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My Thoughts on $1 Million Sengkang Flats

A maisonette flat in Sengkang caught the attention of the Singapore public when it was sold for $1 million dollars.

This would be a sale that would have grabbed my attention in the past if I was still hunting for a flat after I turned 35 and could buy an individual flat as a single. Housing is becoming unaffordable for most, certainly for singles who just emerged from serving as an important pillar for their own family and are planning to secure their own dwelling away from their family.

A large majority of my generation, millennials, move to Sengkang and Punggol as their starter homes. Sengkang is not the most accessible town, and if flats in Sengkang cost closer to $1 million than $400k, where can we find affordable housing?

Fortunately, that $1 million Sengkang flat is unique because it is a maisonette instead of your regular 4-room or 5-room flat. I wonder if the buyer paid that much more because of the furnishings and the unique size and less about it’s location.

The maisonette resides in a place that is not exactly close to the LRT or a direct bus stop. MRT stations (Buangkok and Sengkang MRT) are 10 minutes walk away.

The last $968,000 Sengkang flat in the news is better because you can basically see the Sengkang MRT across the road.

A comparable five-room HDB flat close to that maisonette would cost $620,000, but it is still relatively young at 26 years old. A far cry from $1 million or even $800k.

I think that if a couple earns $150,000 in combined income, the flat will be about four times the annual salary. That is reasonable. (Of course, if you are Huatist and you keep throwing median income, median income, median income at me then that would look more expensive at 5 times but usually with first time subsidies that will get down to 4 times.)

Living in SengKang has given me a unique view of housing affordability, size of living space and accessibility.

  1. I am one of the earlier Sengkang “new” dwellers so most of the flats will be younger than mine.
  2. Accessibility is less problematic now with 2 days work from home which means you only go to work 3 days per week.
  3. Space is bigger than what you get currently if you are thinking of a big family.

I think a similar one would appeal to some but many would not be able to find a place similar to mine because you would have to look hard enough. I think real estate is like that. The 4-room flats are all the same but they are also not the same at the same time.

Headlines of high flat prices show that there may be downgraders from condo that are willing to shell it out but I do see quite a fair bit of $600,000 to $700,000 flats around.

I think a flat here would work for some of you but you have to contend with some trade-offs like shitty cai png.

I would probably have something more to add tomorrow.

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Thursday 9th of May 2024

With property, it is and will be always: Location, location, location.

Work from home may be the "new" normal, but we have other activities too. How far away are we from groceries/household needs/medical/leisure/schools..? How far away are we from bus/train/road..? 300m is the guide ( I think) and less is preferred. At the equator, a lazy walking pace will be a sweaty experience within 150m.

In Singapore, owning or renting a vehicle is extremely expensive, time consuming to look for parking. We might not live in our first home till we die, and need to sell. The location is therefore a very important factor for entry & exiting the asset.

John Lin

Thursday 9th of May 2024

Hey Kyith,

We will have a small garden coming up by NEA before year end... A nice place for retirement, ignoring the cai png part. Slow down and smell the roses ya..


Friday 10th of May 2024

Hi John, thank you for that. I don't even know we are getting a small garden.

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