What's New in the URA Master Plan 2019? [Part II Of II]

PropertyGuru Editorial Team
What's New in the URA Master Plan 2019? [Part II Of II]
If you don’t already know, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) Master Plan is a godsend for property buyers, be it for those looking for own stay or for investment. Reviewed and published every five years, the Plan is the equivalent of a crystal ball revealing the government’s plans for Singapore’s development.
Specifically, changes in the Master Plan offer valuable clues to potential real estate upside and gives buyers opportunities to leverage the first-mover advantage (and sellers to perhaps set a higher price)!
In Part I of this article, we analysed three out of six locations—Bayshore, Kampong Bugis and Queenstown—in Singapore where the biggest changes had taken place in the latest URA Master Plan 2019 (compared to the last one in 2014). Now, it’s time to discover another three locations that will likely be the epicentre of development, and the talk of the town, in the coming years.
If you haven’t read Part I, you can do so here.

URA Master Plan 2019 Difference #4: Beauty World

Beauty World URA Master Plan 2019 map Beauty World URA Master Plan 2014 map
Note: Residential sites are colour-coded as pale orange on the URA Master Plan. Light-blue denotes commercial-residential sites. Dark blue sites are purely commercial (i.e. retail and/or office).

The Background on Beauty World

Having seen better days in the 1960s and the 80s, Beauty World is a retail hub in need of serious refurbishment. Having served residents in the area for decades, Beauty World Plaza, Beauty World Centre and Bukit Timah Shopping Centre are chunky concrete blocks that serve function but not form. Opposite, a line of restaurants and eateries operate in old-school shophouses.
In the past decade, a big change occurred. The opening of Beauty World MRT on the Downtown Line in 2015 brought increased human traffic into the neighbourhood and an impetus for change. Beauty World Plaza, a mixed-use commercial and residential development, attempted an unsuccessful en bloc attempt in 2019, while neighbouring Goh and Goh Building, which sat on freehold land and was sold en bloc in 2017, will be turned into a condo (read our Property Market Outlook 2020 for more details).
Within walking distance to Beauty World MRT, several new condos are also in the currently being built, including Daintree Residence and View at Kismis. It was a matter of time before retail and commercial amenities in the area modernised, too.
Want to check out what homes the area has to offer? Browse condominiums for sale around Beauty World MRT station.

What changed in the URA Master Plan 2019 for Beauty World

In the 2014 edition of the URA Master Plan, the government had plans for a large medical facility on an undeveloped plot of land near Beauty World MRT (marked with ‘H’ in red).
The medical facility was never realised, and URA announced this year that the site will instead be developed into an integrated transport hub. According to the URA, this site will include a community club, a redeveloped market, hawker centre, indoor sports hall, community library and an elderly facility, in addition to a retail and private residential component. On 3 December 2019, URA announced that this site will open for tender next year, with the potential to house 865 condo units.
The integrated transport hub won’t be the only mixed-use development in the years to come. Across the road is another ‘light blue’ site, albeit a smaller one, that will offer even more retail and housing options.
Perhaps the greatest transformation of the area is number of newly launched condominiums, as shown in the map above. To get an idea of the residential transformation of the area, here’s a list of projects that are recently launched or to-be-launched in 2020:
Daintree Residences
View at Kismis
Ki Residences
Mayfair Gardens
Mayfair Modern
No (2020)
Forett @ Bukit Timah (former Goodluck Gardens)
No (2020)
The Linq @ Beauty World (former Goh and Goh Building)
No (2020)

Why it Matters

Yes, the private residential developments in and around Beauty World paint an exciting future, but let’s not forget about the HDB estate of Bukit Timah, which sits close to the action. With 1,733 units, this precinct currently has one of the highest HDB resale transaction prices in Singapore. (The $666,500 median transaction price for 4-room flats this year puts Bukit Timah among the top 5 most expensive HDB towns.) With a facility-packed new integrated transport hub in the works, further upside is expected for these flats.
Coming back to private homes in the area, the future also looks bright . Looking at median per square foot (psf) asking prices for non-landed private properties in District 21 (which mostly covers Beauty World and the surrounding neighbourhood), we have seen a 28% increase over the past three years. This is the second highest increase in Singapore after District 7’s 30% increase.
With the government’s plans for the area, we foresee the rise in asking prices to continue in the years to come.
Want to know more about property trends? Get the full picture with the Singapore Property Market Outlook 2020 report.

URA Master Plan 2019 Difference #5: Tengah

Tengah URA Master Plan 2014 map
Tengah URA Master Plan 2019 map

The Background on Tengah

It suffices to say that Tengah is the new Punggol. Located in the west of Singapore, Tengah was a hinterland that was earmarked for development into a massive HDB town. The concept for Tengah, according to the HDB and URA, is that of a ‘forest town’’, with green spaces running throughout.
Connectivity-wise, the Jurong Region Line (JRL) will connect residents of Tengah to Choa Chu Kang, Jurong East, as well as Jurong Industrial Estate and Nanyang Technological University. The town is also designed to be ‘car-lite’, with environmental sustainability features such as a centralised cooling system.

What changed in the URA Master Plan 2019 for Tengah

The entire Tengah has been mapped out in detail in the latest URA Master Plan. Most of these will be earmarked for HDB flats, whereas a few plots could be sold as condominiums or executive condos (ECs). We can also see how the Jurong Region Line runs through the new Tengah Town, and where the green spaces and schools (marked ‘E’ and in light yellow) will be located.
When Tengah is fully developed in two decades, it could comprise of 42,000 new homes, with 30,000 units of HDB flats and 12,000 units of private housing.

Why It Matters

In 2019, HDB released nine projects at Tengah totalling 5,549 units. By the end of 2020, it’s likely that 10,000 units of Build-to-Order (BTO) flats would have been released at Tengah. If you’re looking at applying for a Tengah BTO flat and can afford to wait a year or two, it helps to look at the URA Master Plan to pick your ideal sites, be it those that are close to a future JRL station or facing a park.

URA Master Plan 2019 Difference #6: Bishan

Bishan URA Master Plan 2014 map Tengah URA Master Plan 2019 map
Note: Light yellow zones with the letter ‘E’ denote schools.

The Background on Bishan

One of Singapore’s most expensive HDB towns, the mature estate of Bishan was in the spotlight recently. The HDB revealed that it will build 1,500 new BTO flats close to the town centre. This will put residents within walking distance to Bishan MRT interchange and Junction 8 shopping centre.

What changed in the URA Master Plan 2019 for Bishan

The site of the announced BTO flats, which was until recently the site of a school, was already zoned for housing in the 2014 Master Plan. In the 2019 edition, however, the URA increased the plot ratio of the site from 3.5 to 4.2, meaning that there will be 20% more housing area than was originally planned. (HDB has said that the upcoming blocks will rise up to 39 storeys.)
But the real change for Bishan in this latest edition of the URA Master Plan isn’t about the BTO project. What truly captivates the imagination is URA’s change of plan for Bishan Town Centre. Originally designating the two plots of undeveloped land around Bishan MRT stations and interchanges for residential developments, URA has rezoned the plots as purely commercial sites.
The larger of the two sites is more than six football fields in area. With a plot ratio of 4.2, this development will be nearly double the size and scale of Novena Square/Velocity Mall. In time to come, Bishan residents can look forward to a mega shopping mall and office complex.

Why It Matters

A commercial office-cum-retail-development, especially one that’s the size of the zoned site in Bishan, will undoubtedly be a highly sought-after amenity that could generate significant property value uplift in the estate. Furthermore, in keeping with the government’s decentralisation efforts, it is likely that the offices here will come in the form of Grade A spaces like the ones at Paya Lebar Quarter, which has brought a new pool of high-income tenants into the area since its opening in 2019. (Notably, like Paya Lebar MRT, Bishan MRT is also an interchange station, so the area is well-prepared to be developed into a commercial centre.)
Cutting back on the number of plots zoned for residential at Bishan town centre will also create scarcity. A reduced supply means that demand for existing properties—from both buyers and renters—won’t be diluted. The upcoming BTO at Bishan will likely be the one and only BTO project in the town, and we also won’t be seeing any new condos in area, to the delight of Sky Vue and Sky Habitat residents surely.
Additionally, we expect some sort of upside across the entire Bishan town, and for condos located a stop away on the Circle Line (i.e. Lorong Chuan and Marymount MRT). HDB resale flats in the town, mostly built in the late 1980s and early 1990s, could pique buyer interest, especially from those unable to get their hands on the coveted BTO flats.
For private homes, aside from resale projects such as Bishan 8 and Bishan Loft, the revised Master Plan for Bishan could also garner interest for Jadescape, a 1,206-unit condominium near Marymount MRT to be completed by 2022.
While less than favourable economic conditions may delay Bishan town centre’s development, it seems that it could be just a matter of time before the government comes out with a snazzy announcement to unveil Bishan’s “transformation” plan.
Want to be part of the change? Check out Bishan’s HDB resale flats and condos for sale.
Read Part I of this series here.
This article was written by Kyle Leung, Digital Content Manager at PropertyGuru.
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