If you’re planning to buy a condo or HDB flat, then one of the biggest considerations is deciding between a high-floor or low-floor unit.
Generally, many prefer units on higher floors because the consensus is that they are ‘better’ since they offer more privacy and better views, among other things. As such, it’s not uncommon to see high-floor HDB flats or condo units snapped up first even though they cost a premium.
Moreover, there are numerous high-floor HDB flats that have been sold for more than a million dollars. In May 2022, there were two jumbo flats in Woodlands located on the seventh to ninth and 10th to 12th floor that changed hands for $1.03 million and $1.04 million respectively. No doubt they are more spacious than typical HDB flats, but their location on the higher floors definitely contributed to the hefty price tags.
So, are high-floor units all they’re hyped up to be? Let’s take a look at the pros of living on higher vs lower floors.
|Pros of living on a higher floor||Pros of living on a lower floor|
|Better natural wind ventilation||More convenient|
|Less prone to pests||Not as dusty|
|More privacy and lower noise levels||Cheaper|
|Better views||Better pool/garden views|
|Better resale value||Easier if you’re a pet owner|
|Less prone to litter (including killer litter)||More floor space|
|Not vulnerable to floods|
Pros of Living on a Higher Floor:
1. Has Better Wind Ventilation
Units on higher floors are usually unblocked and therefore are therefore windier. As such, you’ll also spend less on your energy bills as your home would be cooler. If the unit is north-south oriented, then you have the added bonus of receiving natural wind ventilation all year long.
2. Less Prone to Pests
Pests like cockroaches, mosquitoes, and rats are commonly found on the lower floor units since it’s easier for them to make their way into your home. This is especially true if the unit is close to the garbage chute.
Having said that, living on a higher floor doesn’t mean that your home is immune to pests; your personal hygiene and overall cleanliness also play a big role. If you leave food all around or don’t clean your home regularly, then it only encourages pests to breed and roam around. If you need tips to keep your home free from pests, read our pest control article guide.
3. More Privacy and Lower Noise Levels
If you enjoy peace and quiet, then you may prefer a higher-floor condo unit or an HDB flat. Broadly speaking, the higher the unit, the further away you are from the clamouring sounds of people, drilling noises from nearby construction sites, honking horns, and noises from the pool and BBQ pits.
However, some condos have facilities on higher floors or on the rooftop, so the reverse may also be true if you live on a higher floor in such developments. So before buying, make sure you know where the facilities are located.
Also, noise doesn’t just come from below. For instance, if you have noisy neighbours, then you may have to get used to the sound of footsteps, chatter, moving furniture or renovation noise. Higher floors may also be more prone to the sound of planes, which may affect you if you’re working from home.
4. Better Views
Higher floor condo units or HDB flats offer better views of the surrounding area, be it the city, sea, or sunset. This is especially true if you live in a low-density neighbourhood. However, expect to pay more the higher you go, especially if the property has great views (e.g. sea-facing). This is one reason why penthouse units or units located on the highest floor are always the priciest.
5. Better Resale Value
Homes located on higher storeys tend to command higher premiums. In fact, it’s not uncommon to see a price difference of thousands of dollars based on the floor level alone. As such, you can sell (or rent) your home at a higher price in the future.
As a matter of fact, resale prices for condominiums increased for the 24th month in July 2022, while HDB resale prices have increased for the 25th straight month in that month too.
6. Less Prone to High-Rise Litter (Including Killer Litter)
It’s not uncommon for residents living on lower floors (especially those on the ground floor) to be victims of high-rise litter. Common trash includes tissue paper, cigarette butts and food waste, but there have also been cases where people have tossed ‘unusual’ items such as human faeces, empty bottles, glass panels, and meat cleavers — resulting in injuries and even death.
7. Not Vulnerable to Floods
Granted, it’s not very common, but given that there are quite a few low-lying housing estates in Singapore, your home may be prone to floods if you live on the ground floor of these flood-prone areas. But if you live on higher floors, then you don’t have such concerns.
8. Better Security
Though crime isn’t very rampant in Singapore, ‘low crime doesn’t mean no crime’ as they say. Burglaries are less likely to happen on higher floors since it takes much more effort.
Pros of Living On Lower Floors:
1. More Convenient
You spend much less time waiting for and waiting in lifts, which is a common problem if you live on higher floors. Additionally, in case of fire, emergencies, or if the lift breaks down, it’s safer and easier to leave the building, as taking the stairs won’t be a drag.
Living on lower floors is also good for families with elderly/disabled members since it’s more accessible for them. And if you live in an apartment or condo, then it’s also more convenient to access facilities such as pools, which are typically on the ground floor.
2. Not as Dusty
Whilst you may not enjoy the wind breeze as much as your fellow residents living on top, it also means that you’ll be less exposed to the dust that comes with the wind.
Although higher floor condo units or HDB flats have better resale value, they’re also much more expensive. For example, if a 20-storey project has an average price difference of $5,000 per floor, the difference between the unit on the 20th floor and the second floor is $90,000. That’s a huge amount of money to fork out, especially if you’re tight on cash.
4. Better Garden/Pool Views
Higher floors may give you better views of the surroundings and from afar, but lower floor units are great if you prefer up-close views of the pool or greenery, or if you enjoy people-watching.
5. Easier if You’re a Pet Owner
Some neighbours may feel uncomfortable around your pet, especially in the lift. If you’re a pet owner, then it’s less awkward if you live on a lower floor as you can avoid this by taking the stairs.
6. More Floor Space
Some lower floor condo units and HDB flats, especially those on the ground floor are larger than most because of Private Enclosed Spaces (PES). These units usually have a patio area that is usually closed off with a gate, providing an outdoor yard.
What About Middle Floor Units?
With most apartment buildings going up to 12th floor and higher, you might be wondering: what about the floors that are not low, but not high either? Let’s call these the ‘middle floor’ units, usually the fifth to eighth floor. These are actually a great compromise between the low and high floors – they are much more affordable than the top floors, yet have enough air ventilation with a decent view. Noise levels are also quite reasonable as they’re not too close to the ground level.
On the downside, middle floors units may still be prone to pests, and depending on the area, wildlife like bats and monkeys. Recently, residents living in Clementi, have witnessed several monkeys climbing up the HDB block several times. Fortunately, it is not a common sight in most estates.
High Floor Vs Low Floor Unit: How to Decide?
So which one should you pick? The best way to decide is to choose according to the needs of you and your family.
If you don’t mind the hustle and bustle of the area and don’t think it’s worth forking out more to live in essentially the same development, then lower-floor HDB flats or condo units are recommended for you.
Furthermore, lower floor units are also safer if you have young children or elderly members. But perhaps the main benefit of living on a lower floor is that you spend less time waiting for the lifts, which can be tormenting especially when they break down.
On the other hand, if you value your privacy and want jaw-dropping views of the surrounding area, then higher floor units – particularly those at the top – will suit you better. Not only that, your home will get windy at different parts of the year and there would also be fewer pests overall. More importantly, your home would likely fetch a higher resale value in the future as buyers would generally pay more for units that are located on higher floors.
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