ANALYSIS: Which town has the cheapest HDB flats?

By Elizabeth Choong
/ EdgeProp Singapore |
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HDB prices on the rise

News of HDB flats fetching over $1 million has been hitting the headlines with the latest being a five-room flat at City Vue @ Henderson fetching $1.4 million. While HDB resale flats have gotten more expensive in tandem with the general rise in property prices, there are a number of HDB towns with more affordable flats. (Find HDB flats for rent or sale with our Singapore HDB directory)
Currently, three-room flats are averaging $523 psf, while four and five-room flats are fetching $533 psf and $516 psf respectively. Interestingly, average unit price for three-room flats has dropped from pole position in 2018 to its current position between four and five-room flats.

Which HDB towns have the lowest median price?

Based on median price data from HDB, resale flats in Jurong West are the among the cheapest for three, four and five-room flats. In fact, Jurong West is the only town with such low median prices for all three flat types. Bedok and Jurong East take the honours for smaller flats, while the north is the cheapest region for larger flats.

Jurong West: the most affordable town

The low median prices across three flat types make Jurong West the ideal place to call home for those with tight budgets.
The town has many amenities such as Lakeside and Boon Lay MRT Stations; Boon Lay Bus Interchange; two malls (Jurong Point and Pioneer Mall); schools including Rulang Primary School and River Valley High School; as well as Nanyang Technological University.
Property prices in Jurong West are expected to grow in tandem with Jurong East’s development into Singapore’s second CBD because of proximity between the two towns.
Interested buyers will be pleased to know that 1,016 flats in Lakeside View were launched last month as part of a Build-To-Order (BTO) exercise. The flats in Lakeside View are ideal for nature lovers and families because of the nearby Jurong Lake and numerous schools. Other surrounding amenities include Lakeside MRT Station, Taman Jurong Market and Food Centre, as well as Boon Lay Shopping Centre.
What’s more, prices for Lakeside View are lower than their counterparts in Yishun Beacon, the only other non-mature town in the same BTO exercise.
Yung Ho Spring I and Yung Ho Spring II along Corporation Drive will reach minimum occupation period (MOP) in September, which presents buyers an opportunity to purchase an almost new flat in Jurong West without a long wait or having to try their luck in a BTO application.
Yung Ho Spring I has 135 three-room flats (732 sf) and 266 four-room flats (1,001 sq ft), while Yung Ho Spring II has 95 three-room flats (732 sq ft). Amenities with a one-km radius include Jurong Lake, Taman Jurong Market and Food Centre, and Ayer Rajah Expressway.

Choice of east or west for smaller flats

Median prices for three and four-room flats are among the lowest in Bedok in the east and Jurong East in the west. Each town has its unique characteristics that will appeal to different demographics.

Bedok: the heartbeat of the east

Bedok is well served by Bedok MRT Station, Bedok Bus Interchange, Bedok Mall, Bedok Reservoir Park, Red Swastika School, Anglican High School and Temasek Junior College. Bedok is also three MRT stations away from Paya Lebar MRT Station which is an interchange station on the East-West and Circle Lines. Paya Lebar is also fast shaping up to be a commercial hub with the presence of Paya Lebar Square.
Unfortunately, only older HDB flats are available because there are no BTO flats in Bedok this year, nor are there any flats achieving MOP.

Jurong East: the latest golden boy

Lots of exciting developments are expected in Jurong East as it rapidly transforms from Singapore’s industrial hub to its second CBD. The town enjoys excellent connectivity via Jurong East and Chinese Garden MRT Stations. Other nearby amenities include Westgate, JEM, IMM, JCube and Jurong Lake Park.
Jem and Westgate (Picture: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
Jurong East is also a couple of MRT stops away from Clementi and Dover, where the National University of Singapore and many polytechnics are located.
Connectivity in the west region is set to improve with the completion of the Jurong Region Line (JRL) in 2029. JRL will have 24 stations spread across Choa Chu Kang, Boon Lay, Jurong, Tengah and the Jurong Lake District.
Those looking to buy new flats in Jurong East will have to wait for the upcoming BTO exercise in August when 560 flats will be launched. The site is located near the Pan Island Expressway, Yuhua Primary School and two MRT stations on the JRL. Unfortunately, Jurong East also does not have any flats that will reach MOP this year.

Choosing between Bedok and Jurong East

Current average prices for three and four-room flats in both towns are trending below their islandwide ($529 psf) counterparts. Despite its stronger growth potential, average price for Jurong East ($465 psf) is still lower than Bedok’s ($491 psf).
In 2018, average price for Bedok slipped below the islandwide average price. This could be due to the onset of lease decay because Bedok is an older housing estate.
Bedok might be more ideal for elderly couples who plan to age in place after they downgrade to a smaller flat. Moreover, the bulk of the residents in Bedok planning area are between 45 and 64 years old. Lease decay will be less of a concern and a cheaper flat means more savings for retirement.
On the other hand, Jurong East has a population that is more evenly distributed across all ages. The estate also has newer flats with more potential for capital appreciation, especially with the gradual transformation of nearby Jurong Lake District.
Jurong East will be more suitable for young couples or families, because it will take some time for the town to reach its full potential and for the flats there to realise their full capital gains. Owner-occupiers with an eye towards investment and upgrading should definitely consider Jurong East.

The north rules for larger flats

Buyers looking for affordable four and five-room flats should conduct their search in the north region, which has two towns (Sembawang and Woodlands) with the low median prices for larger flats.

Things are heating up in Sembawang

Residents in Sembawang are connected to public transport via Sembawang and Canberra MRT Stations and Sembawang Bus Interchange. Sembawang is also a couple of MRT stops away from Woodlands, which will be an interchange station with the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL).
Other amenities include two malls (Sun Plaza and Sembawang Shopping Centre) and schools such as Canberra Primary School, Sembawang Primary School and Sembawang Secondary School. The town is also home to Sembawang Hot Spring Park which boasts Singapore’s only natural hot springs.
Sembawang is not included in this year’s BTO exercises, but buyers can look to the resale market as Sembawang has a number of flats that have obtained or will obtain MOP this year.
Eastcrown @ Canberra has the most four and five-room flats in Sembawang with a MOP date this year. Nearby amenities include Canberra MRT Station, Sembawang Primary School and Chongfu School.

Woodlands: the north star

There are many exciting developments in Woodlands because it is slated to be the regional business hub for the north. TEL will connect Woodlands seamlessly to the central and east regions of Singapore when fully completed in 2025. Woodlands MRT Station will be an interchange station with TEL.
Other amenities in Woodlands include Admiralty and Marsiling MRT Stations, Woodlands Bus Interchange, Causeway Point, Kampung Admiralty Market and Food Centre, Si Ling Primary School, Republic Polytechnic and Singapore American School.
Causeway Point (Picture: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
The upcoming BTO exercise in August will feature 620 flats near Woodlands South MRT Station on the TEL, which is only one stop away from Woodlands MRT Station. The site for these yet-to-be launched flats is also located near several schools including the Singapore Sports School.
Buyers who prefer to skip the long wait for a BTO flat should consider Marsiling Greenview, which has 821 four and five-room flats that just achieved MOP. Amenities within a one-km radius include Marsiling MRT, Marsiling Mall, Marsiling Primary School and Fuchun Primary School. Woodlands Glen and Admiralty Flora also have flats that obtained MOP this year.

Who reigns supreme in the north?

Average price for four and five-room flats in Woodlands ($432 psf) is trending lower than their counterparts in Sembawang ($482 psf) and islandwide ($527 psf). Sembawang is expected to enjoy some spillover benefits due to its proximity to Woodlands, but property price appreciation is expected to be weaker. Stronger price gain is expected for Woodlands, due to its designation as the regional hub for the north and impending improved connectivity from TEL.
Property prices for both towns are expected to grow in tandem with the developments in Woodlands, but it might take some time to come about. As such, both towns would be more suitable for owner-occupiers who plan to live in their flats beyond the five-year MOP holding period.

Where to buy?

  • The affordability of resale flats in Jurong West makes it the ideal town for those with a tight budget. Moreover, Jurong West is expected to benefit from the development of the Jurong Lake District.
  • Buyers looking for smaller affordable flats have the choice of Bedok in the east or Jurong East in the west. Jurong East is expected to grow in importance, which will give a boost to property prices. On the other hand, elderly couples looking to age in place should consider Bedok.
  • The north region would be suitable for large families because Sembawang and Woodlands have affordable four and five-room resale flats. Both towns have flats that will obtain MOP this year, as well as new flats that will be launched in BTO exercises.

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