Do people really have a preference for where they stay? What are the possible reasons for them to choose where they’d like to buy their home? Are they prioritising price, in this time of high inflation and property cooling measures? Schools for their children? Or looking at possible price appreciation, exciting new launches, or even amenities around them?
Well, our Singapore Consumer Sentiment Study H2 2022 showed similar trends to the previous half (Consumer Sentiment Index H1 2022). The 5 most popular districts among Singaporeans are:
|District||Popularity* (Singapore Consumer Sentiment Study H2 2022)|
|District 19 — Serangoon Garden, Hougang, Punggol||Rank 1 (22%)|
|District 12 — Balestier, Toa Payoh, Serangoon||Rank 2 (21%)|
|District 20 — Bishan, Ang Mo Kio, Thomson Road||Rank 3 (20%)|
|District 3 — Queenstown, Tiong Bahru, Redhill||Rank 4 (20%)|
|District 15 — Katong, Joo Chiat, Amber Road, East Coast Road, Siglap||Rank 5 (19%)|
According to our survey results, we also found that Districts 12 and 3 in particular gained in popularity amongst young buyers (22- to 29-year-olds). Meanwhile, District 20 is becoming a hit with high-income earners (for obvious reasons).
Let’s take a closer look at these 5 popular districts to see what makes them so special, what the appeal is, and of course, what are some of the best and/or new properties you can buy there.
District 19: Serangoon Garden, Hougang, Punggol
District 19 stretches from Serangoon Garden to Hougang, Sengkang, and further north-east to Punggol. It’s a popular area for young families, with an abundance of affordably priced BTOs and condos (save for the Serangoon Garden area, which mostly comprises landed houses).
In fact, The Florence Residences, one of the top 10 performing condo new launch projects for 2022, is located in Hougang, which is smackdab in District 19.
Other new/upcoming condo launches here include:
- Riverfront Residences (Hougang, TOP 2024)
- Affinity At Serangoon (TOP 2024)
- Kovan Jewel (TOP 2025)
- Bartley Vue (TOP 2026)
- The Gazania (Upper Serangoon, TOP 2022)
- The Lilium (Punggol, TOP 2022)
The smallest units are pretty affordable, ranging from $640,000 to $950,000.
There also have been some recent BTO launches:
- Hougang Olive & Tanjong Tree Residences @ Hougang (Nov 2021 BTO)
- Hougang Citrine and Kovan Wellspring (Aug 2021 BTO)
Hougang has been heating up, as the Aug 2021 BTO launch was the first in 5 years. No surprises that it was oversubscribed!
While District 19 is no glitzy Orchard Road, there are a couple of malls in the area. You have the ever-crowded NEX in Serangoon, Hougang Mall, Hougang 1, Heartland Mall, Compass One, Waterway Point and the new Northshore Plaza in Punggol.
As you head further north-east towards Punggol, it gets more scenic and there’s more greenery, cycling paths and even a beach. Punggol is also a site of many developments, with the upcoming Punggol Digital District that could create 28,000 jobs.
Punggol is also one of the fastest growing non-mature estates, and property prices are soaring there now. Two decades in the making, there’s now a whole transportation network, amenities and communities.
For parents, there are some schools in the area of note, and one of the more popular ones is Rosyth School in Serangoon North Avenue 4. There’s also CHIJ Our Lady of Good Counsel, CHIJ Our Lady of the Nativity, Holy Innocents’ Primary School, Montfort Junior School, Nan Chiau Primary School, St. Gabriel’s Primary School, Zhonghua Primary School and Nanyang Junior College.
For investors and homebuyers, the median rent for a 4-room flat in District 19 ranges from $2,200 to $2,500, which is pretty decent. The median price for a 4-room resale HDB there is $495,000 to $550,000, which is pretty good as well given that there’s lots coming up for District 19.
From our survey results, we found that those keen in District 19 were quite consistent across most age groups, from people in their 20s, to those in their 50s. The interest, however, tapered down for those in their 60s. District 19 was also most popular with those in the middle income and high income brackets, but not so much for those in the low income group (though still higher than almost all other districts).
District 12: Balestier, Toa Payoh, Serangoon
Moving onto District 12, this city fringe area is considered part of Singapore’s central region (but not the core). It’s definitely heartland enough, but always near to town. There have also been various developments in District 12, transforming Toa Payoh and Balestier into a vibrant heartland. Don’t forget, many of us begin our property journey here, when we collect our keys to our HDB flats.
While there are no top condo launches here, you can bet there are still a few upcoming launches to be excited about. These include:
As for BTO launches, a recent one was Kim Keat Heights (May 2022 BTO). There are still a few patches of bare land in District 12, so we’re watching this area like a hawk. With the upcoming of the Thomson-East Coast Line stage 3, property prices here, especially in Toa Payoh, could skyrocket. According to the URA Masterplan, there’s a whole lot of developments in progress as well, such as more residential and a new town centre.
Last we heard, going rents for a 3-room newly-MOPed flat in Toa Payoh near Caldecott MRT station was easily over $3,000. That’s very high, considering that the reported median rent in Toa Payoh starts from $2,000 for a 3-room. The blocks of newly-MOP-ed flats are also approaching resale prices of $700,000 and $1 million, for 3-room and 4-room flats respectively (the median price for a 4-room resale HDB flat is $700,900). There’s definitely much investment potential here… If only you can secure a property in this hot district.
For this area, we noticed survey respondents for the Consumer Sentiment Study H2 2022 who expressed keen interest were in the age bracket of 20 to 29 years old. This was 30% of those in this age group, with interest waning as the age brackets went up. The same amount of interest came from those in the mid- and high-income brackets — 23% of the respondents in that category.
In any case, there are plenty of amenities (and food!) in District 12, which also happens to be a mature estate. There are also a whole slew of “hot” schools, such as CHIJ Primary Toa Payoh, Maris Stella High School (Primary), Pei Chun Public School and so on.
District 20: Bishan, Ang Mo Kio, Thomson Road
Next up is District 20, which comprises Bishan, Ang Mo Kio and Thomson Road. It’s quite a “famous” district, as Bishan properties have made the news from time to time with insane resale HDB prices breaching $1 million. Ang Mo Kio, too, has been a hot topic for two things: The SERS saga and the newly released BTO project, Central Weave @ AMK, which costs over $700,000 for a 5-room or 3-Gen unit.
It’s not just the HDB BTOs that are making the news. Some of the exciting condo launches include:
As for schools in the area, there’s Anderson Secondary School, Mayflower Primary School, Anderson Serangoon Junior College, Nanyang Polytechnic, Presbyterian High School, ITE College Central, Ai Tong School, Raffles Institution, Raffles Girls’ School, Catholic High School and more.
For sure, there’s a lot of development coming up for District 20. Firstly, the Thomson-East Coast Line runs past Upper Thomson, Bright Hill, Mayflower, Lentor and goes up to Woodlands (JB, anyone?), and goes down to Orchard, Tanjong Rhu and Katong. For nature lovers, there’s also a gorgeous park connector running through Bishan, with Bishan Park, and also there’s Thomson Nature Park and the Upper Peirce Reservoir.
Those looking to BTO here may some day be an owner of a million-dollar HDB flat. However, if you’re looking to buy a private property or resale flat, expect to fork out a substantial amount (a 4-room resale HDB flat in Bishan has the median price of $605,000). It also goes without saying that rents in this area should be high as well (median rent in Bishan for a 4-room flat is $2,600).
It’s interesting to note that District 20 is gaining ground with high income earners, based on our survey results. The age bracket that’s most keen are those in their 20s, at 26% of eligible respondents, with dwindling interest from those in their 60s.
District 3: Queenstown, Tiong Bahru, Redhill
Number 4 in the top 5 list is District 3, which comprises Queenstown, Tiong Bahru and Redhill. These "atas" estates that have been earmarked as Prime Location Housing areas.
For a start, Queenstown is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Singapore. It’s a self-contained town, with a mix of old-school hawker fare, markets, cosy cafes and malls such as Anchorpoint and IKEA. We’ve also got the popular Rail Corridor route running past it. Tiong Bahru has also evolved to become packed with eclectic eateries, hipster cafes and is a popular area with expats. Last but not least is Redhill, which stretches past Bukit Merah to part of the area we now know as the upcoming Greater Southern Waterfront.
Did we mention that District 3 is also considered city-fringe, which means it’s really close to town? There’s also limited flat supply here (until the recent launches), which means that prices are being driven up.
Just look at the number of million-dollar flats in Queenstown and Bukit Merah (29 and 30 respectively, out of a possible 300 since the beginning of 2022). There is definitely investment potential there!
For new condo launches, we’re looking at:
- Riviere (Jiak Kim Street, TOP 2023)
- Avenue South Residence (Keppel, TOP 2022)
- The Landmark (Chin Swee Road, TOP 2025)
- One Pearl Bank (Outram, TOP 2023)
- Stirling Residences (TOP 2022)
Of note is the iconic One Pearl Bank, which will boast panoramic views of the city. It was formerly known as Pearl Bank Apartments, and the new design is a nod to the old development’s distinctive facade. Avenue South Residence was also one of the top 10 best-selling condos in Q1 2022.
Come November, there’ll be a BTO launch in Queenstown, and we’re all waiting with bated breath to see if it will come under the PLH model. The upcoming site is also close to the Dover Forest, which has made the news and was further conserved thanks to the voices of nature lovers.
Other new and upcoming BTO launches in District 3 include:
- Queenstown (Feb 2023 BTO)
- Alexandra Vale and Havelock Hillside (Aug 2022 BTO)
- Ghim Moh Ascent (May 2022 BTO)
Of course, there are plenty of schools in District 3, many of which are “branded” ones. Take your pick from Crescent Girls’ School, Gan Eng Seng Primary/Secondary School, Anglo-Chinese School (International), Anglo-Chinese School (Independent), Anglo-Chinese Junior College, Fairfield Methodist Primary/Secondary School and more.
Median rents and resale prices here are definitely on the high side, with the former edging close to $3,000 and the latter ranging from $751,000 to $829,000. Whoa.
Similar to that of District 12, those particular keen in District 3 were in their 20s (29% of the age bracket). There was even strong demand from those in their 60s, perhaps due to the quaint nature of the old estates. It was quite an even split between those with middle income and high income (19% and 20% respectively).
District 15: Katong, Joo Chiat, Amber Road, East Coast Road, Siglap
Last but not least, District 15 makes the 5th place on the top 5 list of popular Districts. Is the east side really the best side? We can’t say, but there’s good food, and a beach, for starters. This district is also home to many landed houses and private homes, which drive up prices in the area.
In any case, this is also one of the areas that will see improved connectivity thanks to the upcoming Thomson-East Coast Line.
Let’s first look at the new and upcoming condos here:
- MeyerHouse (TOP 2024)
- Meyer Mansion (TOP 2023)
- Amber Park (TOP 2023)
- Baywind Residences (TOP 2025)
- Rymden 77 (TOP 2022)
- Liv @ MB (TOP 2024)
- Royal Hallmark (TOP 2025)
- Nyon (TOP 2022)
We rarely see HDB launches in Marine Parade, although there were some from the sales of balance exercise in May 2021. In terms of schools, there are definitely well-known ones here, including CHIJ Katong Convent, Tao Nan School, Ngee Ann Primary School, Tanjong Katong Primary/Secondary School, Tanjong Katong Girls’ School, Haig Girls’ School, St Patrick’s School, Victoria Junior College, and more.
As for investment potential, condos here usually give a good yield. For HDB flats, the median rent is $2,200 to $2,430 for the Marine Parade area’s 3-room and 4-room flats respectively. There are only median resale figures available for a 3-room HDB in Marine Parade, and it is $418,000.
What’s intriguing is that the majority of those keen in this district tend to be older. 20% of those in their 40s were interested, and a whopping 33% of those in their 60s and above — perhaps the group that has the most cash on hand for an expensive property close to the beach and good food.
Closing Thoughts on the 5 Most Popular Districts
What can be observed is that Singaporeans are first, and foremost, price sensitive. Hence, District 19 tops the list. But we’re also a practical bunch, and want the best for our families and children, which is why Districts 12, 20 and 3 also make the top 5. And there are those among us who follow the adage, east side, best side, and thus look to own a property in District 15.
From our survey results, the districts in the core central region seem to come out last on the list. That’s likely due to price and perhaps the lack of affordable public housing in that area.
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