Finding a Home

Choosing to home-hunt in the Central Core Region, suburbs or far from the madding crowd is one of the first decisions you will make. Central areas hum with urban energy and suburbs offer family-friendly enclaves. The choice you make should be what works best for your lifestyle.

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Singapore’s 3 Geographical Segments:

In Singapore, the private residential property market is divided into 3 geographical market segments: Core Central Region (CCR), Rest of Central Region (RCR) and Outside Central Region (OCR).

The Core Central Region is made up of postal districts 9, 10, 11, Downtown Core Planning Area and Sentosa. The Core Central Region is by nature mainly commercial, especially the area in the Downtown area. It also includes various types of residential housing units ranging from HDB flats to more luxurious forms of private housing, such as bungalows which are a status symbol in Singapore because land is limited hence it is expensive. There are also green spaces including parks, gardens and other recreational spaces linked by 19 km of park connectors, which were built in order to make this area aesthetically pleasing.

Rest of Central Region (RCR) is the area within the Central Region but outside the Core Central Region. More commonly known as the suburbs, the RCR continues to be a popular choice that homebuyers often have their eyes on by virtue of its relative proximity to the Central Business District (CBD)

Well-liked areas include Bishan, Ang Mo Kio, Toa Payoh, Alexandra, Bukit Merah, Kallang, Marine Parade and Queenstown. As such, Developers are expanding into this region. RCR appeals to buyers who are in search of a better variety of condo selections at a lower price tag than those available in the CCR, which are still within easy reach of Singapore’s CBD.

Outside Central Region (OCR) is the remaining 16 district in the 4 regions such as the West, East, North and North-East Regions. Buyers are becoming more price sensitive due to the effects of the cooling measures and TDSR, where getting a loan is challenging. Consequently, this makes the smaller units in distant regions (OCR) more appealing. Why? Because where the properties in the OCR is more affordable compared to the Central Core region. In addition to the lower prices, properties in the OCR are becoming more attractive due to the URA (Urban Redevelopment Authority) decentralisation strategy to promote Singapore’s growth by developing regional centres at various parts of the island including the West and North regions.

In the west, URA plans to transform Jurong Lake District into Singapore’s second Central Business District (CBD). The district’s proximity to the upcoming High Speed Rail and Tuas Mega port is set to create 100,000 new jobs. The government are also plans to build 20,000 new homes and develop more parks and waterways to make the region appealing to its residents. This district will be transformed into a sustainable business centre, which will provide more jobs and opportunities for Singaporeans.

Communities and neighbourhoods are always changing, and house values change right along with them. So when you start property shopping, look for an area you think is comfortable for you today and a smart investment tomorrow.

A checklist as you sort through your options:

Amenities: Are there nearby parks and open spaces or retail shops and trendy restaurants? How about libraries, grocery stores, and fitness centres (or a community centre with all of the above)? The best way to find out is to get out of the car, walk around, and ask the locals what they like and do not like about the area.

Schools: Even if you do not have children, this may be the single-most important marker of a good neighbourhood. That is because many homeowners do have kids, which means they are concerned about low crime, safe streets, good schools and the other characteristics that help good neighbourhoods stay that way.

Community services: You want to get a sense of the community and its current affairs. Reading community blogs and local newspapers will clue you in about issues like traffic, safety and development projects.

Transportation: If you want to be car-free, check out the local transit system. See how close the stops are to the neighbourhood or whether you will need to drive to a transit parking lot. Check how often the transit system runs throughout the day and into the night.

Commute times: If you plan to get to work by car, determine whether you will you be driving residential streets or busy arterials. Drive around at all times of the day and not just on the weekend while you are looking at properties. Drive your route during rush hour. Few things in life are more frustrating than finding out that a drive to work takes an hour, each way. Drive it a few times and for a true test, nothing beats 5 p.m.

Ease of access: Get a map of the area and put a dot on the places you will frequent: Work, shopping, schools, etc. You may be able to purchase a home outside of the city or farther away for less, but do you want to spend time in the car or bus? Maybe that more expensive house closer to work or school could be a better deal after all.

Safety: You can check online crime stats or drop by a local police post, but the bottom line is whether you feel safe walking around at night.

Economic stability: A healthy mix of residential neighbourhoods (property taxes) and businesses (sales and payroll taxes) sets the stage for vibrant, well-funded communities. Areas with colleges and government services are most likely to remain stable.

When it is time to relax, do you like to walk the dog, browse the shops or hit the clubs and cafes? Or do you need wild open spaces and lots of elbowroom? When you start to prioritize your preferences, you will likely find your choices will determine where to live.