With house prices on the up and up, despite the new cooling measures, is now really the right time to buy a property? Award-winning property agent Kelvin Fong thinks so. Here are his five reasons why buying a property today could be the best decision you ever make.
1. Low Interest Rates
People with money to invest can use the current low interest rates – which are as low as 0.88% at present – to leverage a passive income from their purchased property. In fact, the returns from a property can be more than what a bank’s fixed deposit account can offer.
For example, a unit at Southbank costing about $1.2million could generate a rental income of about $4800 per month, while the mortgage is about $3000. The buyer would enjoy a passive income of $1800 per month, as compared to depositing it in the bank to get 0.4% of around $1000 per year.
2. Property is an Appreciating Asset (Eventually)
Barring any dramatic economic upheavals, property prices will likely stabilise or slowly, but progressively, increase from now till 2011. Most sellers will not want to sell at a lower price today, and will not suffer when paying a relatively high mortgage due to low borrowing costs. The 30% down payment rule will actually act as an incentive because purchasers, having come up with this capital, will not want to sell.
Provided you do not sell your property during the downturn – as you will almost inevitably lose money on it – the value should increase. The key is that the buyer must have holding power when the market deteriorates and should not buy until they have the holding power to weather any market conditions. Prices will eventually rise again – as witnessed in 2008, when prices were down but did eventually rise to and, in some cases surpass, the 2007 peak.
3. Assets Beat Playing the Market
Many people will choose to purchase an asset like property because the market liquidity – essentially the asset’s cash value – is still strong and, due to the last financial crisis in 2008, people felt safer putting the money in asset rather than financial instruments. The asset will always be there, and even when market conditions are not as good, as long as you do not sell it, you will not lose money.
4. Market Conditions don’t Matter
Buyers who are looking at property as a long-term investment will be less concerned about the market’s movement up or down.. Property will – nearly always – appreciate in the long term in Singapore due to the scarcity of land and available real estate. While having a diverse portfolio is preferred, as a long-term investment, property is generally going to make more money than other comparable instruments. Investing in bonds, for example, is a safe investment instrument, but capital appreciation is weak.
Property is not the ideal market for speculators though – not only has the government introduced measures to discourage property speculation – but you will be much more at risk of market fluctuations.
5. Property keeps on Giving
Buying public housing in today’s market is not cheap, with HDB’s executive condominiums going at around $600 – 700psf, close to mass market private property prices. A HUDC unit has already reached the $1 million mark, and the trend looks set to continue. Parents may see buying an asset, not only as a hedge against inflation, but also as an eventual inheritance to their children. If house prices continue to rise – and with the cost of construction materials inevitably going to rise too – there is the fear that the younger generation could be priced out.