By Sky Tang
Updated 15th December 2020.
We all know that major infrastructure projects can really help property prices in the area by improving their basics, and that we do need to buy into those developments to enjoy the appreciation.
These projects result in fantastic appreciation appearing for some areas, like the condos in Bedok Reservoir appreciating some 23% since the MRT opened! After all, both DBS, the largest mortgage lender in Singapore and Morgan Stanley, a high net worth investment bank, both predict prices in Singapore to DOUBLE by 2030.
However, with new MRT lines and malls, delays and even cancellation, how do we keep track? This list here helps you do so!
THE SOUTH (GREATER SOUTHERN WATERFRONT)
Towns: Pasir Panjang, Telok Blangah, Sentosa/Brani, Marina Bay, Tanjong Pagar, Bugis, Kallang
Summary: Most ambitious and expensive project ever in Singapore to create the World's most premier CBD with a Live, Work, Play concept. Will host most of Singapore's top end industries, iconic workplaces and most prestigious residences with beautiful sea and bay views.
The Greater Southern Waterfront (GSW) is Singapore's most ambitious project yet, estimated to be at least SIX TIMES the size of Marina Bay. The idea behind the GSW is simple. Its basically to link the current "town" areas together into one continuous coastline district with epic sea and bay views. This coastline district will thus host the most iconic and latest developments, making it the most premier work, tourism and residential address in the world.
To do this, the details isn't as simple. It involves creating an entirely new concept to link buildings and encouraging older buildings to redevelop, Transport also had to be improved, and new towns have to be built to supply workforce for the expanded offices. Due to the new towns, developing new malls, parks and entertainment for this new towns also became necessary. I shall cover each segment in detail below.
Firstly, the Government expanded on White Sites, which are multi-purpose sites. This means they could be offices, malls, residences, hotels or a combination of them. However, each site's final use has to be approved by the Government before construction, ensuring a good spread of all types of usage instead of being just another commercial node. Further, a number of these sides are not only adjacent to one another, they have underground passages linking one to another and to the MRT. This essentially is Marina Bay Sands and Shoppes being multiplied throughout an entire district.
Further, to ensure the entire district is modern and deserving of Asia's premier CBD district, the government has given older buildings in the existing office district of Anson and Tanjong Pagar permission to redevelop another 20-30% more floor area without having to pay any additional Development Charge. This is unpredented in Singapore's history and serves as a compelling incentive for these 20 odd buildings to rebuild. Already, since 2019, 16 of them have been bought or are owned by various single entities to prepare for such a redevelopment. On public buildings, the Government have purchased back the entire HDBs of Rochor to redevelop it into a modern town that fits in with the rest of this new district.
Secondly, transport has been drastically improved. The old expressway has been shifted outward along the coastline to create the new Marina Coastal Expressway at a cost of $4.3 billion. This helps improve traffic conditions and to free up land within the current CBD to link up with the Marina Area. New MRT lines have also been added and current ones expanded, such as the creation and completion of the Downtown Line, the Thomson East Line (2021) and the completion of the Circle Line (2025). This improvements are so extensive that the Southern CBD is the most connected spot in Singapore. Every single MRT line will cross through it by 2025 with one station every 100m to 200m.
Thirdly, to supply the new offices, hotels, and entertainment/shopping venues, new residential towns are being created. This includes new projects that we can invest (like Avenue South Residences) to new parks that links from Kent Ridge to Harbourfront, creating a real city in a garden. Entertainment outlets are already earmarked, as well as further improvements to the world-renowned tourist spot of Sentosa that is expected to finish by 2022.
What does all this mean though? And why to this extent? This means that the government understands how the basics of property work, and are determined to create it so that this ambitious project can support the future economy. Already, this expanded CBD has attracted blue chip MNCs to open or expand. These are all giants in a growing sector, with names such as Facebook, Google, Tencent, Zoom, iQiyi, Alibaba, ByteDance etc making the Greater Southern Waterfront its regional or worldwide headquarters. Other industries basing in this area include finance, logistics, telecommunications, IT and tourism, of which almost all are still rapidly growing industries. In fact, a quick check on monster.com, a job portal, shows that the South is the region with the highest pay, with salaries offered ranging from $8,000 to $25,000 a month.
With properties in the south as affordable as from $1m onward, which require as little as $6000 a month to support, there's plenty of room for growth in the prices here. Why not check our top 5 new launches for recommendations, and see relevant projects such as Avenue South Residences and Kent Ridge Hill Residences with me?
Towns: Punggol, Sengkang, Buangkok, Hougang, Kovan, Serangoon, Bishan/Marymount, Thomson
Summary: Singapore's most populous district is adding the I.T and logistics sector to its area, alongside a new university and major upgrades to its shopping and park amenities. A new MRT line will also be operating from 2028.
The Northeast has been and still is mainly a residential area, with plenty of schools, parks and the occasional mega mall serving the population. The vision for the future is to bring jobs closer to this district whilst enhancing the quality of life. Hence, the plan being executed is to bring the I.T and logistics, both essential sectors, to the area with a university to support them. Almost all towns in the area would also get their own malls, and more parks.
The execution of this plan is very simple. Clear areas have been demarcated to accommodate these industries, and transport created to improve them. Existing MRTs would also have new Malls added, while existing parks have been rejuvenated and expanded.
Firstly, the new IT sector is located in Sengkang West and Punggol, creating some 28,000 new jobs. This is really a win-win strategy, for it helps this labour intensive sector find employees easily, and for residents to travel easily to this new work node. Also, to support this industry, a new univeristy, the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) would be within this Punggol IT Digital District by 2023.
The other sector to be added to this area would be the newly revamped Defu Industrial City, which would focus on the logistics sector, another essential sector in Singapore. This is located on the fringe of Kovan and Hougang.
Secondly, to service this new huge work cluster, the MRT line has been expanded to cover Punggol Coast, which leads directly to the Digital District. On the other hand, to serve Defu and also giving direct access to Changi Airport the Government went for a totally new MRT line. This new MRT Line, the Cross Island Line, will be completed in 2028.
Thirdly, existing amenities are being enhanced. Sengkang's Compass One, Bishan's Junction 8, have been revamped recently and new malls and community hubs have been slated to open in Buangkok and subsequently Hougang. Parks from Punggol to Serangoon has been upgraded as well.
Looking at property basics, the Northeast has always been blessed with great schools, but everything else was decent at best. Distance to a work cluster or an institute of higher learning was non-existent. With these recent enhancements, the entire area has its transport, parks, shopping and now work modernised and close by.
However, I am personally very positive on this area, not just because of these improvements, but also certain law changes. With no Government Land Sales in this entire district for the next 2 years, and increased taxes on any enbloc development (a whopping 30%), current condos will enjoy a massive appreciation as HDB upgraders and first time buyers run out of options to buy anything. To top it off, new units would also have to be 22% bigger, which further adds to the cost of buying a unit from any new project in 2020 onwards.
To tap on these enhancements and law changes, simply head over to a new launch in this district and buy one. With prices as low as $750k for a new unit, the cost is affordable to people who earn $4000 a month onwards. Do check our top 5 new launches for recommendations, and see relevant projects such as The Florence Residences or Jadescape!
Towns: Paya Lebar, Amber, Marine Parade, Siglap, Tanah Merah, Changi, Tampines, Bedok, Simei and Pasir Ris.
Summary: The original residential district, it has a high population density. Anchored by East Coast Park and Changi Airport, it is relying on aviation and two new MRT lines to drive itself forward.
The development plan in the East are slated to finish mostly around 2027 and beyond - with two projects running here. One, the Changi Airport Transport Hub. Two, the development of TWO MRT lines to link the towns and supply labour.
One, the aviation sector in Changi. This does not only include the airport, but its new Loyang Industrial Area as well, which will be responsible for the MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) of airplanes. To date, the government has spent over $12 billion on Jewel, T5 and the Third Runway, and made sure construction continued DURING circuit breaker. Why such a huge capital outlay though?
This is because Singapore is in the very heart of South East Asia (ASEAN), and a somewhat neutral ground between China and USA. ASEAN has 10 other countries, and at least 5 of them are growing phenomenally. These countries have been growing at 6% or more annually, and is expected to continue for the next 10 years. That's potentially 400 out of 500 million people getting out of poverty. In these countries, Singapore is often broadcast as the shining jewel of ASEAN, the only modernised city in their backyard. For the worldwide community. as the China-US relationship sours, they increasingly come to ASEAN to tap on growth opportunities. They need Singapore as that base to expand to Vietnam, Myanmar, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines. When air restrictions lift, the innate desire to travel the world as one gets richer will drive visitors here , and the desire to expand outwards will bring them outward too.
So how does this impact the ordinary Singaporean? We assume that the airport would hire only pilots and stewardesses, right? Wrong!
Singapore is also the largest MRO (maintenance, repair, overhaul) city in Asia, which continued to grow 8% during 2020. This means we basically repair planes, upgrade, maximise seat space, etc, which is what alot of regional airlines need. There's already 116 aerospace companies here and by 2027, aviation is expected to be 28% of our economy. 28% is huge, as manufacturing is our biggest industry now and its only 25%. And manufacturing is spread out across the entire island. MRO on the other hand, is concentrated in Changi and Seletar only.
Hence, to accommodate the expected upsurge in the number of people working in the airport and the MRO industry, the Government decided not to build one, but two MRT lines. The first, the Thomson East Line (TEL). is planned to finish by 2024, with a possible extension to Changi Airport. This brings the entire coastal east side, from Amber to Siglap South, directly to this hub.
Unfortunately, even with this expansion, the anticipated workforce is still not enough. So a second MRT line to tap the populous Northeast heartland of Ang Mo Kio, Serangoon North, Hougang and Tampines North was created. This Cross Island Line is now being planned and would be ready by 2028.
There has been concerns about the aviation industry though, that with COVID19 it would not recover to the way it was. Further, the government itself could reduce the size of Terminal 5 due to COVID19 in an effort to save costs. This seems very bleak, but the fundamentals has not changed to this day. US-China relationship remains strained, global MNCs are still expanding into Singapore with a foot to the region, and the ASEAN nations are still expected to grow after this pandemic. Hence, the bright future of the East will still come, but albeit much later. Reasonable expectations put the delay by 4 to 5 years.
However, the quality of life here in the East is still fantastic, with top schools like Tao Nan, and beautiful parks from East Coast to Pasir Ris. A long term investment here would make sense, with freehold condos like Infini @ East Coast, Meyerhouse and Olloi possible investments!
Towns: Choa Chu Kang, Bukit Batok, Tengah, Jurong East, Lakeside, Pandan Reservoir, Boon Lay and Tuas.
Summary: A very bright future awaits in 2027 for the industrial district of Singapore, with technologically advanced sectors settling here, a second CBD, a High Speed Rail to Malaysia, a totally revamped national garden united by a brand new MRT Line.
Like the South, the West side of Singapore looks to the future and caters to it, with everything else supporting that future. It will retain its manufacturing roots, but every industry here is either technologically advanced, or essential for Singapore's survival.
The plan here is to create a hub-and-spoke model, with Jurong East the center and each area nearby specialising in one different sector. The entire district will then be serviced mainly by the new Jurong Region Line linking everything together. Main industries here would be Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, the Port, Food Processing and Oil&Gas. Hence, a once heavily populated, poorly connected area with only industrial jobs will soon morph into a high tech, high connectivity area with supporting infrastructure to match.
Firstly, I'd talk about the expanding industries. As one of the world's busiest ports, Singapore has invested some $2.42 billion in creating the new Tuas automated mega port, in the process becoming the world's largest automated port. The result? 170,000 new jobs. This was in 2019 and due to COVID19, it has barely hit 40% capacity. Hence, the effect of the port is not yet felt in the area.
Equally exciting would be the entirely new Jurong Innovation District, located on the outskirts of the new Tengah Town. This houses the new Robotics and AI industries, with companies like Siemens, Flowserve, Bosch Rexroth and ISDN. Although still at its infancy, these industries are expected to become Singapore's future growth pillars. For example, the area pioneered the first driverless bus system in Singapore.
Further, the current food processing plants at Pandan Reservoir have accelerated their growth with the COVID19 pandemic, and looks set to stay as F&B businesses increasingly look to defray costs with cloud kitchens. And of course, the Oil&Gas industry will eventually come roaring back to life with the advent of the vaccines encouraging travel again.
All these industries will most likely have their offices headquartered at Jurong East, which is relentless expanding to become the second CBD of Singapore. This is not an ordinary expanded office area like Tampines or Paya Lebar, but a full fledged CBD. It contains a business park, 3 malls, multiple office buildings and headquarters of blue-chip listed companies like Genting Ltd. Further, it spans 360 hectares, and holds 100,000 new jobs within. To top it off, it even contains a High Speed Railway linking directly to Malaysia's Kuala Lumpur, opening up even more business opportunities. Even if the High Speed Railway fails to materialise, the area could easily be expanded for additional offices and residences.
The area is beautiful to work and live in as well. The original Chinese Lake Gardens adjacent to Jurong East has been revamped and is one of Singapore's most beautiful national parks. International schools such as Dulwich College and Canadian International School dot the area, with monthly fees over $3000 a month per student. This shows the area's increasing affluence and the environment's charm to attract such high end families.
Further, to support these industries, the new MRT, the Jurong Region Line (JRL) will be created and its first phase completed by 2026. Interestingly, the JRL will also use the hub and spoke model, making travelling time between the different sectors alot faster than the 7 other traditional MRT lines. This MRT line also links a world top 50 university, Nanyang Technological University, to the rest of the sectors and towns easily.
With such compelling reasons to buy and invest in this area, it is little wonder why one of the condos in this area made it to our homerun list. Check the Rainforest out here.
However, do note that since most developments are 6 years away, the Government has not actively let out new land for sale here, so there are no new condos to consider. Hence, think about buying existing resale condos such as Lakelife EC (from $10xx psf) , Lake Grande (from $14xx psf) and Lake Shore (from $13xx psf) etc. instead.