Singaporean buyers shift to bigger units to meet WFH needs

SINGAPORE (May 3): As work-from-home (WFH) becomes a new norm and more employers are willing to offer flexible arrangements for their employees, Singaporean homebuyers are looking at upsizing to bigger units for WFH arrangements, reported CNA.

According to the report, quoting one of the buyers, Tan has recently moved to a bigger unit – a 1,130 sq ft condominium – from their 914 sq ft four-room Housing & Development Board (HDB) flat.

With a more spacious unit, Tan, who works as an analyst, could set up a work desk each for him and his wife, so each of them could have a proper space for virtual meetings.

“WFH is the norm and more employers are becoming more flexible with their WFH arrangements. Given that, we will be spending more time at home, I thought it’s natural to make it more comfortable… You’ll (also) be spending more time withthe family, so I thought: ‘Why not look for a bigger place?’” Tan told the news portal.

Meanwhile, OrangeTee & Tie Pte Ltd’s senior associate district director Ryan Tan said about eight in 10 of his clients are now looking for bigger flats, compared to six in 10 before the pandemic.

He observed that there are clients who have sold off their condominium units to buy bigger HDB units.

Analysts’ data also echoed the trend as larger HDB units have become popular recently, compared to before the pandemic period. The findings are based on comparisons between pre-pandemic data from 2019, and from the third quarter of 2020 to the first quarter of 2021 – after the "circuit breaker" period in Singapore.

One- to three-room flats are considered smaller units, while four-room units and above are considered larger ones.

ERA Realty head of research Nicholas Mak said across these periods, average quarterly sales went up some 18% for smaller HDB resale flats, but sales for larger ones increased about 34%.

He added that the biggest jump in sales was for five-room and executive flats. Average quarterly sales for these jumped by about 40%.

OrangeTee & Tie senior vice-president of research and analytics Christine Sun said the first quarter sales for units above 1,200 sq ft (including landed homes) have increased 72% to 623 units in 1Q2021, from 362 units in 4Q2020.

“The price resilience of properties in Singapore may have also driven some to purchase bigger units now for fear that potential price increase may put such units out of reach in future,” she noted.

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