An eyebrow raising title perhaps.
Fifteen years ago, there would be a look of mild reservation or anxiousness on the majority of the population’s faces when asking, “Should we get a Condo?” Condominiums (Condos) in Singapore then were something reserved for the rich or the people who were educated in property matters. And… that’s usually the rich too.
There has since been a shift. Nowadays, with students and the general population getting educated in business earlier and the millennial way of thinking, youth can be seen driving around in BMWs paid for by themselves through business ventures.
Intelligence coupled with go-getter natures fueled by waves of entrepreneurship notions topped with the word “trillions” in vocabularies. Singaporeans are aiming for and reaching previously unattainable achievements. One of our swimmers beat Michael Phelps too. We digress.
The look of mild reservation or anxiousness on Singaporeans’ faces now accompanies the question, “Should we get a HDB?” That makes sense.
In this world of temporary highs, a house is as real as it gets. We decided to research some realities when it comes to living in a HDB and a Condo, on a day-to-day basis, where it matters most.
Singapore has an excellent public transport system. We’ve heard that comment from visitors worldwide. For the spoilt among us who do own vehicles, the majority of a consumer vehicle’s life is spent stationary. Enter carparks.
In HDBs, you can apply for a monthly parking ticket for your car or motorcycle. If you’re feeling rich and have more than one vehicle, you can apply for more lots in your carpark or neighbouring carparks subject to availability with no limits! How cool is that?
Condo residents on the other hand have made it to the news over carpark disputes about limited lots! That does seem counter intuitive as one would expect richer folk to have more cars. Yet, the number of lots in a Condo’s compound are limited. In fact, some Condo owners park additional cars at nearby HDB carparks!
As for affluent people who love two-wheeled little monsters, many Condos do not make room for motorcyles, and even if they do, the lots are limited. We find it rather old-fashioned that assumptions have been made that the demographic of the population who would purchase Condos, wouldn’t ride motorcycles.
HDB 1 – Condominium 0
“It’s not about the size it’s about how you use it.” Well, that’s debatable, and architects, engineers and real estate business owners seem to know that, if the sizes offered in Singapore are anything to go by. Both HDBs and Condominiums offer a plethora of sizes, shapes and configurations.
According to the HDB, their houses range anywhere from approximately 36 to 130 square metres with a maximum of three bathrooms per flat. Condominiums on the other hand have everything from small studio apartments to larger spaces with five bedrooms, five bathrooms and additional living spaces like The Trillium.
For anyone, whether with a large or small family, both HDBs and Condominiums provide competitive sizes, and it depends on what you like.
HDB 2 – Condominium 1
Leisure and Health
Health and well-being are the foundations of a well-balanced life. Apparently both the government and private developers think the same way too, looking at the range of facilities offered by both entities in this department.
Singapore on its own does not leave much to be desired sporting facilities wise. With the Singapore Sports Hub, sixteen ActiveSG Gyms, the National Parks Board’s ventures and its connectors, we have more sports facilities than the majority of the population uses in their lifetimes. That’s something to think about. In our experience, the pools in many Condos aren’t regularly shaped and play host to people of all ages and various activities including toddlers and swimming lessons for example. While they are great for lounging and much needed relaxation, it might be tough to get a decent swim workout in. As for the condo gyms, small, poorly-ventilated and musty-smelling ones are common. Unfortunately, the light weights usually found in these gyms make them a lightweight contender (no pun intended) for strenuous workouts. Condos usually offer tennis and/or squash courts and romantic walkways that are uncommon in HDB estates.
HDBs have fitness corners and playgrounds, street soccer courts, basketball courts, sepak takraw courts and the ever communal void decks. If not in your block, you could easily find them within a fifteen-minute walk from you.
Both HDBs and Condos offer different amenities in this area. Comparing Chocolate and Vanilla would be unfair. 1 point HDB, 1 point Condo.
HDB 3 – Condominium 2
Colours. Architecture. People. Exclusivity. How does a location make you feel?
In recent years, the lines between Condos and HDBs have been blurred in terms of feel.
With innovative HDBs like The Pinnacle@Duxton, SkyVille@Dawson and Waterway Woodcress, HDBs are matching up to the freeform and unique designs of Condos. That said, if you look deeper, Condos usually use more expensive looking finishes for their surfaces resulting in more elegance. From the design perspective however, the two can now compete.
Unique designs are not the mainstay of HDB’s progress, more like icing on the cake but they are gaining popularity in the current market. With Condos not needing to house the masses, architects are at liberty to make designs uber creative and over the top. Examples of such concepts are Sky Habitat, The Interlace and Reflections at Keppel Bay.
Certain income classes and types of professionals no longer habitate only certain types of housing. Today, a good mix of people from various rungs on the corporate ladder own both HDBs and Condos. The world is your oyster as is said and with an influx of immigrants and foreigners, Singaporeans are becoming more cosmopolitan and welcoming towards different races, backgrounds, and life goals. If there is one underlying notion in Singapore, it is that we are a global city.
With the vast array of HDBs and Condos available all over the island, we say, “to each his own.”
HDB 4 – Condominium 3
“Of course there’s more to life than money, but there’s also more to life than struggling to pay bills and put food on the table,” we heard Singaporean actor and personal trainer Spancer Gosteloa say recently on his squeaky clean Instagram account. Money is now a necessity.
HDBs can cost you anything from $250,000 to $1.2 million. A condo on the other hand could be anywhere from $500,000 to $50 million. Since we’re comparing practical matters here, this one should be no different and the lower the cost the better.
HDBs are generally cheaper, it’s unanimous.
HDB 5 – Condominium 3
A location of a house is not the location of your house, it’s the location of so much more. Your family, your recuperation ground, your foundation. Basically, you.
HDBs are to be found everywhere on the main island including locations near the city centre like Bras Basah, Bugis, Little India, Boon Keng, Novena and Toa Payoh. Condos can be found in the city, facing the main roads, for example, atop Scotts Square and ION Orchard.
There are more affluent estates like Sentosa Cove with Condos like The Oceanfront where you would not find HDBs at all. There do not seem to be estates with HDBs and no Condos though, and it comes down to a matter of preference, familiarity and comfort.
HDB 6 – Condominium 4
Do you like panoramic views, or do you have height sickness. HDBs and Condos come in different heights and at a variety of locations that have both high and low population densities. This result is a myriad of views and visual palettes.
Condos have the edge because they usually have less blocks of the same height in a cluster than HDBs do, which can result in unobstructed views in more directions than from a HDB.
HDB 6 – Condominium 5
Rarely does a HDB resident complain about lack of accessibility unless they stay in a block that’s exceptionally deep in their estate.
If you stay in a Condo and it’s in a location that is exclusive, you might need your own transport to get out of that area. However looking at the infrastructure development in Singapore, traveling far to get what you need is usually unnecessary except for a few areas.
The government has done a good job of pampering its citizens with both well-developed self-contained new towns and an ever evolving deep-reaching public transport system.
This one’s a draw between any type of housing estate.
HDB 7 – Condominium 6
When you say “I’m at home”, it usually means you are shutting out everyone you don’t want present at that moment. Colleagues, friends and sometimes extended family members.
In Condos, you usually wouldn’t make it past security if you do not live there. Some come with tight security that require verification to use even the lift while others are pretty much the same concept as a HDB which is, walk right in!
You are free to walk around and explore in an HDB. People lock their houses, but global tricks like leaving keys under doormats and in drawers outside the houses for other family members is a problem because of the common corridor accessibility while in a Condo the restricted floor access helps.
Although the law in Singapore is intended to deter, open windows can tempt people from the corridor to reach in and steal. Not our ideal version of privacy.
HDB 7 – Condominium 7
While Condominiums might seem superior at first glance, upon careful inspection we have found that for practical living, both can be equally good options. We cannot comment on how the housing landscape will transform further for HDBs and Condominiums to stake their claim in the future, but for now, the race is on!