Location is a word that’s often mentioned when it comes to buying a home.
I mean, in our latest Consumer Sentiment Survey, an overwhelming 84 percent of the respondents considered location to be the primary factor when it comes to home buying.
Prominent locations like District 15, 11, and 12 were some of the most sought-after locales to live in Singapore (surprise, surprise).
But, everyone knows that properties in these areas cost more than a gold-plated bomb.
For instance, based on the data that we’ve managed to get from URA, the median transacted prices of private condominiums from May 2018 to May 2019 for these "sought-after" locales like Marine Parade, Newton, and Novena were $2,446, $3,402, and $2,361 psf respectively.
Now, if you compare that to “non-mature” estates like Sengkang and Sembawang for the same period, it’s not surprising that they’re significantly more affordable, at $1,333 and $1,255 psf respectively.
But of course, you can make a case that these ulu areas aren’t as developed, and are also further from the city centre, therefore requiring longer commute times.
While that’s true, remember that when deciding where to live, choosing the right location isn’t just about living close to MRT stations, hospitals, malls, and so on.
It’s also important to know what’s around the neighbourhood.
For instance, younger families might appreciate living in a neighbourhood with a younger demographic, or with lots of parks so you have more recreational things to do with the kids during the weekends (and steer them away from iPads).
Also, living in suburban areas means you can get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. With a quieter and more peaceful environment, there’s less noise pollution, which is great if you want to recharge.
So, while we’re not insinuating that these areas are the best places to live in, below are some reasons why you should consider living in Sembawang and Sengkang:
1. They offer more scenic wonders and recreational activities
Perhaps the biggest draw of living in the northern/north-eastern, suburban areas of Singapore is that it pulls you closer to nature, and this means you have more recreational things to do with the entire family.
Sengkang has its share of natural sights and parks; there’s the Sengkang Riverside Park, a park that’s home to Singapore’s largest artificial wetland. As the park’s mangrove habitat attracts a host of animals, a weekend visit to this peaceful park will be an educational trip for the kids.
And, if you journey slightly further north, you’ll find the Punggol Waterway Park and above it, Coney Island.
Punggol Waterway Park is great for scenic cycling, while Coney Island is an ecologically sustainable park that’s home to over 80 species of flora and fauna, some of which are critically endangered.
The park has cycling and jogging trails if you want to ride a bike around or get some exercise and fresh air.
While there are no cascading waterfalls or deep caves for spelunking, the landscape of the park is beautiful and not what you come to expect of Singapore.
Also, these parks are also part of the Park Connector Network, so you can breeze past from one park to the other.
Last but not least, there’s also The Animal Resort, a kampong-themed mini zoo that lets you and your kids get up close and feed these friendly animals.
Likewise, Sembawang isn’t short of recreational activities too.
Sembawang Park is a tranquil place for the family to get together during the weekends. There’s a battleship-designed playground, barbeque pits, a fishing jetty, and you can even enjoy the gentle sea breeze at one of Singapore’s last remaining natural beaches.
And, Sembawang has Singapore’s only hot spring, so you can soak your feet to relax or boil eggs (though it’s currently under renovation and is scheduled to be reopened in November).
2. There are lots of public amenities around
Right beside the Sengkang Riverside Park is the Sengkang Swimming Complex, and the sound of that is already enough to drive your kids crazy.
The swimming complex has 5 swimming pools and 8 water slides. Swimming classes are also available for both adults and children, and are taught by instructors from the Singapore Swimming Academy.
But, education is important too. In Sengkang, there are a total of 12 primary schools and 6 secondary schools in the area, according to MoE’s website. While Sembawang “only” has 5 primary schools and 2 secondary schools, you can expect more schools to sprout as the area develops.
As for shopping malls, take your pick between the Sun Plaza Shopping Centre, Sembawang Shopping Centre, Rivervale Mall, The Seletar Mall, Compass One, Seletar Mall, and more.
3. It’s a relatively young community
According to the Department of Statistics Singapore, Sembawang has one of the youngest population in Singapore.
Of the 87,000 people who live in Sembawang in 2018, over 54% of the population were aged 39 and below. In Sengkang, over 57% of the population in 2018 were 39 and below.
To serve a young demographic, there are lots of pre-schools and kindergartens around too, and you can expect 300 more childcare centres in Sengkang by 2020.
4. Improving infrastructure and connectivity
Getting around Sengkang is pretty seamless, thanks to its excellent connectivity.
There are 2 serving MRT stations on the North-East Line, an LRT line connecting the various parts of Sengkang, and a bus interchange station. In addition, the area is also well accessible by buses and road networks.
As for Sembawang, huge plans are already in the pipeline to make connectivity even better. The Canberra MRT station will be between the Sembawang and Yishun MRT stations, and over 17,000 households will be within walking distance from it.
Meanwhile, the upcoming Bukit Canberra will be a massive community hub that will combine sports facilities with nature.
Among the facilities at Bukit Canberra include a 500-seater indoor sports hall, an eight-lane lap pool, a six-lane sheltered swimming pool and the biggest ActiveSG gym in Singapore.
Road networks between the north/north-eastern towns and the CBD will also be improved when the upcoming North-South Corridor (NSC) is completed. The expressway will also have continuous bus and cycling lanes, downsizing travelling time.
While these upcoming developments will result in time savings when travelling, property prices are also expected to rise as the infrastructure improves. So expect your property to be solid investments in the future.
5. Have a seaside and nature-themed home
So we’ve made our points on why Sengkang and Sembawang are good neighbourhoods to live in, but here’s why it’s even better: you can have a home near the sea or nature spots.
At Watercove Residence, you get a seaside home with often-calm waters and unblemished open air of Malaysia’s skies in the horizon is seaside living at its best, without paying crazy Sentosa-like prices. View all listings of Watercove Residence here.
Meanwhile, Parc Botannia consists of good-looking units built with the trending modular style, with impressive design layouts, large living spaces and generous bedrooms. View all listings of Parc Botannia here.