“Lease decay” is the buzzword that never seems to go away. On the HDB end of things, it leads to constant complaints that you “don’t really own your flat”. In Singapore’s private property market, it leads to comments like “99-year lease and so old? You may as well buy HDB”. 

And yet, even a brief glance at URA records will reveal there are buyers; there’s interest even in condos dating back to the ‘70s and ‘80s. Perhaps more surprisingly, some of the buyers aren’t’ always owner-occupiers. This leads to the question of why: what investment value is there, in older condos?

Older condos are probably not as “dead” as many of us imagine

The way internet ads / sales pitches explain lease decay, you may be given the impression older condos start declining fast at 40 years of age. In reality, this is what prices look like for leasehold developments completed before 1980: