Someone asked us what we consider as “good locations” when buying property in Singapore. Below is our list of the top eight factors that make a good location.

1.    Districts 9, 10 and possibly 11 – Although prices and rental yields are somewhat stagnant currently given the poor market sentiment, properties in these districts tend to maintain their values better especially during the down cycle.

2.    Within 1 km of popular primary schools – This is a tried and tested formula, especially for those who do not have any affiliation to allow your child to register within Phases 1 to 2B of the annual primary school admission exercise. Although this is no guarantee of admission, your child will at least stand a chance to ballot for any vacancies left after the initial phases. For those buying for investment purposes, properties within 1 km of popular primary schools tend to be an easier let (and possibly at higher rentals too). And yes, we will put “proximity to International Schools” under this category as well, in view of the better rental potential.

3.    Next to MRT stations – Whether you are talking about Newton or Woodlands, properties within close proximity of MRT stations are generally more sought-after, even from buyers who actually own cars! However, we need to differentiate between “next to MRT stations” (very good) and “next to MRT tracks” (not so good).

4.    Proximity to amenities – We are talking about food, supermarkets and even enrichment centres. Being the food nation that we are, imagine having a selection of food choices within your doorstep every time you are hungry but don’t feel like cooking (think Upper Thomson Road area or along Balestier Road). Or imagine all your children’s enrichment needs are available within walking distance from your home, which means your domestic helper can possibly walk them to class rather than you having to drive them all over the place (think Novena area near to United Square).

5.    Near to main roads – Although one may not necessarily wish to stay next to a busy road, having to walk a fair distance just to get to the main road may be less than ideal. The wife and I used to stay at Clementi Park for a while and while we loved the space of our apartment and greenery around the estate, we found it a bit far from the main road. Yes we both drive and there is a shuttle bus service for those who do not, but it is still quite a hassle especially if you have to depend on the shuttle bus. And should you decide to walk the distance out to the main road, you will probably be drenched (either with sweat or rain) by the time you get there.

6.    Near to reservoirs and parks – Waterfront living has always been the hype. Since not everyone can afford the luxury of living by the sea, getting a “reservoir view” is probably the next best thing (think Waterfront Collections at Bedok Reservoir). The same goes with parks. If you have been to Bishan Park recently, you will be amazed by the host of activities that you can enjoy other than jogging and cycling. There are restaurants, a spa and even every kid’s heaven – McDonalds! Homeowners at Clover by the Park, for example, have certainly seen the values of their apartments appreciate significantly just because they live right next to Bishan Park.

7.    Next to upcoming new developments – Living next to an upcoming development with all the dust and noise, are you crazy? Well, if you can survive the temporary “pain” and stay the course, you may end up with that pot of gold at the end of the “construction” rainbow. A good example is Chuan Park, where owners saw prices in their nearly 30 year old estate increase substantially right around 2010. This is in tandem with prices at The Scala, a brand new residential development built next door.

8.    Near a sizeable plot of government land – Think GLS (Government Land Sales). It is relatively easy to find out what that piece of empty land is zoned for in the URA Master Plan (go to www.ura.gov.sg/maps). If it says residential or commercial development, what this typically means is that some new residential projects or commercial malls are slated to be built on that land parcel once the government decides to put it up for sale to the highest bidder. When that happens, the prices of neighbouring homes will likely be given a boost. The only catch is that the Master Plan does not differentiate between public and private residential land uses, so you may still end up with HDB flats (albeit new) next to your condo unit.

Image: Bishan Park (Photo by Pagodashophouse: Wikimedia Commons)

Article contributed by SG PropTalk, a blog and forum on buying Singapore property.

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