Despite industry talk that it isn't the wisest time to buy property right now, shipbuilding subcontractor Michael Chee, 52, brazenly went ahead with his search for a new pad.
He had only two criteria: It had to be easily accessible by public transport and it had to be cheap.
He said of his recent purchase, a three-bedroom unit in Northvale condominium located opposite the Choa Chu Kang MRT station: 'If I had a car, the location wouldn't have mattered to me, but I don't have a driving licence so I prefer to live near an MRT station or a bus interchange.
'I don't want to waste so much time on travelling and waiting for feeder buses. Time is money too.'
He paid about $640,000 for the 1,350 sq ft apartment last month and plans to move in in June.
'HDB prices are so high. If I buy an HDB flat near the MRT station, I will have to pay at least $450,000. I might as well pay a bit more and get to experience living in a condominium,' he said.
The condominium unit is his first private property purchase.
The family now lives in a five-room HDB flat in Choa Chu Kang.
His eldest child, a 26-year-old, will continue to live there with her husband and one-year-old daughter while he, his wife, a 50-year-old housewife, their 23-year-old daughter and 20-year-old son will move to the condominium.
'The search took only a few weeks because I was sure I wanted to buy an older condominium,' said Mr Chee.
'We went to see some new condominiums, but you have to make decisions based on drawings that may not be accurate and then you still have to wait a long time for it to be completed before you can move in.'
He paid half of the cost of the condominium up front from his savings and took a bank loan to finance the other half.
He said he has no plans to sell the HDB flat for now.
'With the economy in this state, at least if something happens to my job, I still have the HDB flat to fall back on. I could at least sell or mortgage it if I need the cash for the condominium payment,' he said.
On advice from others not to buy property now, he said: 'Why should I listen to others? Buying a house is a personal thing. It is up to your needs. If you like the place, the owners are willing to sell, the price is okay and you can afford to buy it, then why not?'
Source: Straits Times, 29 Mar 2009
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