With a growing global population, the demand for homes and amenities has skyrocketed in recent years. Mixed developments, which were once considered a detriment to the development of bureaucracy during the Industrial Age, have become a benefit in recent years. It is not only the people who benefit though, but developers and the Government stand to gain by leveraging on this.
The ‘Live, Work, Play’ philosophy is very strong here which is ironic considering that being a small country it does not take very long to get anywhere. However, with the influx of foreigners from countries where driving for hours to get to work or home is part of everyday life, the imposed convenience becomes a very attractive feature.
As a result, Mixed Developments in Singapore is fast becoming the norm for developers and with a population ready to burst at the seams, it is the best option in accommodating all of them and their needs. It won’t be long before available land is completely spent so mixed developments are really the long-term choice meant to delay that inevitability.
However, with all things, there are pros and cons to Mixed Developments.
• Convenience: The best thing about living in a development with a shopping mall built in is you rarely have to travel far from the comforts of your home to do some retail or grocery shopping. If you usually drive, you get to save money and time on fuel and parking.
• Investment: Mixed residential developments usually fetch a higher price, especially in rent; such developments are sought after because of the added benefits of a mall and the price can be easily justified.
• Injecting life: A mixed development in what was once a quiet neighbourhood is sure to increase the prominence of that neighbourhood. Amenities attract buyers and more of it, especially with popular retail clothing outlets and restaurants, will drive up the value of the district and this in turn, attract more affluent people to the area.
• Saving costs: Money spent on fuel is minimised. Hunting for parking spaces is also not required. Those who take public transport usually will benefit from having shops and grocery stores in their development grounds as they get to save some transport money.
• People: The worst thing about people is that usually, there’s too many in one area. Mixed developments are generally the cause for overcrowding and with so many cropping up, even the shopping malls originally meant to cater to the residents of that development will become a beacon for everyone in the area.
• Noise: When you have shops, bars and pubs in the vicinity, not only will there be high human traffic but the level of noise can get rather unmanageable, especially during the weekends.
• High costs: It is almost unimaginable now to expect anything less than a million dollars for a mixed development. No doubt it is an appreciating asset with convenient amenities, yet its price tag means it is out of bounds to most medium-waged earners in Singapore.
• Demographics: As High-income earners are usually the ones able to afford these residential units, they will largely drive up prices of shops/restaurants in the development and in the area. This will work against medium-income to low-income earners who used to enjoy a slower and more affordable pace of life. As a result of this, the disparity of wealth will only shape the neighbourhood in favour of the target demographic, creating an unbalanced population model in the country.
Yet, mixed developments are indeed the future and most of the cons listed here will eventually be ignored due to several reasons.
Firstly, Singapore is an overcrowded country and it will continue to be so. People are ultimately going to accept it. Noise is a by-product of overcrowding and it will be subconsciously tolerated.
Secondly, the price tag will only affect those who cannot afford it which means little as these developments are sought out by the affluent.
The fact that public housing is largely unavailable to foreigners now makes private properties the de facto choice.
In addition, with the value of the vicinity increasing because of their investment, they will see more yield if they were to rent or sell in the near future.
The convenience factor drives this the most. In a society where work takes up more than three quarters of a day, having shops and other amenities near home is a welcomed addition. Instead of travelling 15 minutes or half an hour to the nearest mall for some window shopping, residents can simply take the lift down and walk around leisurely without worrying about travel time overlapping with dinner or bedtime.
Besides, the land shortage implies that housing will always be in demand and there will always be people who are willing to pay high prices just to live in these mixed developments to take advantage of that opportunity.