Table of Contents
Part 1 of 9, Singapore, The Place
Part 2 of 9, Public Housing Of Singapore, HDB
Part 3 of 9, The Selection Process and Residential Localities
Part 4 of 9, The HDB Township
Part 5 of 9, Localities Preferred by Expatriates
Part 6 of 9, The Districts of Singapore
Part 7 of 9, Rental Levels and Prerequisites For Rental
Part 8 of 9, Procedures For Renting Accomodation
Part 9 of 9, The Process of Engaging a Realtor
Part 4 of 9, The HDB Township
The HDB townships give insights into life in Singapore. With the idea of providing shelter to all so that there are no homeless in the city, HDB came up with the first township at Queenstown. Though this was constructed by Housing Development Board’s predecessor, namely the Singapore Improvement Trust, this was a pilot project designed to taste the success and public acceptance of this housing exercise. Built more with the need to provide a home to all, the accommodation offered was basic and frill-free.
Affluence and the gradual elevation in living standards made the Board realize that better, aesthetically appealing and more sophisticated homes were needed, hence each successive project was an improvement on the previous one. Constant upgrading of existing townships and buildings keeps all residential buildings in an excellent state. The upgrading exercise could be an addition of a room or a balcony to each apartment in the township. The Board conducts competitions to access which township is the best maintained, and offers sops and incentives to encourage people to keep their neighborhoods clean and well.
The most important feature of HDB units is that they are meant for the section of population that cannot afford to buy private constructions, and need to have a combined income that is below a certain level. The following are the HDB townships, each of which is
individed into sub zones for ease of administration:
-Ang Mo Kio
-Choa Chu Kang
-Jurong East and West
Ang Mo Kio is located in Central Singapore and considered to be one of the best new towns in Singapore with its rows of shop houses, HDB high rise apartments, town center, hawker center and every popular food chain from Delifrance and Coffee Bean to Starbucks and Tea Leaf, supermarkets like Cold Storage and the indispensable NTUC, Harvey Norman or Courts for electronic goods and so on. Book stores, libraries, cinema halls and a sports complex are other amenities available for residents.
Ang Mo Kio boasts of some excellent schools and the world famous Nanyang Polytechnic. It is well connected by roads, expressways and the MRT. Rental rates range around S$2100 per month for a 1207 sq ft five room flat at the rate of S$1.91 per sq ft.
Bedok New Town was developed by HDB over a fifteen-year period starting in 1973, in the eastern part of the city. Home to over 200,000 people most of whom live in old flats, numbering 58000, it has all the amenities of HDB townships with nothing lacking or requiring a trip elsewhere. The Bedok MRT station and a major bus terminal helps people reach other parts of the country. The well-known Bedok Reservoir falls north of the township and offers sporting activities like sailing, fishing, kayaking canoeing and wakeboarding besides the Bedok Reservoir Park that is a perfect place for outdoor fun. A three room 69 sq m flat could be rented for S$1500 at the rate of S$2.02 per sq ft.
Bishan is one of the centrally located New Towns between Ang Mo Kio and Toa Payoh and well connected to the rest of the island by MRT and the Central Expressway. It is well surrounded by parks and entertainment zones from the Bishan Park to the children’s playground, ponds and cycling tracks, indoor entertainment zones and shopping centers.
Bukit Batok is one of the newer developments falling under the Bukit Batok Planning area. The most prominent residential are in this region is the Bukit Batok new town that offers around 31000, three and four room flats to 120,000 residents. One of the most sought after HDB properties the Bukit Batok area stands out with its blend of natural and scenic beauty, plush apartments and amenities like shopping centers, parks, natural reserved area, entertainment zones and schools. Well connected to the rest of the city with the MRT and the bus network, it also offers health care facilities, religious places and community halls. A three room flat could be rented for S$500 with a built up area of 967 sq ft at the rat of S$0.52 per sq ft.
The Bukit Merah HDB estate is ideally located near districts 3,4 and 5 and offers spacious and modern apartments to residents. Its apartments are some of the most expensive due to the excellent living conditions provided. Well connected with the MRT and the bus interchange, it also offers some excellent educational institutions. Parks and shopping malls, entertainment centers and hospitals, clubs and restaurants, all combine to make Bukit Merah a convenient place to live in. A three room 586 sq ft flat could be rented for S$1900 at the rate of S$3.24 per sq ft.
The Bukit Panjang New Town is part of the Bukit Panjang Planning Area comprised of old and new apartment blocks. Home to nearly 100,000 residents in 30,000 apartments, Bukit Panjang offers mainly 4 room and 5 room flats. Another 13000 flats are being added to take the total number of dwelling units to 43000. Accessible by MRT, LRT and the bus network, with all the available amenities for education and entertainment, combined with its proximity to the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, The Bukit Panjang New Town is one of the most preferred localities for residence. It is also considered a landmark since the first LRT line was constructed here. A 1600 sq ft executive flat could be rented for S$1800 at the rate 0f S$1.13 per sq ft.
The Bukit Timah HDB estate offers accommodation to 78000 people in its apartment blocks spread over an area of 18 sq km. It is one of the most preferred residential areas with its natural scenic beauty and lush green surroundings, nature trails into the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, besides parks and entertainment zones, educational and healthcare facilities, leading bank branches and excellent connectivity since it is so centrally located. Flats could be rented here for S$2.31 per sq ft with a 1300 sq ft five room flat costing S$3000 per month.
Choa Chu Kang HDB estate has developed in the western part of the city. Once a rural settlement dominated by Chinese immigrants, it is now a modern urban residential hub offering all the amenities essential for daily living from schools and colleges, hospitals and markets, to clubs and entertainment zones, transport facilities and connectivity. The HDB Estate spreads over an area of 6 sq km and provides homes to 110,000 people in some 35000 flats. They form 52% of the 580 hectares developed by the HDB. Most of the flats are 4 bedroom and 5-bedroom ones, with at least 4700 executive flats available as well. A five room 1180 sq ft flat could be rented for S$1800 at the rate of S$1.53 per sq ft.
The Clementi New Town is located in the western part of Singapore known as Clementi. Developed over an area of 4 square kilometers it has 24000 units housing about 88000 people. It is well equipped with educational, recreational and infrastructure facilities with the MRT, bus interchange and expressways. Besides well-known schools Clementi lies in close proximity to the National University of Singapore, Singapore Institute of Management and Singapore Polytechnic. A three room 748 sq ft flat could be rented for S$1550 at the rate of S$2.07 per sq ft.
Geylang was once the preferred area of the Malays, covered by shop houses till the 1990s and gradually developed by HDB in a well-planned residential address. Located towards the southern part of Singapore, it has about 31,600 flats occupied by 150,000 people with around 6200 flats available for rent. It offers connectivity through the bus network, MRT and LRT, has some outstanding schools, health centers and ample places for rest and recreation. A two room 45 sq m flat could be rented for S$1400 per month at the rate of S$2.89 per sq ft.
The Hougang New Town derives its name from the Chinese term “Owkung”, that literally means back to the river. Thus it is located at the back of the Sungei Serangoon, in the northeastern part of Singapore. It has 47000 flats that are mainly 4-room ones and unmatched sporting facilities with the Hougang Swimming Complex, Stadium and Hougang Sporting Hall. Besides the network of buses and MRT that make commuting hassle free, it has some good institutions for education and medical aid, entertainment and shopping. A three room 65 sq m flat could be leased for S$1800 per month at the rate of S$2.57 per sq ft.
Jurong is a name that rings a bell more for the famous industrial estate it houses. But along with the industrial network it is also well known for the HDB New towns in the vicinity. Once covered with swamps and hills, it now has the Jurong Lake and the comfortable housing it provides in the Western part of the city. The Jurong West HDB Estate is spread over an area of almost 10 square kilometers. Connected by train, MRT and buses, it falls along the Pan Island Expressway. Besides the good primary and secondary schools, it is also home to the world famous Nanyang Technological University. The Jurong Bird Park and the Jurong Hill with its ”garden of fame” are among the top tourist sightseeing destinations. The flats in the Jurong West New Town have proved to be an excellent investment for residents and a facelift and upgrade of the properties has made even more comfortable. A four room flat with a built up area of 105 sq m could be rented for S$2000 per month at the rate of S$1.77 per sq ft.
The Jurong East New Town provides 23000 flats and 1800 executive units to approximately 90,000 people in an area of 17 square kilometers. The flats here are appreciating in value with their proximity to one of the biggest commercial hubs being planned by the authorities next to the Jurong East MRT station. It comes with its own education, entertainment and commercial facilities, self sufficient in every way and offering its residents a comfortable and affluent lifestyle. Rental rates in east and west Jurong remain the same.
The Kallang area is also called Whampoa and has had an HDB Estate ranging as far back as the 1970s and 80s. With new blocks coming up the older ones have been given a complete makeover. Kallang HDB Estate is home to over 120,000 people who enjoy the best recreational facilities with the Kallang Riverside Park and Leisure Park, excellent connectivity, schools and clinics, banks and markets. Spread over 9 sq km it lies on the southeastern side of Singapore. The Urban Redevelopment Authority in its Master Plan 2008 is set to give it an image makeover as the newest lifestyle district with waterfront homes and entertainment facilities. A three room flat could be rented for S$1600 per month and a four room one for S$2600 per month.
The Marine Parade HDB Estate is spread over an area of 6 square kilometers with a wide range of flats occupied by over 55000 people. The 58 blocks of housing units have been constructed on reclaimed land and hold special attraction of proximity to the sea with the East Coast Park providing a long lush green patch on the beach. Rated as one of the most exclusive areas for residing, the Marine Parade HDB Estate falls on the eastern side of the Central Business District, connected by rail and road, including the East Coast Parkway Expressway. Being close to the airport is an added advantage. It offers some of the best recreational facilities, an opportunity for participating in water sports in the sea close by and good educational institutions. Rentals fall in the range of S$1700 per month for a three room 59 sq m flat at the rate of S$2.68 per sq ft.
Pasir Ris that literally means “White Sand” in Malay is the name given to this coastal HDB Estate, which has been one of the most popular residential areas due to the facilities it offers. Besides some of the famous resorts and clubs, it attracts people with its cycling paths, skiing facilities, seaside parks and also Singapore’s largest theme park called the Escape Theme Park. It is well connected to the rest of the city, offers some large shopping malls, good education and healthcare facilities and also all the other amenities required for comfortable day-to-day living. Once considered to be far, by Singapore standards, it is now proving to be a very lucrative investment for those who bought flats there. The Pasir Ris HDB Estate houses 150,000 people. An executive apartment could be rented for S$2200 at the rate of S$1.43 per sq ft for the covered area of 1540 sq ft.
The Punggol HDB Estate has gained importance due to the announcement by the Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong about the “Punggol 21-Plus” plan in 2007. The plan includes the development of residential clusters, reservoirs for water supply and a host of other facilities to provide the idyllic living conditions to residents. It is constructing 3000 flats each year with a total of 96000 flats planned in the years to come. At present 16700 flats are ready, 2100 are under construction, and soon to be completed water recreational facilities, cycling tracks and parks. Punggol falls in the northeastern part of Singapore and rental are in the S$1.31 per sq ft range with a 5 room 121 sq m flat available for S$1700 per month.
The Queenstown HDB estate was the first public housing estate to be constructed in Singapore as a testing ground to check public acceptance and feasibility of the new concept. It proved to be the beginning of the highly successful public housing venture of the government from which many countries have lessons to learn. With the idea of providing low cost housing to all, the Queenstown Estate was built with basic facilities, which have been upgraded over the years to keep up with the rising standards of living. It has 28406 flats, which accommodate 94900 people who enjoy the best of food markets, entertainment, schooling, sporting facilities and shopping malls. Located in the central-western part of Singapore, it is well linked to the city with the MRT and bus services. Rental rates are around S$2.13 per sq ft with a 3 room 800 sq ft flat available for S$ 1700 per month.
The Sembawang HDB Estate lies in close proximity to the Sembawang dockyard wharves. Being part of the port area, it enjoys a taste of suburban living with top class facilities provided for the 58700 residents living in the 17874 flats. Lying in the northern part of the city it is well connected by buses and MRT, has good educational institutions, sports facilities and conveniences likes markets and shopping malls, and also has one of the last natural beaches in Singapore, and other attractions like the Bottle Tree Village, Sembawang Park and Sembawang Hot Spring. A 1000 sq ft four room flat could be rented for S$1800 at the rate of S$1.8 per sq ft.
Sengkang has emerged form a flourishing fishing village and port area with rubber plantations providing a green environment. Today it is one of the younger residential estates with 40,000 units that give a home to 138500 residents. The two rivers Sungei Punggol and Sungei Serangoon make the area highly fertile. The key feature of this locality is the good public transport accessibility, entertainment zones, education and health care facilities, markets and malls. The quality of services provided, the security network and the taste of suburban living in the midst of nature are key factors that will help Sengkang Estate get transformed into the residential Estate of the 21st century. It is home to the second LRT constructed in the city. A 110 sq m 5 room flat could be rented for S$1900 per month at the rate of S$1.62 per sq ft.
Simei HDB Estate is a small housing locality in the eastern part of the city. Served by the Pan Island Expressway, East Coast Parkway and the MRT it is well connected and offers all the possible facilities one would look for in a locality. Its flats have been upgraded and improved and hence proved to be an excellent investment. A 3 room 79 sq m flat could be rented for S$1800 at the rate of S$2.12 per sq ft per month.
The Serangoon HDB Estate has been built where once a Chinese settlement existed. With the Serangoon River close by, the area had marshy land and swamps, which have given way to HDB over 21000 units with 75000 residents living in an area of 7.37 square kilometers. It is a combination of old and new apartments and has all the ingredients for making day to day live easy. With shops and shopping malls, restaurants and dining areas, entertainment education and public utilities, it provides everything required for family fun. Part of Serangoon Road is popular as Little India, and a major tourist attraction. It also has the 120-year-old Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple. A four room flat could be rented for S$550 at the rate 0f S$4.58 per sq ft.
The largest HDB estate in the whole of Singapore is the Tampines New Town. This is one of the city’s densely populated regions with over 200,000 residents in 52000 flats in an area of 4.2 kilometers. This buzzing locality in he eastern part of Singapore offers all the modern amenities and is well equipped to provide everything to its crowds of people. Well connected with the Pan Island Expressway, MRT and buses, it has world-class health facilities and some fine schools, and large malls for shopping. Its facilities tempt many to move to the area, and hence the value of property is escalating. Rental rates for a four room 103 sq m flat are S$1.99 per sq ft with the whole unit available at S$2200 per month.
The Toa Payoh New Town has the distinction of being the second satellite township to be developed in Singapore after Queenstown. Today it is one of the most populated areas with 36000 flats built over an area of 8 sq km. Home to over 150000 people, most of the units and 3 room and 4 room ones. It has been developed around a focal point, which is the Town Center where all the residents’ needs for shopping and entertainment are met. It also has the headquarters of the Housing and Development Board and the first fully air conditioned bus interchange. A four room flat with a built up area of 1119 sq ft could be leased for S$2404 at the rate of S$2.15 per sq ft.
Woodlands is the region connecting Singapore to neighboring Malaysia through the Causeway. The HDB town in the area thus provides homes to locals and foreigners especially those who frequently travel to Malaysia. Home to 192,000 residents in over 112,000 residential units, the estate is full of open spaces, greenery and other requirements for healthy living. Forming the northern segment of Singapore, the flats are contemporary in design incorporating all the latest architectural innovations. Well connected through Expressways, MRT and the bus services, Woodlands has also become a sought after area for living by those associated with the Singapore American School and the largest Woodlands General Hospital. Shopping centers like Causeway Point and other markets and malls make everything available within a small radius. Rental rates vary from SGD 1.4 per square foot to 2.5 per sq ft. Thus a two room 720 sq ft flat could be leased for a monthly rental of S$1600, while an executive 1500 sq ft apartment could be rented for S$ 2200 due to its location.
The Yishun HDB Estate known for the high quality suburban living it provides. Surrounded by the natural Yishun Park, Yishun Pond, Yishun Town Garden and the Lower Seletar Reservoir, it provides a great living experience amidst the bounties of nature. Spread over 21 sq km, it is home to 180,000 residents who have access to some of the best entertainment facilities, schools, hospitals and remain well connected to the rest of the city with the highways, MRT and bus services. A 4 room 904 sq ft flat could be leased for S$600 at the rate of S$0.66 per sq ft.