Singapore’s property districts: Where do you belong?

Though small, Singapore’s 28 housing districts and 26 (and growing) HDB towns each have their own unique and distinct atmosphere. Each have their own history, good eats and exclusive hideouts or communal features. How do you choose which district or estate you belong to?

Grandeur8Many older estates such as Ang Mo Kio and Toa Payoh have their identity rooted in times preceding even World War II. These matures estates have well-established amenities and their transport options have grown over the years. Each will have their own MRT station and bus interchange providing inter-town and shuttle buses; schools, shopping mall, medical facilities such as polyclinics, sporting and recreation amenities as well as parks and libraries.

Some larger townships are built around a regional commercial hub, such as Woodlands and Jurong. Woodlands for example is laid out in a circular shape, with each part of the town connected to major highways and to the town centre. HDB flats and many private condominiums dot the estate and its proximity to the Causeway also makes it a prime leasing spot for Malaysians working in Singapore.

Queenstown HDB flatPhoto credit: HDB

And there are also Satellite towns, Queenstown being the first and Tampines joining its ranks later on. Queenstown was developed by the former Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) in 1952 and was named after Queen Elizabeth II to mark her coronation. These towns, much like the other mature estates, are chock full of property-investment opportunities as buyers tend to look to these towns for leasing opportunities.

Outlying townships such as Punggol, Sengkang and Sembawang, previously considered remote and unpopular, are all coming into their own with Punggol leading the way into the 21st Century.

Thus, depending on your lifestyle preference, with the variety available within our small nation, there will always be a spot in Singapore which suits you.

It’s an EC world

Executive condominiums are some of the hottest properties on the buying public’s radar this year. These rare hybrid private-public homes straddle the 2 markets in the best way possible. While they begin their journey as public housing, thus allowing qualifying buyers to make use of government subsidies and loans to secure a usually cheaper-yet-comparable alternative to private condominium units, they graduate after 10 years to the private property market and their values more often that not appreciate considerably.

WandervaleECOne of the first ECs to be launched this year include Wandervale and The Visionaire. The Parc Life will soon be launched. Even though the nearby 1-327-unit Sol Acres EC might have been competing for buyers , 320 out of the 534-unit Wandervale EC in Choa Chu Kang has been sold.  Most of the units popular with HDB ugpraders and young families were the 4-bedders. 82 were sold in total. Prices averaged at $755 psf with a 3-bedroom apartment starting at $655,000 and the larger 4-bedders going for more than $896,000.  The Wandervale’s proximity to the Choa Chu Kang MRT station could have added to its popularity.

Besides The Parc Life, other EC launches in the works include Treasure Crest in Sengkang, Northwave in Woodlands and another in Choa Chu Kang.

Tiong Bahru Living it up

HighlineResidences2Without a doubt, most Singaporeans, expatriates and even visiting tourists will consider Tiong Bahru to be one of the hippest districts in town. Well, that makes almost everyone, really.

Tiong Bahru has achieved a world ranking in Vogue’s Global Street Style Report: 15 Coolest Neighbourhoods in the World, coming up 4th in the list, quite a feat for a little township in this small city-state. Designated a Heritage Conservation Area by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), it is much-loved for its pre-war architecture, quaint boutiques, eateries and cafes, its eclectic mix of housing options and just a general air of debonair.

Besides the shophouses and first-born HDB flats (it was Singapore’s first public housing estate), new private apartments are also coming up in its midst, providing options for more to enjoy the enclave’s gently vibrant atmosphere.

HighlineResidences1One of these new-kids-on-the-block is the Highline Residences, a 500-unit condominium inspired by the High Line in New York City and designed by award-winning architect Mok Wei Wei of W architects, which offers a good mix of one- to 4-bedroom apartments as well as dual-key units and penthouses. Developed by Keppel Land, the property is located just 5-minute’s walk away from Tiong Bahru MRT station and just a few stops away from the Orchard road shopping belt and the Central Business District. The upcoming Havelock MRT station nearby will be completed by 2021 and will add more transport options to the already-well connected area.

As far as city-fringe bohemian living goes, Tiong Bahru’s residents will be living it up for awhile.

 

 

Upper Thomson – Foodie and Nature Haven

Upper Thomson is quickly coming into its own as the next foodie, nature and lifestyle haunt, especially with its connectivity heightened by the upcoming Thomson-East Coast MRT line. This leafy North-east suburb will soon be just a short train trip away from the town centre, the CBD and even the other ends of the island.

183 LonghausThe number of new condominiums, hip food and beverage outlets and educational centres springing up in its midst has made Upper Thomson a much sought-after area for property investment. Condominiums which have been or are being built at the moment include Thomson Grand, Adana Thomson, Thomson Impressions, Thomson Three, The Panorama and most recently – 183 Longhaus.

The latter is developed by TEE Land and is essentially a mixed-use concept which will fit in superbly with the nearby landed homes and indie businesses. Despite being a low-rise 4-storey project, it will feature 10 commercial units and 40 apartment units including 14 penthouse units ranging from 88 to 110 sq m. The amenities such as banking facilities and the Thomson Community Club, and transport options such as bus stops and the circle and Thomson-East Coast line MRT stations nearby are big pluses; not to mention the MacRithchie and Lower and Upper Pierce reservoirs are just round the corner.

Adana CondoDespite the temporary inconvenience residents of Upper Thomson might have to endure as major road and tunnelling works are underway, the future for this suburban district looks bright.

Buangkok – The forgotten gem

When the Buangkok name is mentioned, many may remember the time when its namesake MRT station was in the news for being underused; some may still only think of it faintly as the backyard of other more mature townships such as Ang Mo Kio and Hougang. But Buangkok has since come into its own with connectivity on the North-east MRT line and as Sengkang and Punggol continues to grow.

The 616-unit Jewel @ Buangkok private condominium has taken root at this tranquil spot on the island and is just a 3-minute walk away from the Buangkok MRT station.

DnestSituated in between the Eastern and the Northern regions, it is just a short drive away on the Tampines Expressway (TPE) and Kallang-Paya Lebar Expresseway (KPE) from the Changi Business Park, planned Paya Lebar Business Hub and the Singapore EXPO. This makes the property a prime sweet spot for not only home-occupiers but also investors.

95 per cent of the property has been sold and its range of 3-bedders, dual key 4-bedders and penthouses will come into the private market this year. Most of the units boast a north-south orientation thus cutting out sun glare, and also come with smart storage systems and premium home interiors. Another similar property nearby with a 95 percent sales record is the d’Nest condominium which is expected to receive its TOP (temporary occupation permit) status next year.

Integrated properties bring buyers in

The weekend brought good cheer to the developers of a couple of new residential properties Cairnhill Nine in the heart of Orchard Road and The Wisteria in Yishun.

CairnhillNine

Photo credit: CapitaLand

In the prime Orchard road district, half of the 268-unit Cairnhill Nine has been sold. 200 units ranging from 591 to 3,864 sq ft were launched over the weekend. The project has a good variety of units with one-bedders and two-bedders which included guest rooms, and also four-bedroom units and penthouses. The area is near the major shopping belt, with amenities such as the library@orchard and Mount Elizabeth hospital and the Novena medical area just a stone’s throw away. With MRT stations and bus stops situated nearby, and its integration with serviced residence Ascott Orchard Singapore, Cairnhill Nine looks set to be a worthy addition to the many other private apartments in the area. Nearby is the luxury Hilltops condominium, Cairnhill Residences, Helios Residences and The Peak @ Cairnhill.

WIsteria YishunPhoto: The Wisteria in Yishun

Close to 85% of the 138 units at Wisteria, a mixed-use project developed by Northern Resi which includes a 2-storey mall, have been snapped up last weekend. There has been a number of promising new properties popping in Yishun in the past year and this just adds to the pie.

Both the Wisteria and Cairnhill Nine are 99-year leasehold properties.

Post lunar new year property market – What to expect?

The first half of February might have been duller for the property market, as expected what with the calendar year just beginning and preparations for the Lunar new year in the way. But now that festivities are almost over, what can we expect for the rest of the year?

South BeachPhoto: South Beach Residences

Property analysts are predicting a year of stabilisation for the market, with most of the worst almost over, though it may be too soon to expect a market recovery. January’s slight rise in resale private property prices and 2015’s increase in transaction volume may boost market sentiments.

They are however expecting the HDB resale market to fare better compared to their privately-owned counterparts. As the volume of these public housing are closely monitored by the government and are often considered the minimal living requirement (aside from those in the rental market), resale HDB flats will find potential buyers, though the wait may be longer than before. Resale flats with low or no COV (cash-over-valuation) can now more readily find buyers. HDB resale flat prices have fallen only 1.5 per cent last year, compared to 3.7 in the private property market.

This year, sellers of properties near the newly-opened Downtown Line mrt stations can expect more interest while buyers seek or hold out for private property bargains in the market as developers try to sell off unsold stock. With a much-depressed luxury property sector, buyers would be wise to keep an eye out for good deals in the prime-districts and central regions in developments such as South Beach Residences, New Futura and Paterson Collection.

 

 

Home prices along Downtown Line go to town

As expected, the newly completed Downtown MRT stations have brought much cheer not only the commuters but also to owners of properties in their vicinities.

The SkywoodsPhoto credit: Skywoods.com.sg

Since the Downtown Line began operating some of its stations last December, prices of properties near these stations have already seen an increase in interest, units sold and also rental prices. Private apartment prices have risen from $1,523 psf to $1,592 in the last quarter, up 4.5 per cent from the previous quarter. Out of the 18 stations now operating include long-awaited ones along Bukit Timah and Upper Bukit Timah such as Tan Kah Kee, King Albert Park, Sixth Avenue, Beauty World, Cashew, Hillview and also Bugis, Little India and Rochor stations along Rochor Canal and Sungei Road.

The price increase can be observed at private apartment projects such as Eco Sanctuary, where 9 per cent more units were sold by December. The development is now 91 per cent sold. Kingsford Hillview Peak condominium also saw a 3 per cent increase in sales and The Skywoods almost doubled their in the number of units sold.

With the effect MRT stations have on property prices, it would not be surprising to find prices of homes along upcoming Downtown and latest Thomson-East Coast line appreciate in the near future.