Fancy living by the sea… or on the sea? Marine Parade, the first housing estate entirely on reclaimed land, gives some lucky households the chance to do just that. Before the sea was filled in, Marine Parade was part of Katong and was formerly a beach front. Its breezy name came from a promenade near the sea along East Coast.
Today, there are some 21,600 HDB residents in 7,862 flats (as of 31 March 2018), with the first dwellers moving in as early as 1972. Some of the highest priced ones offer gorgeous views of the sea, and Marine Parade, despite its ageing homes, is often seen as one of the most desirable HDB addresses in Singapore.
Well loved for its proximity to East Coast Park, Marine Paraders enjoy all the commercial, recreational and leisure amenities you’d expect of a mature estate, on top of seasports like sailing and windsurfing. Parkway Parade is the main shopping mall, Katong Shopping Centre the oldest, and new additions like 112 Katong and Katong V adding much vibrancy. Marine Parade is also home to plenty of good grub from Peranakan fare to Katong Laksa and more belly-busters at the popular Marine Parade Food Centre.
HDB flat prices: It may have been built in 1977 but a roomy 126sqm five-roomed flat at Marine Drive is being marketed at $948,000. Even the cheapest five-roomed flat we found at Marine Terrace, built in 1975, costs $720,000; that’s about the same as a Bishan flat that is a good 12 years younger. The four-roomed flats, also built in 1975, go from $470,888 to $618,000 for 87sqm of eastside real estate.
Located in the central part of Singapore, Bishan is morbidly named after Peck San Theng cemetery, which was cleared to make way for the living. Early residents among the 63,200 residents in 20,072 HDB flats today certainly have the dead to thank. Today, Bishan’s flats are among the highest priced in Singapore today and have made millionaires out of at least 17 households in the last 12 months. The most expensive? A 163sqm Maisonette on a high floor that was built in 1987, but still sold for a record-breaking $1,138,000.
This popular neighbourhood is served by Bishan Interchange MRT station, Marymount MRT station and the upcoming Bright Hill MRT station. There’s Junction 8 shopping mall at the town centre, Bishan Harmony Skate Park, and two popular Bishan Parks where Singapore’s beloved Bishan otter family dwells. Several popular schools here, such as Ai Tong Primary School, Catholic High School and Raffles Institution, have helped to jack up property prices.
HDB flat prices: If you have a spare $1.2m, there’s a 146sqm Executive Maisonette at Bishan St 13, built in 1987, that has your name on it. A 121sqm, five-roomed flat in the same block is going for $740,000. The cheapest 84sqm, four-roomed flat we found costs $398,000 along the same street.
According to HDB, Serangoon has 21,634 flats and boasts an estimated HDB resident population of 68,800 (as of 31 March 2018). Once a mish-mash of kampongs settlements, villages, rubber plantations, and other agricultural activities until the 60’s, today’s Serangoon is a wellequipped mature housing estate. The seven-storey NEX Shopping Mall is the biggest in the northeast region and conveniently integrated with a bus interchange and Serangoon Interchange MRT station. Another must-visit hangout: the famous Chomp Chomp Food Centre, where locals and tourists queue for their Michelin Plate-winning Ah Hock Fried Hokkien Mee and Chomp Chomp Satay. Families also like Serangoon for its good schools in the region, like Rosyth School, St. Gabriel’s primary and secondary schools and CHIJ Lady of Good Counsel.
HDB flat prices: A 140sqm HDB Executive apartment built in 1998 at Serangoon Avenue 2 was recently marketed at $980,000. A 103sqm four-roomed flat at Serangoon Central, which was built in 1989, was put up for $625,000. Good news: We found one HDB 5I corner unit at Serangoon North Avenue, a roomy 121sqm unit built in 1992 and near Rosyth School, at just $468,000.
Singapore’s first satellite town, named after Queen Elizabeth II to celebrate her coronotion in 1952, was built in the ‘50s by the Singapore Improvement Trust which is the predecessor to HDB. It was the first town to have its own amenities such as a Sports Complex and a Town Centre. Today, there are 82,500 people living in 32,678 flats as of 31 March 2018 – and some are real fancy flats indeed. The new SkyVille @ Dawson and SkyTerrace @ Dawson projects, for example, are often mistaken for condominiums. In 2018, a five-year-old five-roomed HDB flat in Queenstown set a new record for the area with a whopping $1.1m price tag. In fact, in the last 12 months, there were 10 flats with million-dollar sales in the Queenstown area from Ghim Moh Link, Holland Drive,Commonwealth Drive and Meiling Street. Shopping malls are a 10-minute drive away at Orchard Road, though there are neighbourhood malls such as Queensway Shopping Centre, Ikea, Anchorpoint and Alexandra Central Mall nearby. Schools include New Town Primary, Queenstown Primary and Secondary School, Queensway Secondary School, and a little further away, Crescent Girls School along Tanglin Road.
HDB flat prices: A rare 121sqm landed HDB house at Stirling Road with 3+2 bedrooms is being advertised for $1,281,280 but do note that it was built in 1968. The second most expensive unit we spotted is a five-roomed flat at Commonwealth Drive built in 2015, modestly sized at 114sqm but demanding a cool $1.2m.
Its name may be inspired by the unsexy malay word ‘Jerung’ (meaning ‘shark’) but Jurong East has indeed come a long way since its gambier plantation days. It is touted as Singapore’s second Central Business District and with five malls ( Jem, J-Cube, Westgate, Big Box and IMM) surrounding the Jurong East interchange MRT station area, has been hailed the ‘Orchard Road’ of West Singapore. Covering the area around Jurong Town Hall Road and the Pan Island Expressway, as well as the Teban and Pandan estates, about 78,000 people in 23,897 flats (as of 31 March 2018) call Jurong East home. Despite some hiccups on Malaysia’s end which led to a deferment of the Singapore-Malaysia High Speed Rail project, plans to develop Jurong East are zipping ahead. Come 2026, a new seven-hectare integrated tourism development will offer a hotel, attractions like a new Science Centre, eateries and shops at the Jurong Lake District. Already, the new Jurong Lake Gardens (a sprawling 90-hectare space comprising Lakeside Garden, Chinese and Japanese Gardens and Garden Promenade, has been drawing visitors. It even has its own family of otters! There are several neighbourhood schools like Jurong Primary and Secondary, Yuhua Primary and Secondary, and Crest Secondary School. Young parents may want to get on the waiting list of the award-winning Caterpillar’s Cove @ Jurong East infantcare and childcare centre at the Devan Nair Institute for Employment and Employability near IMM.
HDB flat prices: A 140sqm Executive apartment at Jurong East St 21, built in 1998, is being marketed at $850,000. A 121sqm, five-roomed flat built in 1984 just across Jurong East MRT station is selling for $660,000. In Teban Gardens, an 87sqm, four-roomed unit built in 2013 is going for $437,000.
Written by Stella Thng, photos by SPH.