Buying new launch condo – as a 2nd investment property

buying new launch condo

Table of Contents

Introduction – buying a new launch condo as a second property

A lot has been written on how to get a second property, and a fair bit on the process of buying a new launch condo as well. Yet the informational void of buying a new launch condo as a second property remains under-addressed.

Focus of this article 

Today’s article focuses specifically on addressing the procedure involved in purchasing a new launch as a 2nd property.

This article is written specifically for readers that are looking to decouple their private property or EC to purchase a new launch as a 2nd investment property.

Quick Intro – Decoupling Expertise

Quick introduction to the people behind the keyboard.

We are a team of specialist realtors that specialises in helping our clients and readers purchase a new launch condo as their 2nd property, without ABSD. 

While decoupling property is often the go-to strategy that property owners adopt. We pride ourselves for helping our client explore and evaluate other alternatives that best suit individual circumstances and objectives. 

Drop us a text to explore the best strategy to minimise ABSD on your next property purchase.

Steps / Procedure towards buying a new launch condo as a 2nd property

To tackle the objective of purchasing a new launch condo as a 2nd property. 

There will be slightly more work and complexity involved as compared to simply upgrading to a new launch condo or purchasing a new launch condo as your first property.

We will tackle this challenge in two parts; minimising ABSD when purchasing the 2nd property, followed by financing and selecting the new launch condo. 

#1 – Minimising ABSD,  when purchasing the new launch condo as a 2nd property

Assuming you were to purchase a new launch condo while holding on to your current property, you would be looking to incur a ABSD on the purchase value of the 2nd property.

ABSD rates are as follows, 20% for Singapore Citizens, 30% for Singapore PR.

if you are interested if it is worth paying ABSD for your second property, refer to article link inline.

In short, it is not worthwhile paying ABSD. As an investor it is important to adopt some interim steps to minimise ABSD on the second property.

Options available to minimise ABSD when buying the new launch condo 

  • Selling existing property to purchase 2 product under each spouse name, sell one buy two
  • Decoupling property – keeping current property and purchase the new launch as 2nd property 

Let’s proceed to elaborate more the simpler and commonly adopted option – decoupling property.

How does decoupling property work ?

Decoupling property is the process of “freeing up” a joint owner’s name from the current property via a part purchase and sale process. 

One party will buy over the share of the other party, allowing him or her to purchase the second property without ABSD.

#2 – Cost of decoupling 

As we establish decoupling as the strategy utilise to minimise ABSD incurred when purchasing the new launch condo. We will now need to account for and overcome the cost required in decoupling 

Cost of decoupling includes the following components

  • Seller stamp duty – not applicable if you have held property for more than 3 years
  • Additional buyer stamp duty – not applicable if both you and your spouse are Singapore Citizen
  • Buyer stamp duty – applicable – progressive tax rate on value of property 
  • Decoupling legal fee – averages $5,000 to $6,000
  • Valuation fee – estimated at $600

Assuming your current property is valued at $2.0 mil dollars.

The cost of decoupling will be as follows.

  • Buyer stamp duty – $24,600
  • Legal Fee – $6,000
  • Valuation Fee – $600
  • Total Cost of decoupling – $31,600

The cost of decoupling above is derived using our decoupling calculator, feel use it and input your own financials to put a number on your cost of decoupling

#3 – Establishing your budget for new launch condo

As part of the decoupling process, you will be extracting equity / capital from your current property and freeing it for the use of you or your spouse. i.e. the party selling shares and freeing up his or her name. 

And this equity that you unlocked from your current property will form part of your budget to purchase the new launch condo

To put things into perspective, as you or your spouse aka the “selling party”, sell your share in the existing property, over to the “buying party”. You will receive proceeds, valued at 50% of the current valuation of the property.

The proceeds after deducting selling party’s share of existing mortgage, will form part of the cash and CPF that you can use to fund your new launch property. 

Budget for new launch condo entails

  • Cash proceeds receive from selling of share after decoupling
  • CPF proceeds refunded back into OA account after decoupling
  • Cash savings on hand
  • CPF savings currently in OA account 
  • Max loan quantum that you or your spouse is eligible for 

Referencing the same example of a couple decoupling a $2.0 mil property

Assuming the following

  • $500,000 in outstanding loan
  • $300,000 CPF utilised by the spouse selling share
  • Shares held in a 50-50 joint tenancy structure

With the decoupling of 50% share valued at $1.0 mil.

You will be looking at the following proceeds from decoupling

  • Value of share sold – $1.0 mil 
  • Less seller’s share of outstanding loan, 50% of $500k – $250,000
  • Less CPF to be refunded back into seller’s OA account – $300,000

Outcome

  • Cash proceeds – $450,000
  • CPF refunded back into OA – $300,000

Assuming if both you and your spouse have got additional savings on hand

Savings.

  • Cash – $200,000
  • CPF savings – $100,000

You will be looking at a final capital of 

  • Cash – $650,000
  • CPF – $400,000

#4 – Getting an In Principle Loan Approval (IPA) 

With your cash and CPF budget calculated, the next step would be to secure an in principle approval for your maximum loan quantum. 

The bank will take you or your spouse’s salary into consideration and work it through MAS’ Total debt servicing ratio (TDSR) to determine the maximum loan you are eligible for. 

The monthly mortgage from your loan, coupled with other monthly recurring debt obligations should not exceed 55% of your gross monthly income. 

As a side note, decoupling helps resolve the challenge of 2nd property’s loan to valuation challenge as well. Without decoupling, by MAS standards, you are only allowed to take a 45% loan for your second property with a 25% mandatory cash downpayment. 

But after decoupling, you will be eligible to adopt similar LTV standards to a first property, taking up a 75% loan with a 5% mandatory cash downpayment 

For more insights on 2nd property LTV, refer to article link inline 

Assuming you or your spouse earns a salary of $8,800. 

You will be looking at a maximum loan quantum of $1.2 mil.

Combining the two steps , you would derive the final budget for your new launch property 

  • Cash – $650,000
  • CPF – $400,000
  • Loan – $1,200,000
  • Budget – $2,050,000

Need help working on the financial calculations ? – New Launch Condo Purchase

Is working out your financial calculations and deriving your budget a challenge for you ?

Drop us a whatsapp text, and we can help you overcome that with a detailed financial calculation. 

#5 – Selecting your new launch development

With your budget established, you are not ready to shortlist new launch developments for consideration. 

First, you would be looking to derive a list of new launch condos falling into the following categories.

Build the initial new launch condo list

  • Developments that have yet to be launched 
  • Developments that have been launched with remaining unsold units

Further shortlist developments base on investment attributes

Next, you would be looking to screen through this developments with a set of criterias

Over the years we have developed our internal criteria for screening. 

Here are some of the key attributes that you will use for shortlisting developments

  • Potential demand from surrounding HDB upgraders
  • Upcoming URA transformation plan for the location of property
  • Proximity to MRT
  • Proximity to reputable school, within 1km and 2km radius
  • Proximity to international school
  • Proximity to expat’s place of work
  • Surrounding area supply of competing property
  • Layout of units within the development
  • Price of units in comparison to other developments

We discuss in detail which condo is good for investment in singapore, check out the article link inline.

Note the criteria that you would prioritise differs based on the unit type and exit strategy that you will be looking to adopt.

Example if you are looking to purchase a 3 bedroom condo in the OCR region and your budget permits that. 

Then you will be looking to prioritise criterias that appeal to families and HDB upgraders, like proximity to reputable schools and criteria like proximity to MRT will be downgraded.

On the flip side, if you are looking to purchase a 2 bedroom condo in the RCR region, then you will be targeting young affluent couples without children as your future buyer. You would be prioritising criteria like proximity to MRT and proximity to commercial centres. 

Drop us a text if you are looking for a structured process to shortlist ideal new launch condo developments for investment purposes.

#6 – Viewing at the new launch showroom 

With the shortlist in hand, the next to take is then to conduct on ground viewing over at the new launch showroom.

During the actual viewing itself, you will receive another fresh round of insights into the site plan of the development and floor plan of the different units. 

However, do note that the showrooms are not always situated at the actual site of the development. So it will be important to walk the ground for the actual site of development to derive a deeper understanding of the actual location. 

#7 – Shortlisting units

Here’s how things work, when you are looking to purchase a unit in a new launch development that has yet to be launched.

There are 2 variable that you will need to deal with

  1. The launch price of the units will only be released on the day of the launch, you will only receive pricing estimates pre-launch.
  2. Your chance of getting the unit is not guaranteed, you will have to go through a balloting process to secure the unit

Hence, It is important to create a shortlist with a number of units that you would be interested to secure for every development that you have shortlisted and are looking to participate in the launch day balloting process.

The ideal shortlist will comprise of 10 to 15 units in order of priority that will aim to secure during the ballot process

Creating a shortlist 

There are several factors to look at when creating this shortlist

  • Price difference between unit types eg. 2 bed 1 bath pricing vs 2 bed + study pricing
  • Price difference between blocks with different facing
  • Price difference between levels within the same block
  • The current and future view of the unit’s facing
  • The layout of the unit

The main objective is to have an understanding of the developer’s pricing strategy and pick out units that are “well priced.

eg. shortlisting a 2 bed 2 bath that is priced very close to a 2 bed 1 bath for better value. Or shortlisting a unit without pool facing but priced at a huge discount to a unit that facing the pool. 

#8 – Participating in the new launch ballot

With all the initial preparation steps completed, you are now ready to participate in the launch day balloting process.

Prior to the launch day, you will be assigned a ballot number. During the launch date itself, when your number is being called, you will be eligible to book the unit that is still available when it’s your turn. 

Secure the unit by paying the 5% booking fee

To secure the unit, you will need to prepare a cheque comprising 5% of the unit price.

With that in place, the developer will provide you with a copy of the option to purchase. 

Do note that at this point if you choose to not proceed with the purchase, you will be forfeiting 25% of the booking fee. 

#9 – Signing the sale and purchase agreement

Having booked the unit, it is now time to appoint a conveyancing lawyer to assist you for the next steps.

  • Within 2 weeks from receiving the option to purchase, the developer will deliver the sales and purchase document over to your conveyancing lawyer.
  • Within 3 weeks from receiving the sales and purchase document, you will have to sign it over an appointment at the lawyer’s office.
  • 2 weeks into signing the sales and purchase document, you would have to pay the buyer stamp duty.
  • And within 8 weeks, you will have to account for the remaining 15% of the purchase price in cash or CPF.

#10 – Funding the remaining payment for the new launch condo

With the initial 20% down payment settled. You will only be looking to pay the remaining amount following the timeline below.

Stage of Construction Completion% of Purchase Price
Booking of Unit5% Cash
Upon signing S&P Agreement or within 8-weeks from date of Option15% Cash or CPF
Completion of foundation work5% Cash or CPF 5% Cash or CPF or Loan
Completion of reinforced concrete framework10% Cash or CPF or Loan
Completion of partition walls5% Cash or CPF or Loan
Completion of roofing5% Cash or CPF or Loan
Completion of door frames, windows frames, electrical wiring, internal plastering and plumbing work5% Cash or CPF or Loan
Completion of car park, drains and roads serving the housing project5% Cash or CPF or Loan
Obtained Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP)25% Cash or CPF or Loan
Obtained Certificate of Statutory Completion (CSC)15% Cash or CPF or Loan

Advantage of getting a new launch condo as a second property

Hedge against high interest rate

Purchasing a resale condo will require you to pay the full mortgage and interest expense from day 1 of property ownership. In contrast, as a new launch condo has yet to be constructed, it is funded via a progressive payment scheme.

In short, the majority of mortgage and interest payment is deferred towards the 3 to 4 year mark when construction reaches its final stages

This provides an opportunity to hedge against high interest rate while owning a brand new investment property.

Joint alignment amongst all new launch buyers to sell at a profitable price 

Profits and losses in real estate investing are heavily influenced by the historical transactions of your neighbours, I.e other property owners owning units in the development.

The challenge with purchasing a resale development is that different owners purchased their property at different entry prices. Your neighbour owning the unit a couple of floors higher than you could have purchased his unit at a lower entry price 3 years ago.

As a consequence, he could be selling his unit at an exit price that is profitable to him but a loss to you if you were to liquidate your property at the same price.

On the flipside, you will negate such challenges in a new launch condo, with all buyers entering at similar developer launch prices. 

The profitable transacted price of your neighbour serves as a proxy for you to sell at a higher and more profitable price.

Owning a brand new property with fresh lease life

Compared to getting a resale condo, a new launch development provides you with a fresh lease life.

With a brand new lease, you would not have to worry about holding on the property and renting it out for extended duration.

As compared to a resale condo, you will have to work within the constraints of not cutting too close to the 25 year lease mark, where resale value will diminish due to concerns over lease decay. 

Risk of getting a new launch as a second property 

Choosing the wrong unit

Compared to a resale condo, which you can physically view. There is a higher margin of error when selecting a new launch purely via a site plan.

Potential risk to note including making sure the view of the unit will not be obstructed by any unforeseen obstruction upon completion or in the future.

For units, enjoying unblocked open view, facing a large plot of undeveloped land. You will need to work with your realtor to review the existing URA master plan to ensure that future developments will not be obstructing your view.

Entering at the wrong price

Different developers adopt different pricing strategies. And they potentially may adapt pricing strategies reacting to demand conditions.

Example some developers will start with a lower launch price at initial stages to ensure most units are cleared before raising prices to optimise revenue. This is especially true for mega development with many units to clear.

On the flip side a developer marketing a smaller development may peg initial launch prices at a high and lower it at later stages to clear units.

Your goal is to avoid entering on the highs and make sure you enter at the lower price spectrum and ride on developer’s price hike.

Selecting the wrong development

There is often lots of hype and euphoria created to drive impulsive purchase.

There is a risk of purchasing a unit in the wrong development when insufficient research is done before visiting showrooms and balloting for units.

More reads regarding property research for 2nd investment property 

Author

  • Jue Wen

    Jue Wen is the content marketing lead. This means he spend his waking hours researching and writing all things real estate. He believes life is a hustle and there is no joy in grinding away daily in our little rat races. He believes making wise moves in real estate investment can be a game changer. Aside from writing all things real estate, you can find him in your nearest bouldering gym.

Looking to purchase your second property?

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Jue Wen

Author

Jue Wen is the property analyst and content marketing lead at decoupling expertise.
He specialises in helping clients overcome the complexities involved in owning their second private property in Singapore.
He had over 10 years of experience in real estate investing and have written over 40 detail guides on decoupling and minimising ABSD. He is a licensed real estate consultant and holds a Bachelor degree in Business Management from the Nanyang Technological University.

Kenji

Co-Author

Kenji is the Group Division Director of ERA Realty Network.
He have got over 20 years of experience in real estate and have successfully helped over 50 couples purchased their second property. He specialises in helping client achieve the best approach towards acquiring their ideal investment properties while minimising ABSD.