Buying a residential property to live in is a major financial commitment. Only after working for five and a half years, did my wife and I considered buying our first property. We wanted a home first before we got married in 1987. In 1986, we started to search for a suitable property that was within our budget. We considered buying a property from Housing & Development Board (HDB). We were on the HDB wait list for five years. The wait, the rules and restrictions imposed by HDB turned us off.
We then went around hunting for a private property, doing house viewing of several properties. These private properties were beyond our financial means.
At that time there was this middle income housing built by the Housing & Urban Development Co (Pte) Ltd (HUDC). HUDC was a company jointly owned by HDB and Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA). Its main object was to construct quality flats in good residential areas for sale to middle income Singapore citizens and certain PRs. In Phase 1, HUDC started with five estates.
On 13 June 1986, we signed an option to purchase a unit in Farrer Court (HUDC Phase 1) from an existing owner for $168,000. ($108 per square foot) At that time, this sum was large relative to our combined income. We had to take a mortgage loan from Citibank to finance this purchase. The property was already nine years into its 99-year leasehold when we acquired it. The loan amount taken was $65,000 since we had CPF monies to pay part of the purchase price. We paid up this loan in seven years.
We moved in October 1986 and stayed on until 10 September 2008 (22 years later). This was first home for our daughter and our first matrimonial home. It held such fond memories.
What I would like to say is that we must buy residential property within our means to finance it. To take a huge mortgage loan can be a great strain in our lives and I always say it does not make sense to work for a bank for the rest of our working lives.