers would want to avoid:

Pitfall #1 – Adopting the Wrong Strategy

Property Asset Progression is about a systematic process of acquiring the right properties that can help buyers progress to the next level of upgrade and eventually achieve financial freedom. Skipping any step or blindly adopting a strategy that they are not ready for can spell trouble or even bring them back to the starting line.

For example, a young couple who is a first-time property buyer will stand to gain more from buying a BTO flat than a private property with a high rental yield. The couple can benefit from HDB grant of up to $80,000 and the profit generated from selling a BTO flat after the minimum occupancy period (MOP) can be as high as six figures. The savings and capital gain are considerable sums of money that can help the couple progress comfortably to the next level of upgrade.

Pitfall #2 – Not Doing Enough Research

It is not about finding the cheapest unit but one that can offer the best capital appreciation when it is time to sell. For Property Asset Progression to work, buyers must do sufficient research to understand how the estate development and the surrounding infrastructure will impact the capital gain over the next few years.

Emotional impulses can often hinder this part of the process because some buyers can be easily swayed by impressive decors or fancy add-ons and end up with a property with high entry price or low capital appreciation.

Not having a clear understanding of the market and a sound financial plan to start with can be detrimental to the property portfolio down the road too.

Pitfall #3 – Entering the Market too Late

“Timing the market” is one of the common phrases used in property talks but it is not necessarily the best tactic for Property Asset Progression because some buyers tend to wait too long and completely miss the boat when the best opportunity is presented to them.

Additionally, age plays a huge part when it comes to calculating the Loan-To-Value (LTV) ratio in Singapore. Delaying market entry can significantly affect the chance of obtaining a maximum mortgage loan from the bank too.

As part of the cooling measure in 2018, the maximum loan tenure for housing loans is capped at 25 years for HDB flats and 30 years for private properties. However, if the loan tenure plus the borrower’s age exceed 65 years, a lower LTV limit will apply.

For example, when purchasing a private property with a 30-year loan tenure, a 30-year-old borrower can maximise its LTV limit to 75% while a 45-year-old borrower can only enjoy 55% LVT limit. Simply put, the later a buyer enters the property market, the tougher it is to receive healthy financing from banks.

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