Home Insurance

Average Cost of Home Renovation in Singapore 2021

We’ve continuously cover the real estate market here on ValueChampion. As we’ve shown, real estate prices on the island of Singapore can be sky high. If you are looking to remodel a home, what are the costs you can expect? Will the cost of a remodel also be sky high? For most consumers, there are two reasons they consider a home remodel in the first place:

  • They own a home and are looking to improve the quality and value.
  • They are interested in buying a depressed home, and want to know how much it will cost to renovate the property. If the renovation will be required, the renovation cost is effectively part of the purchase price from the buyer’s perspective.

Whichever situation you are in, it is a great starting point to understand the average cost of a home renovation within Singapore. Keep reading to find data on the average cost of a home remodel and some questions you should consider before getting started.

Average Cost of Home Renovation for a 4-room HDB Flat

We calculated the average cost of home renovation based on a 4-room HDB flat (i.e. 90 sq meter) since it represents the biggest proportion of residences in Singapore (32% of all homes). According to our research, the average cost of a moderate home renovation for a 4-room HDB flat is around S$50,750. This cost includes all of the raw material required and the labor needed to complete the project. In general, there are nine major components you will need to pay for.

Remodeling AreaAverage Light RenovationAverage Moderate RenovationAverage Extensive Renovation)
HackingS$1,200S$2,800S$11,350
MasonryS$3,000S$10,400S$37,500
CarpentryS$7,000S$17,950S$53,450
PlumbingS$1,200S$2,800S$8,700
ElectricalS$1,000S$2,450S$5,450
PaintingS$800S$1,600S$2,950
Glass & AluminumS$1,500S$3,850S$9,450
Cleaning and PolishingS$700S$1,400S$7,800
ApplianceS$7,500 (A/C, Washing Machines, etc.)
TotalS$23,900S$50,750S$144,150
^Lack of data from Qanvast may result in some inaccuracy

At any one of these steps, your choice of materials can decrease the cost of a remodel substantially. For instance, using laminate instead of marble in the kitchen and vinyl instead of granite in the bathrooms are just a few simple ways to save. For instance, below is a table that shows the range of pricing for each flooring material options. When we are talking about 101-140 sq meters of floor area, a difference of S$5-10 per square meter could be a huge difference.

Flooring MaterialLow End CostAverage CostHigh End Cost
MarbleS$10 per square footS$12.5 per square footS$15 per square foot
GraniteS$10 per square footS$15 per square footS$20 per square foot
ParquetS$7 per square footS$10.5 per square footS$14 per square foot
LaminateS$3.5 per square footS$4.0 per square footS$4.5 per square foot
VinylS$6 per square footS$6.25 per square footS$7.5 per square foot
Ceramic/TilesS$3 per square footS$9 per square footS$15 per square foot
Installation LaborS$3 per square footS$6.5 per square footS$10 per square foot

If money is an issue, consider the raw material at every step of the process and see if cheaper solutions exist. On top of this raw material cost, completing a portion of the work yourself (non-structural) can be a great way to save on labor.

Average Cost of Home Renovation Depending on Style

Although the average cost of renovating a home is around S$50,750, this cost could actually vary heavily depending on how you redesign your residence. There are largely 9 different style categories that people choose in Singapore. Below, we feature the average cost of home renovation for each design type, according to Qanvast.

StyleAverage Cost HDBAverage Cost CondoAverage Cost LandedAverage Cost/Sqm
ContemporaryS$72,530S$78,133S$657,950S$564
ModernS$60,304S$78,386S$423,652S$517
MinimalistS$62,471S$74,494S$358,125S$558
ScandinavianS$55,315S$101,365S$358,125S$489
EclecticS$69,314S$75,572S$368,400S$603
IndustrialS$54,093S$74,264S$137,167S$501
TraditionalS$46,890S$71,630S$218,882S$552
TransitionalS$58,498S$81,899S$189,081S$620
Retro^S$83,325S$97,500S$85,000S$659
Vintage^S$89,556S$80,522S$50,000S$736
^Lack of data from Qanvast may result in some inaccuracy

How Involved in the Process Will You Be?

When it comes to a home remodeling, there are several levels of involvement to consider.

Some consumers who have the skills and experience may enjoy doing the entire project by themselves--paying only for raw materials and any necessary tools. Given the regulations surrounding HDB renovations, this option is uncommon and can be risky.

Therefore, most property owners will choose to work with an interior designer or contractor who can manage the entire process from start to finish. They are not only familiar with the regulations and guidelines, but will know where to source most materials within your budget. That being said, some people will do a combination of these two approaches, and complete basic jobs by themselves but hire out specialists to do the jobs which require expertise – like electrical and plumbing.

Before getting started, carefully consider your available time and experience level in these fields. Educate yourself on the guidelines and regulations when renovating an HDB flat before proceeding with any renovation. If you intend to move forward with some DIY (non-structural) enhancements to your HDB flat, make sure to check official guidelines and if your project will require a permit or not.

So if you are not looking to start a DIY project, we recommend consulting a licensed professional to help this project to the end. Lastly, you should note that your home insurance should cover your renovations, but you will have to increase your home insurance coverage if the renovations add substantial value to your home (for instance, you are replacing vinyl countertops with granite or marble).

How Will You Finance The Project?

If you don’t have the money on hand, you will need to find financing. Many homeowners will take out a personal or home equity loan in order to make a renovation possible. Our research has shown that it is almost always preferable to use a renovation loan, rather than a personal loan, for this type of project. In general, personal loans will carry interest rates which are 6% - 7% higher than renovation loans. This is made possible because many times the value of the home being remodeled is used as collateral. From the banks perspective, a renovation loan is simply safer than a personal loan.

Set a Budget

Regardless of how you finance the project, it is important to first determine the maximum amount you can spend on the remodel. Most experts recommend setting a budget first, and then removing 15% from this total. In essence, you now have 85% of your budget to work with and have 15% available if cost overruns occur. If this is your first remodel, be realistic and expect some things to not go as planned. By creating a 15% buffer, you will be confident that the project can be done at your price point and not create a financial strain for you or your family.

Final Thoughts

A home remodel can be a great way to add value to your home and make it more enjoyable to live in. At ValueChampion, we will be with you as you look for a home, find financing, and begin your remodel.

Duckju Kang

Duckju (DJ) is the founder and CEO of ValueChampion. He covers the financial services industry, consumer finance products, budgeting and investing. He previously worked at hedge funds such as Tiger Asia and Cadian Capital. He graduated from Yale University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics with honors, Magna Cum Laude. His work has been featured on major international media such as CNBC, Bloomberg, CNN, the Straits Times, Today and more.

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