It is quite common to hear that “real estate is a good old-age asset”. In practice, however, not every homeowner is aware of the role their property plays in their retirement portfolio. Many have no considerations beyond selling and demoting, or even assuming they will move in with children.

There are other ways real estate can boost retirement planning, however, and here are some other methods:


The following is not financial advice, and proper retirement planning must be done on a case-by-case basis. These are just general concepts of how real estate can and has been used to support a homeowner’s retirement.

Always speak to a qualified financial planner, money manager, etc., or other professional you trust before attempting any retirement strategies. Remember, what works for one homeowner may not work for another.

Five Ways To Add Your Property To Your Retirement:

  • Sale and downgrade in retirement
  • Look for cash flow positive real estate
  • Partial letting
  • Pledging your property for CPF
  • Lease Buyback Scheme (for HDB real estate)

1: Sale and downgrade in retirement

This is probably the most common approach: the idea is that when you retire, you sell your home, move to a smaller one, and then use the remaining sales proceeds to retire (e.g., sell your home for $ 1.5 million, an apartment buy for $ 400,000 and $ 1.1 million for retirement).

However, there are some risks here.

The first is that you don’t really know the future prices for your property. While real estate generally increases in value over time, it’s hard to know by how much and if the total return will be enough for your retirement plan.

Chances are the real estate market may be in a downturn at your particular time of retirement.

For example, consider the price movement of resale homes since the early 2000s. In the run-up to the financial crisis from 2008 to 2013, the resale flat rates were as follows:

Immediately thereafter, the HDB resale flat rates fell for around seven years before picking up again recently:

Of course, a drop in property values ​​is unlikely to destroy retirement. and in the above case, even if they sold in 2009 or 2010, most homeowners still made much more than they lost. It is worth noting, however, that your property value could fall below expectations closer to retirement.

In addition, other factors – such as the remaining lease on a property – can also affect the resale value. This could be a consideration when choosing a condo, despite the price premium (for more in-depth advice on whether a particular property can achieve your goals, contact us directly).

Ultimately, our experience shows that some homeowners ultimately fail to implement this plan for reasons other than financial.

If you are in your sixties and have lived most of your life in a specific area, how ready are you to move?


All of your friends and hangouts are already in close proximity, and the location may not be interchangeable.

If you’ve lived on property all your life and are used to keeping certain pets or having a yard, you may not be able to adapt to HDB living. This has resulted in some retirees refusing to sell under even the craziest of conditions.

If you have no income but have a high quality property that you don’t want to sell, there is a good chance you won’t get a lot of government support (e.g. the annual value of your property alone could exclude you from certain aid programs).

2. Look for cash flow positive traits


Another viable strategy is to focus less on the property’s potential gains and just focus on the raw rental income. This means investing in strategies in which the rental income can cover recurring costs (e.g. property tax, maintenance fees) and generate excess money at the same time.

(You may want to make sure sooner that the home loan is also covered by rental income, but since the property is likely to pay off in full by the time you retire, it is a consideration to remove this.)

We have selected a few properties that could potentially do this.

Some buyers looking for these properties only buy properties that are already rented or properties with a track record of 10 to 15 years (despite the age problem).

New start-up properties are usually a no-go for these buyers, since (1) new launches can only be rented after completion and (2) rental prices are very volatile in the first few years; Not to mention the cash flow element is a lot more speculative to begin with.

3. Partial rent


Some condos have dual-key layouts. This means that there are two separate halves of the same unit. Dual-key units, while more expensive per square foot, can serve retirees in two ways.

The first is that you can comfortably rent half of the unit while you live in the other half. Dual-key units make this much more convenient than renting out rooms in the same shared apartment, for example.


Each sub-unit even has separate functional areas such as its own bathroom, pantry, etc.

This could be a source of rental income with minimal frustration and without owning a second property.

The second reason is not purely financial. Think about whether you want to sell and downgrade (see point 1). One variation is to sell your house and then move in with your children, siblings, etc.

However, doing so is risky as you may not get along or have no privacy later. In these cases, you might consider selling with your kids, siblings, etc, and then moving to a two-key unit. With the units separated, you would protect your privacy.

4. Mortgaging your property for CPF


Once you reach the minimum age of 55, you will be able to withdraw CPF funds in excess of your full retirement pension. The remainder must remain in your CPF to form your Retirement Account (RA).

(Your retirement pension will vary based on age. You can check it on the CPF website.)

However, if you own a property, you can choose to mortgage your property. This means you only need to keep your basic pension amount (half of your full pension amount) in your CPF and you can withdraw more.

Pledging your property does not mean losing your property. All it means is that if and when you sell the property, the pledged amount must be returned from the sales proceeds into your CPF.


You can pledge a property as long as the value of your property is sufficient to cover the full retirement pension and the property is rented for at least 30 years.

Your property may not be a two-room flexi apartment or has been set up for the Lease Buyback Scheme (LBS) below. If you only own the property together, you can of course only pledge up to your share of the property’s value.

This frees up more money to invest as you see fit. However, speak to a finance professional about the assignment. Please don’t buy a big screen TV or a car with it.

5. Lease Buyback Scheme (LBS) for HDB real estate


With LBS you can sell back part of your unused leasing contract to HDB.

For example, if you are 65 years old, you do not need 60 years of residual rent for your apartment. For this reason, you could decide to sell back a 30 year lease. The payout you receive is determined based on market value (however, be aware that the back end of a lease is less valuable than the front end).

The payout goes to your CPF first. Any excess of your retirement pension can be paid out in cash.


Recall that in point 1 we said that one of the problems was that older homeowners were unwilling to sell despite a lack of retirement plans. The LBS is designed to fix this because you can get money out of your property without selling and moving.

However, the disadvantage is that you can no longer sell your apartment on the open market. Even if someone comes with a better deal, you won’t be able to sell anymore (you can still rent out the vacant bedrooms).

It also means that you don’t have an apartment to leave with the kids or other family members (although this is not a problem if they already have a home and can’t own your HDB apartment anyway).

If this is of interest to you, the conditions of participation are listed here:

criteria Eligibility to participate
Age All owners must be of eligibility age (currently set at 65) or older
citizenship At least one owner must be a Singapore citizen
income Gross monthly household income of $ 14,000 or less
Flat type All apartment types * (except rental apartments, HUDC and EC units)
property No simultaneous ownership of second properties
Minimum duration of employment All owners have lived in the apartment for at least 5 years
Minimum rental period At least 20 years lease for the sale to HDB

First, quantify your age goals, then analyze your real estate options


Almost any property will “go up in value,” it’s a generic statement that doesn’t mean much. For retirement, the first thing you need to do is determine an amount required for your retirement and the required rate of return. This is a chore for any financial planner you trust.

Once these numbers are known, it is possible to shortlist properties that could produce the required profits. For this problem, we are always ready to help you identify the right potential customers.

This article was first published in Stackedhomes.