Old HDB Flats are they Good Buys?

Ask GuruQuestion: 

Hi, I’m considering buying an EM in Serangoon area, and the units are 30 years old now. Any thoughts on this? I’m worried about not being able to sell



In mature estates, like Bedok, Toa Payoh, Jurong East, Marine Parade, and yes in many areas, have old HDB flats. HDB flats have only 99 years lease, and when the property is left with fewer years on its “life”, does it depreciate in value – this is an issue I often share with my HDB buyers.

Resale value of old HDB flats

1. In this case, this buyer is looking at an EM in the Serangoon area, it is 30 years old, and has about 69 years left. Lets assume that they stay in the flat for 10 years, before considering selling to upgrade or move on to a Newer flat. By then the flat would be 40 years old and only has 59 years left. Under CPF regulations, properties with leases less than 60 years have a limited use of their CPF funds for the purchase. Should you be looking at buying a property with less than 60 years left on its lease, you may wish to compute your usage of CPF before making your purchase decision.

You may read more about CPF’s policy on older properties (properties with less than 60 years lease) – here

However it is a lengthy document and if you need further clarification, we would be glad to be of assistance in explaining.

2. The new buyer will have limitations on getting a longer loan tenure, and hence having to pay higher monthly mortgages. In some cases, this may be a major disadvantage should you wish to sell the HDB flat in future. 

3. The success of BTO flats despite their smaller size attests to the fact that people like NEW THINGS. If you put a 4 room flat, which just 5 years old, versus a much older 4 room flat, say 30 years old, it is less attractive to buyers if they are priced the same. Therefore older flats, unless they are in a prime location, will have to be sold at a slight discount.

Older Flats may go for Selective Enbloc Redevelopment

4. The key word is Selective, older blocks with shorter remaining leases, does not automatically place it at the top of the list for SERs. There are flats in Toa Payoh that were completed in 1968, and yet have not been marked for SERs. The latest SERs announced would be Blk 513 to 520 at West Coast Road (see the Straits Times Article for details), these blocks were completed in 1979-1980. And in this specific buyer’s case – that is looking at buying an EM, HDB will have to compensate much more for owners of EM than owners of 3 room flats. Hence Enbloc of Executive Maisonette blocks are less likely (in my honest opinion)


When assessing clients purchase, it is important for me to assess their wants vs their needs, and then give them further advice to counter their emotional demands. Some buyers look at certain properties and have emotional attachments to certain districts, certain layouts, which may not necessarily make logical sense. As a professional advisor, it is important for me to  point out all options for my client. If the purchase decision does not seem sound, I would advise against. Therefore before you start your house hunt, be sure to contact us for an honest and frank discussion. We will be blatantly honest with you, no sugar coating. 

Yian Tay Contact

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