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HDB flat versus Condo

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HDB flat versus Condo

Post by blondi » Fri, 14 Nov 2008 4:41 am


We're moving to Singapore in a few weeks, and don't have any kids.

I was wondering what it is really like living in a HDB flat as an Expat, I know they are cheaper than condos but don't have the condo facilities (Gym, Pool, tennis court).

We are looking to live on the East Coast in a 2 bedroom place. We are trying to balance it up from both a financial and lifestyle point of view.

Are HDB flats generally quite noisy? Are there a lot of swimming pools etc around the East Coast that we could use?

Wondering if the price of renting an HDB flat + regular swimming pool entrance fees + gym membership would be significantly lower than renting a Condo.

Cheers :)

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Post by Addadude » Fri, 14 Nov 2008 12:04 pm

Depending on what you are used to back home, you may find HDB living quite a culture shock.

Strictly speaking, a two bedroom apartment translates into a 3-room HDB flat. This means that you'll get a livingroom/kitchen with a toilet/shower off the kitchen and two bedrooms, one of which will be a 'master bedroom' with its own bathroom. The entire floor area for the flat will be around 650 sq ft. 3-room HDB flats are set along long common corridors which will in all likelihood translate into a fair amount noise.

Rentals for 3-room flats like these start at around $1500 per month for pretty far out locations right up to $2,500 for more central locations. The East Coast area, particularly Marine Parade, is considered quite a prime area and therefore the rentals will be quite high.

By comparison, since condo rentals have started to come down, it is quite possible to get a 2-bedroom condo for $2500 - or even less.

If I were in your shoes, I would look at condos first since the price difference may not be as great as you think. While the gyms in condos are not really all that great, easy access to a swimming pool is always nice to have. And, generally speaking, condos are usually quieter than HDB blocks.

Having said all that, I happen to live ina 4-room HDB and I'm very happy there. But i've also been living in Singapore for 15 years (as of today!) so i'm pretty localised by now.

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Post by Ebony Chic » Fri, 14 Nov 2008 2:01 pm

Actually newer HDB flats do not seem that different from apartments in Scandinavia or Western Europe in general. When we moved between countries due to my husbands job (in Netherlands, Sweden, Finland and Switzerland) the flats that we stayed in also did not have the amenities such as a gym or swimming pool; condos that have such are rare in Europe.

On the other hand people who come from U.S.A. (as myself) may feel more at home in a condo with a swimming pool.

We have not lived here for very long but have seen a few different places. What has suprised me was how run-down some condos have been, even when they were not particularly cheap.

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Post by Asdracles » Fri, 14 Nov 2008 2:42 pm

Having been myself in both, I would say that the main difference is the environment around.

As previous poster said, there are some nice new HDB flats really nice, and some old crap condos.

Expect that a HDB will have more probably food courts, street market, ... around. A condo will have his own facilities, but the "life" will be less. So if you are looking for a quiet place, condo would be a plus. If you are looking for mixing with the local active life, HDB.

I have been in a HBD in Bedok, very near the MRT. Now a condo in Braddell. Of course flat is nicer, but I would change my location inmediately. I had everything next to my flat before! Company is paying, so even that, I would prefer the local life.

I should say that I came to Singapore as a new experience, not for staying in "western-style areas" (for that, I would stay in Spain). The neighbours in my HDB were locals REALLY friendly. I barely know anyone in my condo now.

So is a matter of taste. With kids I would consider condo, without, and specially if you are paying yourself, HDB, but every person, one different world....

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Post by durain » Fri, 14 Nov 2008 3:48 pm

the best of the best is to view the property, both condo and hdb because then you will see the difference. try to view as many property as possible as you will get a better idea of which you want to stay at.

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Post by boffenl » Fri, 14 Nov 2008 3:59 pm

We are in a 3 room HDB, and I would say, contrary to Asdracles (although I LOVE all your other advice!!), if you have a kid then HDB is the way to go. Of course, our kid goes to a local school and has a play date at the playground everyday. Also so ncie to know our neighbors and see babies grow up as a real community feeling. Our HDB estate just underwent a HUGE renovation about 2 years ago, so I'd say my flat is pretty close to what a condo would be. Plus I've got a 24 hour food court, three grocery stores, hairdresser, stationary store and bus stop right at my front door. Seriously can't find that convenience in a condo setting.

But it is very important you know what you need to be happy. If you want to live the expat life, then condo with pool is it. If you'd like to pay more on your mortgage back "home" and have some great vacations to talk about (and not those mini-vacation by your condo pool!) then an HDB is the way to go.

Good luck--tough choices in this market!

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Post by ScoobyDoes » Tue, 18 Nov 2008 12:43 pm

boffenl wrote:Seriously can't find that convenience in a condo setting.

They are around though, just tricky to find! :wink:

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