Over the years, one cannot deny that Singapore has indeed grown to become quite a beautiful city, especially when you take an evening walk around the Marina Bay or do a leisurely stroll along the Singapore River from Robertson Quay to Boat Quay. Such a physical transformation owes much to Singapore’s excellent urban planning framework, which revolves around the following Concept / Master Plans.
- Concept Plan 2011
- This is the strategic land use and transportation plan that guides Singapore’s development over the next 40-50 years, and is updated every 10 years.
- MND Land Use Plan 2030
- This is a conceptual plan that outlines the strategies to provide the physical capacity to sustain a high quality living environment based on a population of up to 6.9 million by 2030. The accompanying Population White Paper can be found here.
- Land Transport Master Plan 2040
- This is a master plan that charts out the long-term vision, policies and targets to guide the development of Singapore’s land transport system to 2040.
- URA Master Plan 2019
- This is a statutory land use plan that translates the broad long-term strategies of the Concept Plan into detailed plans. Updated every 5 years, it guides Singapore’s development over the next 10 to 15 years.
BUYING PROPERTY IN SINGAPORE
In first formulating and then implementing these various Plans (particularly the URA Master Plan), the Singapore government has been and will continue to indirectly influence the relative levels of property prices in different locations within the country. This is because locations “chosen” by the latest Master Plans will inherently benefit – more than other locations – from the planned economic, recreational and infrastructural developments.
In recent years, most of us have become quite resigned to the fact that the Singapore government will continue to manage / control property prices across the board – at a macro level – via policy intervention. Of course, I am referring to property cooling measures – of which we Singaporeans have no control over. However, we can still be alert to the opportunities – at the local level – created by the Government’s development plans. There may be opportunities to ride on the “ascent” of chosen locations that will benefit most from the progressive implementation of the various master plans. In property purchase decisions at least, it may pay to be on the same side as the government!
Given these considerations, the following may be some of the best areas and prime locations to buy property in Singapore. Within these 8 locations are new property launches as well as older condos with enbloc potential, all of which are discussed in greater depth in various sections of this website:
- Greater Southern Waterfront
- Greater CBD
- Holland Village
- Amber Road
- Meyer Road
- Bukit Timah Road
- Orchard Boulevard
- Orchard Road
If one takes a closer look at both the URA Master Plan 2014 and URA Master Plan 2019, it is undeniable that the most exciting / important development in Singapore’s urban planning framework is the Greater Southern Waterfront project. As the Master Plans get translated into action plans on the ground, they will energize a whole host of new residential and commercial developments stretching along the southern coast from Marina Bay to Pasir Panjang. In the long term, the “centre of gravity” of Singapore’s property market is thus expected to shift further southwards towards the waterfront. Click here for details.
2. GREATER CBD
Even though the city centre is the most developed part of Singapore today, the government is striving to rejuvenate (and expand) Singapore’s CBD to keep it competitive and vibrant. The stakes are high, in Singapore’s quest to be the top global financial centre. Under the URA Master Plan 2019, parts of the traditional CBD will offer an increase in gross plot ratio (GPR) for the conversion of existing office developments to hotel and residential use. The URA also wants to increase the Central Area’s live-in population and is planning for more integrated developments (mix of residential, office, retail and/or hotel) in the increasingly seamless Downtown, Marina Bay and Beach Road/Rochor corridors. Eventually, I see D1, D2 and D7 gradually coalescing to form the Greater CBD area, which will increase in vibrancy and hype – as the government’s incentives and action plans gradually unfold over the next decade. Click here for details.
Under the URA Master Plan, the traditionally sought-after Holland Village area is poised for rejuvenation, as it has been designated as an “identity node” in order that future new developments will continue to preserve its charm and ambience. 3 plots of land have been designated for largely mixed-use developments yielding a total of 1500 homes. New developments at Holland Village will be designed along intimate laneways and courtyards to add new residences, retail and lifestyle uses and add to the charm of Holland Village. When the developments come to fruition, the Holland Village area is expected to increase its appeal to both locals and foreigners alike. Click here for details.
The Amber Road / Meyer Road area is traditionally one of the most sought-after precincts in D15, as it is right at the heart of the East Coast / Katong district. Developers are timing the completion of a number of new condos to coincide with the opening of the Tanjong Katong / Katong Park MRT stations along the Thomson-East Coast Line in 2023. Meyer Road is home to many exclusive landed properties and close to the city centre, while the Amber Road area is very close to I12 and Parkway Parade mall, where an underground pedestrian shopping mall will be built to connect the upcoming Marine Parade and Marine Terrace stations. Expected completion date is 2023 too. Part of the Land Transport Master Plan, this increased connectivity will add to the appeal of this long-established residential neighbourhood. Click here for details on Amber Rd and Meyer Rd areas respectively.
This stretch of Bukit Timah Road from Newton MRT to King Albert Park MRT is becoming more and more sought-after, as the Downtown Line is expected to continue boosting property prices in this traditionally highly-prized neighbourhood that is already populated with good schools. Along this stretch of the Downtown Line, Botanic Gardens MRT station is an interchange station with Circle Line, while Newton MRT station is an interchange station with North-South Line. By 2021, as part of the Land Transport Master Plan, Stevens MRT will become an interchange station with the upcoming Thomson-East Coast Line, thus further boosting connectivity in this stretch of Bukit Timah Road. Above all, this area is close to Orchard Road! Click here for details.
With the expected opening of the Orchard Boulevard station and Orchard interchange station, as part of the Thomson-East Coast Line in 2023, the Orchard Boulevard area will be the rising star of the property market in the years to come. Note that as part of the URA Master Plan, a number of mixed-development 99-year leasehold sites atop the upcoming Orchard Interchange station will be offered under the GLS program in the years to come.
In addition, a grand plan is currently in the works to shape the development of Singapore’s premier shopping belt over the next 15 to 20 years. A committee headed by three ministers has been formed to drive the rejuvenation of Orchard Road as a shopping and lifestyle destination for both tourists and Singaporeans alike. There is much at stake because the retail industry is an important part of the Republic’s economy, with 23,000 retail establishments chalking up operating receipts estimated at S$35 billion in 2016.
If these initiatives under the URA Master Plan bear fruit, the Orchard Boulevard / Orchard Road area is expected to remain as a prime property district – counterbalancing the pull of the Greater Southern Waterfront. Click here for details.
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Mike Tan | CEA Regn. R059706Z | 98280030