Yes I understand. Many people think like this, mostly & usually they are first timers in the HDB game. Lawrence does not stay in Punggol but Sengkang West/Fernvale Road in/around block 44X, 41X or 43X from his descriptions. HDB last transacted prices for these between $ 465K-510K. Not all people can stay with family, some people have a family of their own like Lawrence with his 2 kids, & has to rent a flat whilst waiting for their new flat. This can come up to say $24K pa. What about agent's commission, moving/renovation costs etc?
BTO involves chances/ballots/queues for flats normally in new/remote areas together with the 2-3 years waiting time. There is no guarantee one will succeed in getting a flat, or one may end up getting a flat in poor location/floor/facing etc. Its the luck of the draw. So if one sells a expensive flat in choice location & get a cheaper flat inferior in comparison, in effect, its just downgrading as I have mentioned. Where property is concerned, much if not all is about location, location & location. This account for most of the price difference. This apply whether going the BTO way or buying a flat direct from the open market. Its like if one move from central AMK to outlying Jurong West, there will be a huge price difference for the "downgrade". Heck, even moving from one estate/area to another within the same HDB town makes a huge difference! Some may choose to see this as making money, its up to them. Its a case of comparing orange with orange, or orange with apple. If one has an orange which cost $1 & substitute it with an apple which cost $0.50, yes,one can claim to save, or "made" money. But in reality, we had an orange which is worth more but now have an apple which worth less instead. That was one of my point.
Anyway,its Lawrence's choice. Whether its worth it up to him. Change perspective to buyers of HDB flats, if prices jump 2X, 3X, for nothing associated with productivity but with speculation, can we blame them from complaining to HDB/Govt? HDB now pumping out flats like nobody's business, like what I see in Yishun where hills are flattened & flats sprout out like overnight. Prices may stabilize or even fall...
And what new unique "strategies" are we talking about here? People has been doing same/similar in the 90's, buy HDB, then sell when price risen & buy HDB again in new estates (take loans even better). That led up to the 1997 financial crisis. Only this time, Govt has wised up.