If you think any other neighbourhood away from central will be cheap, you’re highly wrong. Here are some HDB housing estates that are surprisingly expensive to live in, but for good reason.
Orchard. Bishan. Toa Payoh. When it comes to buying an HDB flat in Singapore, even the uninitiated would know that purchasing one in these estates would mean exorbitant price tags in exchange for the accessibility and connectivity that these central locations would entail.
But what if we told you that buying a flat in other locations such as Punggol and Tampines could also cause significant damage to your bank account? As remote as you think these places might be, some of them can actually fetch good prices for the seller. Some of them are even home to the coveted million-dollar flats.
So before you start house-hunting and get a rude shock from the startling high prices, here are five unexpectedly pricey HDB estates that you might want to avoid if you’re on a tight budget.
|Type of house||Price|
|3-room (HDB)||S$360,000 - S$530,000|
|4-room (HDB)||S$450,000 - S$600,000|
|5-room (HDB)||S$560,000 - S$920,000|
|Executive||S$750,000 - S$1,030,000|
Located at the second last stop of the East-West Line (EWL), Tampines may seem extremely out of the way, especially for individuals who do not frequent the east. So how on earth is a flat in Tampines so expensive?
Correct me if I’m wrong but all easties would agree that Tampines is one of the most frequented haunts as it’s home to not one, not two, but three shopping malls - Tampines Mall, Tampines One and Century Square. They’ve also recently added one more to the list - Our Tampines Hub, an integrated community and lifestyle hub, making it extremely convenient for east-side dwellers.
There are plenty of job opportunities here as well, in nearby Changi Business Club, Changi Airport and Jewel. Outdoor enthusiasts would also be able to take advantage of outdoor amenities like Tampines Eco Green and the various park connectors.
Tampines is also extremely accessible, as it has three nearby MRT stations - Tampines, Tampines East and Tampines West, located on both the East-West Line and Downtown Line, and there are also plans to include more stations as part of the Thomson-East Coast Line and Cross Island Line.
With all these amenities and convenience, house prices in Tampines continue to show an upward trend. If you’re in need of cash, you can always consider a home loan to finance your house.
|Type of house||Price|
|3-room (HDB)||S$400,000 - S$488,000|
|4-room (HDB)||S$510,000 - S$650,000|
|5-room (HDB)||S$540,000 - S$800,000|
|Executive||S$728,000 - S$810,000|
As inaccessible one might think Punggol is (since it sits right at the end of the North-East Line), Punggol has made a name for itself by clinching a record-breaking selling price of S$910,888 of a five-room loft unit in Punggol Sapphire. Why are Punggol prices so high?
Firstly, one of the main draws of Punggol is the access to a tranquil waterfront lifestyle since it has Punggol Waterway Park in close proximity, as well as the availability of outdoor spaces like Coney Island for recreational activities.
It is also known to be Singapore’s ‘Silicon Valley’ where the upcoming Punggol Digital District (PDD) is scheduled to open in 2023, the first mixed-seed district with commercial and business park spaces.
On top of that, Punggol is one of the few estates with an LRT system, though it might be a tad inconvenient if you don’t live near an LRT station since the neighbourhood can be rather large. It has also become way more accessible due to the construction of a new road connecting Punggol Central to major expressways like KPE, TPE and PIE. There are also ongoing works to transform the Riviera LRT station into an MRT station as part of the Punggol extension that connects Punggol to Pasir Ris on the Cross Island Line.
Punggol has recently become a popular BTO location since it is an up-and-coming neighbourhood, making prices skyrocket. In 2011, the average cost of a four-room BTO flat in Punggol was about S$280,000 and increased to about S$383,000 in 2019.
|Type of house||Price|
|3-room (HDB)||S$300,000 - S$600,000|
|4-room (HDB)||S$430,000 - S$770,000|
|5-room (HDB)||S$540,000 - S$1,000,000|
|Executive||S$790,000 - S$1,030,000|
Those who still consider Geylang a red-light district might shun the thought of living in the area. But house prices are generally quite high there, mainly due to the close proximity to the Central Business District (CBD), which is just a short 10-minute car ride away.
The neighbourhood is also very accessible via MRT, boasting three MRT stations nearby — Aljunied, Dakota and Paya Lebar. Paya Lebar is also home to three shopping malls, Paya Lebar Quarters, Paya Lebar Square and Kinex, as well as a SingPost Centre, making it extremely high in demand. Paya Lebar Station is also an interchange between the East-West Line and Circle Line.
The upcoming relocation of Paya Lebar Airbase in 2030 would also mean a change in height restrictions on buildings in the surrounding areas, allowing for flats to be a lot higher. Many might also flock to Geylang to purchase a house in hopes of a possible en-bloc purchase in the future.
|Type of house||Price|
|3-room (HDB)||S$320,000 - S$600,000|
|4-room (HDB)||S$420,000 - S$660,000|
|5-room (HDB)||S$500,000 - S$900,000|
|Executive||S$750,000 - S$1,080,000|
Though Hougang may not strike you as a highly coveted area to live in, the selling prices of HDB flats here are surprisingly high as it is considered quite near to town, with its executive flats soaring up to a whopping S$1,080,000.
As it’s a mature estate, there is a full range of amenities that residents have access to, including Hougang Sports Hall for recreational activities, and Heartland Mall and Kovan Hougang Market and Food Centre for delectable dishes.
For investment purposes, prospective buyers may also get in line to purchase a house in Hougang due to the potential future developments at the extensive undeveloped greenfield land located at Hougang Central, which might boost the property value in the vicinity. According to the URA Master Plan, that area has been sectioned out to be used for commercial and residential developments.
Moreover, Hougang is also scheduled to be an interchange on the Thomson-East Coast Line in the near future, making Hougang flats extremely attractive for potential home buyers.
|Type of house||Price|
|3-room (HDB)||S$390,000 - S$480,000|
|4-room (HDB)||S$460,000 - S$760,000|
|5-room (HDB)||S$480,000 - S$830,000|
|Executive||S$650,000 - S$870,000|
Surprisingly, getting a flat in Sengkang isn’t going to be cheap. Their three-room HDB flats actually rank quite high on the list in terms of the median housing prices in Singapore, since it is a rather young district with newer flats.
Sengkang is well-connected and accessible, with an MRT station, LRT stations and a bus interchange all within the vicinity. The neighbourhood is also littered with schools that comprise six kindergartens, 12 primary schools and six secondary schools, making it convenient for families with kids.
There’s no lack of dining and shopping options either. Rivervale Mall, Compass One, Rivervale Plaza and Seletar Mall are all just a stone’s throw away. There’s even Sengkang General Hospital and Sengkang Community Hospital in the area for healthcare services, contributing to the surge in prices in recent years.
Should I purchase a home in an expensive housing estate?
The hefty price tags of these housing estates are usually justified by their central location, great accessibility, exclusive views or the availability of amenities. Hence, purchasing a home in a well established and pricey neighbourhood would usually bring you a whole lot of convenience.
However, whether the high prices are justified all boils down to your priorities. Do you value convenience more because you don’t have a family car or don’t wish to spend too much time on a commute? Or are you looking for a unit with high investment opportunities?
If it’s the latter, you’ll have to consider the potential appreciation of your unit before you purchase one. If the selling price is already so high, it might be difficult to sell at an even higher price especially for resale flats since they are already much more expensive and have a dwindling lease.
There’s also the COV prices and renovation costs that you’ll have to factor in if you’re planning to make a profit out of your unit.
For investment purposes, a BTO flat that’s near an MRT station with a wide range of amenities nearby might be your best bet, since prices will definitely appreciate over time.
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