Decoupling Case Study – How a couple cautiously upgraded from a humble HDB into 2 private condo in less than 5 years, via decoupling 99-1

Decoupling Case Study - How a couple cautiously upgraded from a humble HDB into 2 private condo in less than 5 years, via decoupling 99-1

Table of Contents


In today’s case study we will recap one of our recent engagements with one of our clients. We find this engagement particularly inspiring as our client, like many of us, came from a humble working class background.

They did not hold an extremely high paying job, nor did they derive any windfall from other forms of investments. But through prudent planning, they made calculated moves on their first HDB home and transformed it into a thriving duo property portfolio.

They now own a 3 bedder unit in the Garden’s Residence, a private condominium, situated in Serangoon North that achieved its TOP status in 2023. And a highly sought after, 1 bedder new launch unit in new launch development J’Den.

We hope this case studies that seeks to cover our client’s thought processes, struggles and the moves they make to overcome challenges can serve as a inspiration for you to make your next move.


To set the context let’s introduce our client, note all names have been replaced with fictitious names to ensure privacy.

Introducing Samson, Samson is a primary school teacher. He teaches science in a reputable primary school, situated in Serangoon North.

He is a meticulous and prudent and believes that while it is important to save, it is equally important to put savings to work in order to give his family a better life

He is 39 years old and earns a monthly income of $8,000 per month.

His wife, Shirley works as a civil servant, shared Samson’s values of being prudent with how they put money to work

She is 38 years old and earns a monthly income of $7,000 per month

Life stage

They have got 2 children, the elder child is in secondary one while the younger child is in K2.


They started of owning a 5 room HDB in Seng Kang and have lived in it for over 11 years. They purchased the property 11 years ago at $400,000.

Aspirations and Objective

Interestingly, unlike most of our clients, the couple did not start off with the intention to own two properties. Their main aspiration was to upgrade to a private condominium that is close to their place of work and close to their child’s school.

The Process

Together with John and Sally we marketed their HDB unit for sale and secured a sale price of $650,000, bringing them a profit of $250,000.

Simultaneously, we shortlisted developments that fulfils the couple’s own stay criterias.

But from our experience we know that it is also important to select a property that can provide further capital appreciation, as our couple is still young and they will potentially be looking to upgrade to another property in the future. The capital appreciation in their next property will ensure growth in their capital that would serve to fund their next property upgrade or eventually serve as nest eggs for early retirement.

Purchasing their private condominium for own stay

Eventually, we settled on a 1,119 sqft, 3 bedroom unit in The Gardens Residences in Serangoon North. The development was close to the school that John is teaching in and also close to the schools that both their children are attending.

The couple bought the unit in 2021 at $1.85 mil and its value has since appreciated to $2.25 mil, over 3 years.

Credit given to the couple, for quick alignment on selecting a larger 3 + study instead of a compact 3 bedder unit. As larger units typically sees greater demand in home stay area like Serangoon North.

Adopting a 99-1 Tenancy in common structure instead of 50-50 joint tenancy.

One thing that stands for this case study is that the couple actually planned ahead and wanted to adopt a 99-1 tenancy in common share ownership structure instead of the usual 50-50 joint tenancy.

For more insights on comparison between joint tenancy and tenants in common shareholding structure, refer to article inline.

John became the minor 1% shareholder in the arrangement and Sally became the 99% majority shareholder. The plan is that, given the opportunity arises, Sally would purchase John’s 1% share through a process known as decoupling.

This will allow John purchase the second investment property for the family, as though he was a first time property owner avoid having to pay a 20% ABSD.

Seizing the opportunity to purchase their second investment property

In Nov 2023, an opportunity arises when a promising development was launched in Jurong West. J’den is a 368 units development being built in the heart of government’s plan to transform Jurong into Singapore’s second CBD.

When we called John, he immediately saw an opportunity in getting a one bedder unit that can serve as an excellent investment property with both rental income and capital growth potential.

The couple quickly decoupled their property, secured a 1 bedder unit in J’den.

The outcome

The couple have since progressed from their 5 room HDB purchase at $400,000 and valued at $630,000 to two private condominium.

A 3 bedder unit at The Garden’s residences currently valued at $2.25 mil and a 1 bedder unit at J’den, currently valued at $1.3 mil.

We hope this case study serve as motivational reference for those of you out there considering different approaches to own multiple properties in Singapore.

Consultant Insights

As final words, from our experience, one key pitfall to take note of when executing a 99-1 decoupling is for the minority shareholder owning 1% share to avoid using any CPF in funding the property.

This will prevent any potential cash deficits when funds are required to be refunded back into the 1% shareholder’s CPF account during the decoupling process.

For more details on this check out the following article on pitfalls to avoid when decoupling.

More reads, more gains ?

Kudos on making it this far. The fact that you have invested the last 5 mins reading this article. We believe you are a like minded real estate investor looking to beat the rat race by getting more out of your real estate investment.

If so, do check out the following articles.

Guide to purchasing 2nd property in Singapore
How to legally avoid ABSD in Singapore
Decoupling Property Singapore
Sell one buy two strategy


  • 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.

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Jue Wen


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 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.