Property & Home Loans

What Kind of Home Would S$1 Million Buy in Major Cities Around the World?

Is S$1 million enough to purchase a home in Singapore? What about other major international cities? In this article, we compare prices across many of the world's most prominent cities to determine where you could afford to purchase a home with S$1 million.

What kind of home could you afford with S$1 million in Singapore? Tokyo? San Francisco? For a rare few, these questions may be part of their reality. For the rest of us, it can be fun to daydream about purchasing a nice flat in one of these international hubs.

What Kind of Home Does S$1 Million Afford You in Singapore?

Singapore condo within S$1 million price range (stproperty)
Singapore condo within S$1 million price range (stproperty)

S$1 million will easily cover the cost of most new and resale HDB flats in Singapore. The median price of HDB resale flats in every neighborhood is below S$1,000,000, so prospective homebuyers could afford a comfortable residence in even the most expensive areas of Singapore. For example, the median resale price of a 4-room HDB even in Central was S$850,000 in the early months of 2018.

Median Resale Price of 5-Room HDB

Individuals with this much money to spend on a home in Singapore might consider private condos, which tend to be more expensive than HDB flats. But, private condos tend to be much more expensive than HDBs. While S$1 million is enough to purchase a studio or 1-bedroom flat near downtown Singapore, it is typically not enough for a larger condo. However, it will certainly cover the price of an executive condo or landed house in less central neighborhoods.

S$1 Million is Not Enough to Afford Most Homes in Many Major International Cities

Manhattan apartment within S$1 million price range (Zillow)
Manhattan apartment within S$1 million price range (Zillow)

Singaporeans often complain about how expensive the island has become. However, real estate prices in Singapore pale in comparison to other metropolitan areas. For example, the median home prices in San Francisco, Hong Kong, New York, London, and Vancouver all significantly exceed prices in Singapore, as well as the S$1 million threshold. For example, while it is possible to find some studio and 1-bedroom condos for less than S$1 million in these cities, there are very few of these properties available compared to Singapore as these are some of the most expensive real estate markets in world.

Median Home Price in Major International Cities

Where is S$1 Million Enough to Purchase a Home?

While San Francisco, Hong Kong, New York, London and Vancouver are incredibly expensive, there are other major international cities that are much more affordable. For example, the average apartment in Sydney goes for S$755,120, while the average new condo in Tokyo costs S$706,080. Additionally, the median home price in Los Angeles is S$948,822, where homeowners can get even larger homes for their money compared to San Francisco: LA 's median price per square foot of S$658 is less than half of San Francisco's S$1,387 per square foot. These cities might be better options for those with S$1 million to spend, as they provide substantially cheaper alternatives to other prominent cities around the world.

Los Angeles apartment within S$1 million price range (Zillow)
Los Angeles apartment within S$1 million price range (Zillow)

There are also more affordable options near the more expensive cities, such as Hong Kong and New York, that are worth considering for those on a strict budget. For example, In Manhattan, New York's most iconic and expensive borough, the median sales price of all homes is approximately S$1.5 million. However, S$1,000,000 is more than enough to purchase homes in New York's other 4 boroughs, which offer easy access to Manhattan as well as their own unique cultures.

Median Home Sales Price New York City

How to Make Your Dream a Reality

For those of us that don't have $1 million for a home purchase, much less enough savings to pay for a home in full, there are a variety of home loan options to help you make your dream home a reality. For example, lenders in Singapore like HSBC or DBS currently offer rates as low as 1.7% for their mortgages (for the latest rates, check out our home loan comparison tool). Still, it is recommended that homebuyers use their personal savings to make a down payment of at least 20% of the home's price. While some lenders may offer home loans with smaller down payments, this could lead to more expensive and burdensome loans.

William Hofmann

William is a Senior Research Analyst at ValueChampion Singapore, focusing on banking and SMEs. He previously was an Economic Consultant at Industrial Economics Inc.

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