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How Much Does it Cost to Renovate a New/Resale Condo in 2023?

January 18, 2023

We did the Math and spoke to two interior firms to find out whether condo renovation costs and durations will increase in 2023 – and why.

In July 2022, Singapore’s core inflation hit 4.8%, with higher prices for food, electricity and gas driving the figure up.

With the 1% GST hike kicking in, prices for big-ticket items and services are also seeing a considerable increase, so you can count renovation costs in these too.

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If you’re planning for your new condo’s renovation, or looking at refurbishing a resale condo, your renovation is going to cost you more – and might take longer than it would have in years past.

Update your renovation budgeting and plans with expected 2023 condo renovation costs and durations, with key insights from two professional interior firms.


Expected renovation costs for new/resale condos in 2023

First, a look at 2022 stats for condo renovation costs

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We crunched the numbers based on project data from condo renovations completed in 2022.

Property typeMedian renovation cost in 2022
New condominium$39,800 to $50,600
Resale condominium$60,000 to $80,000

Looking at the stats for the median cost, you would have to fork out $39,800 to $50,600 for doing up your new condo, while refreshing a resale apartment could cost you anywhere between $60,000 to $80,000.

So, how much would it cost to renovate a new or resale condo in 2023?

We spoke to IDs from two firms – Zenith Arc and Happe Design Atelier – to find out.

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Both interior firms anticipate that renovation costs will continue to increase, albeit less compared to previous years. Factoring in the GST hike, Zenith Arc estimates that renovation prices will increase further by about 3% to 8% in 2023. That translates to approximately $43,000 to $55,000 for new condos and $61,800 to $86,400 for resale condos.

“With prices rising industry-wide, whether you engage a designer or a contractor, you can’t do as many renovation works with a $30k budget for resale condos – at most, you could do essential works like flooring and wall tiles.”

For a new condo, more of the budget can go to upgrading the apartment’s aesthetics since it comes with fittings and fixtures like flooring, wardrobes and kitchen cabinets.

Why have condo renovations become more expensive?

Compared to 2021, the 2022 numbers show an increase in cost of approximately 19% for new condos and 11% for resale condos, reflecting the trend that condo renovation costs have been increasing over the years. Here’s why:

1) Increasing labour cost

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Zenith Arc highlighted that the rising cost of living and inflation impact rental costs – as an example, the cost for Malaysian workers renting one room here has gone up from around $400 to $500 in the past, to $700 to $800 now.

Happe Design Atelier similarly shared that besides accommodation, permit requirements for workers are also getting stricter, driving up labour costs.

2) Increasing material cost

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Happe Design Atelier also pointed out that the prices of construction materials across the industry have increased significantly.

According to Zenith Arc, that would be close to 20% for raw materials. “For materials like tiles and plywood, for instance, you’ll see an increase because they’re not manufactured locally and are instead imported into Singapore. It’s effectively a chain reaction; with the rising petrol costs, the freight charges increase, and the eventual/total materials cost naturally increases.”

Happe Design Atelier shared that such price increases were uncommon before the pandemic and that “most price adjustments would happen once a year, at the most”. However, post-pandemic, they have had suppliers informing them of increasing material prices as often as every month.


Expected renovation duration for new/resale condos in 2023

First, a look at 2022 stats for condo renovation duration

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It’s not just renovation costs that have been increasing: completing renovations took longer too.

Property typeMedian renovation duration in 2022
New condominium8 weeks
Resale condominium10 to 12 weeks

Based on the projects completed in 2022, new condo renovations took about 8 weeks to complete, which is approximately a 14% increase from the year before.

Resale condo projects, meanwhile, have seen a relatively bigger increase of about 25% from 2021, with makeovers taking 10 to 12 weeks.

So, how long would it take to renovate a new or resale condo in 2023?

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Here’s the outlook for 2023: the good news is that further delays are unlikely.

Zenith Arc and Happe Design Atelier both believe that the renovation duration for condos will remain the same as in 2022, and perhaps even recover this year, as long as there are few disruptions to the original timeline.

What are these disruptions, you ask? Keep reading to find out.

Why have condo renovations been taking longer to complete?

1) Tightened MCST restrictions on working hours

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With pandemic restrictions eased and borders opening up, you might be wondering why the renovation timeline hasn’t recovered.

The main factor, as both Happe Design Atelier and Zenith Arc lay out, is the restrictions to the working hours for renovations.

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“In general, condo managements have more stringent working hours for us. Before, we could start work at 9am and finish at 5.30pm. However, since a lot of people stay at home to study or work, other residents would request that we leave earlier.

For some condos, we are only allowed to start at 10am now, including mobilising the tools and equipment, and our workers have to leave the site by 4pm. When you account for lunch hour and break times on top of that, we don’t have as much time to work on the renovation,” says Happe Design Atelier.

Zenith Arc had a similar point of view, highlighting that since many residents have partial WFH arrangements, they would request for renovations to be paused if disruptive works like hacking/drilling were taking place.

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Happe Design Atelier added that while the borders have opened up, foreign workers who had to stay in Singapore during the lockdown have since left the country or returned to their countries for an extended duration, which led to a labour crunch affecting renovation timelines.

However, there is little to worry about manpower shortages in the coming months as this has not persisted, a fact that Zenith Arc pointed out as well.

2) Material shortage

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According to Happe Design Atelier, material shortages continued to affect project timelines last year due to the high demand and low supply of products.

Zenith Arc shares that this is less likely now: “If you make your reservation about two weeks in advance, I don’t think there’s any issue. There are shortages of some materials – high-quality power tracks, for example, that we bring in from Germany. In general, however, there are cheaper alternatives homeowners can turn to.”


Tight on budget? Here’s what you can spend/save on for your reno

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“If this is going to be your forever home, then you can invest more to do up your spaces – but if you’re planning on upgrading to a new home later, it would be best to save up and only do what’s necessary,” shares Zenith Arc.

This could mean keeping built-ins to a minimum, like having essential cabinetry but sticking to a freestanding TV console in the living room instead of a TV feature wall. As Zenith Arc shares, carpentry alone could cost about $20k to $30k depending on the size of the condo apartment.

For Happe Design Atelier, good quality finishes are key; whether it’s furniture or built-in features in the house, “it’s important that they’re not just aesthetic, but also that they create impact” for them to be worth the cost. Plus, if you invest in quality furniture, “you can bring them along” if you plan on moving to a new place later.


Renovating your condo in 2023?

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At the end of the day, what you do for your home’s renovation depends on your priorities and your lifestyle, so make sure you consider where you want to park your budget. Don’t forget to discuss your plans with your interior designer to get their opinion and make an informed decision.

Haven’t found an interior designer yet? Get free personalised quotes based on your renovation budget and design requirements from five local interior design firms!

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