Which projects should you look out for in Singapore’s largest BTO launch this August? (Part 1)

Due to implemented Circuit Breaker measures between April and June amidst the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic, Built-To-Order (BTO) launches for May 2020 were postponed and merged with sale launches in August. With August around the corner, HDB will be announcing the launch of 8 major BTO projects across various regions around the city, both in the mature and non-mature estates. The BTO application period often receives wide attention, especially amongst younger home applicants given its budget-friendlier traits due to heavy subsidies and flexible repayment modes. Check out our previous article to see how even an undergraduate student can afford a home in Singapore. In this article, we will be giving you an overview of the projects to be expected in the upcoming launch, as well as highlight projects we think are worth taking a closer look in the non-mature estates!

This round of BTO Sales Launches will see developments across 8 regions in Singapore, 3 found in non-mature estates such as Choa Chu Kang, Tengah and Woodlands and a remaining 5 found in mature estates including Ang Mo Kio, Bishan, Geylang, Pasir Ris and Tampines.

Projects to watch in the non-mature estates:

The appeal of buying a home in a non-mature estate is often driven by the search for a budget-friendlier option. Based on historical data, home prices in non-mature estates such as Sembawang and Woodlands are significantly lower than their counterparts in mature estates such as Bishan and Toa Payoh. At the time of writing, a 3-room flat in Sembawang has an average sale price of $295,000 while a similar-sized unit in Bishan has a sale price of $362,000. Apart from the fact that non-mature estates are often located further from the city centre, non-mature estates may not have a similar full range of amenities that mature estates possess such as hospitals. However, to some, this is not too big of a concern. In the August BTO launch, 2 projects have caught our attention and here is why:

  1. Woodlands

The largest BTO launch will take place in Woodlands, with an estimated total of 2,110 units to be added to the region over 2 sites: Woodlands Central and Woodlands South. Apart from the fact that a greater number of units launched would mean a higher chance of successfully balloting for a flat, there is more than meets the eye to this project launch. Here are the foreseeable perks should you successfully ballot for a unit in this launch:

Accessibility

Both BTO sites will be located close to major train networks and a major bus interchange. Woodlands Central is just a 5-minute walk to the North-South Line (Woodlands MRT) and the Woodlands Bus Interchange. One would be able to reach Central Singapore Orchard within 45 minutes on a straight route via the North-South Line. Residents living in Woodlands South are not missing out either, with the recent construction of the Woodlands South MRT station which is part of the new Thomson-East Coast Line. The addition of this major train network would see a gradual opening in phases and is set to be completed by 2024. According to the LTA, residents of Woodlands will enjoy a reduction in travelling times into the city, promising a journey of 30 minutes, as opposed to the current 50-minute duration taken by MRT or bus.

Food for thought: As Singapore embraces a new post-COVID 19 world, working from home could be the new normal which could reduce the need for the daily commute into the CBD. This way, living in a non-mature estate might just be as ideal as living in a mature estate, except that it is less strenuous on the wallet!

Wide Range of Amenities

While Woodlands is labelled a non-mature estate, the range of amenities available in this town might surprise you. Residents of Woodlands are familiar with Causeway Point, a mall that provides a wide range of lifestyle options for food, shopping and entertainment. For the health-conscious, Woodlands’ residents are able to enjoy connectivity to Admiralty Park which is linked to Woodlands Waterfront which offers breathtaking views of the water body separating Singapore and Malaysia. Woodlands Central has also been zoned for future extensive developments that rival that which was completed in Jurong East Central and Paya Lebar Central, with promises of more malls and office towers to be constructed.

For young couples planning to have children in the future, Woodlands South has an estimated 5 primary schools to choose from located within a 1km radius from your home. For those with children, Woodlands offers a plethora of secondary schools to choose from, and upon graduation, students may choose to enrol in neighbouring Republic Polytechnic or Singapore Sports School to pursue further education.

In 2017, groundbreaking works began for the construction of the Woodlands Health Campus which would accommodate an estimated 1,800 additional beds amidst increasing pressures faced by the Healthcare industry due to ageing population. With a shrinking workforce, smart technologies will be deployed to cope with in-patient care. This project is set to be completed in 2022, which would coincide with the completion of the BTO project.

Price

It is not common for many new BTO projects to be situated close to an MRT but fortunately for Woodlands, applicants can count their blessing. While this is so, prices are likely to be kept fairly reasonable based on past prices for the BTO launch in May 2019. A 3-room BTO in Woodlands Central will begin at $202,000, 4-room options at $281,000 and 5-room options beginning at $372,000.

  1. Tengah

Some Singaporeans may never even have heard of Tengah, and it is often a town overlooked by many but for valid reasons. Tengah is a small region located between two non-mature estates, Choa Chu Kang and Bukit Batok. Not known for any prominent features, Tengah has received increasing attention by the public since 2016 due to proposed plans by the Government to build one of the “Greenest” and “Smartest” towns, with interesting plans to revamp Tengah to even being the city’s first-ever car-free town which allows residents to get up close and personal with nature.

Accessibility

Unlike Woodlands, Tengah may not be the most convenient of locations with no existing nearby MRT stations or major bus interchanges. However, if you are able to wait out a few years till 2027, Tengah will see a new bus interchange and MRT station (Tengah Plantation MRT) which is part of the proposed Jurong Region Line which would connect you to Jurong East within 4 stations. For those who own a car, PIE is the nearest highway linking you to the city.

Amenities

Currently, Tengah does not boast of many facilities. It is about 23 minutes away from Bukit Batok MRT and West Mall. Closer to home, it is located an estimated 6 minutes away from Le Quest which is an integrated development offering retail and F&B options. Upon the completion of the BTO project, residents will enjoy a neighbourhood centre and polyclinic situated within the project itself. BTO units themselves are said to be fitted with smart technology to enhance the quality of living and sustainability.

Currently used for military training, Tengah is earmarked to be a “Forest Town”, with the masterplan paving the way for residential living amidst major green bodies that would foster activities such as community gardening and urban farming. For those who are looking for a change in their living environment, Tengah might just be a new addition to your watchlist!

Unfortunately, Tengah may not be the most ideal location for families looking to have children due to the absence of nearby primary schools currently.

Price

While we have identified that Tengah is still very much a town in progress, the prices of BTOs in this project are definitely steeper than expected. Despite the absence of available amenities currently, it is estimated that a 3-room HDB in Tengah would start at $213,000, which is significantly more expensive than even an identical 3-room BTO unit even in Woodlands as mentioned previously. Perhaps, launch prices factor in the hopeful expectation by HDB in the future of Tengah as a revolutionary town.

While Tengah may seem unappealing upfront, there is still a certain beauty to behold. For those who may appreciate living in a quiet neighbourhood with generally younger individuals as neighbours, Tengah can still be a rather attractive option!

Each district in the nation captures a certain unique facet of Singapore. With the recent General Elections and superior construction and design technologies, Singapore’s landscape can look forward to more exciting and novel developmental changes as we pace forward as a nation to meet the needs of a different tomorrow.

Clive Chng
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