Few would mistake the waterfront town of Punggol for the wide-open spaces of Texas, but for Jann Chan, it’s close enough.
The born-and-raised Singaporean moved to Texas when she was around 18. She only expected to stay for a few years, but as she would say: “Things happen.” Jann got married, obtained her US Green Card, and started a family.
After 15 years, however, life became tough. Her marriage unfortunately wasn’t working out as planned. Now, finding comfort and bliss in her Executive Apartment HDB flat in Punggol, Jann recalled her thoughts back then, while on the other side of the world: “you think of mummy and come home, lah.”
A Difficult Homecoming
Alas, you can’t have it both ways. Upon returning to Singapore as a single mother of two at the age of 40, Jann discovered she missed Texas’ spaciousness and found most neighbourhoods in Singapore too crowded.
What she really wanted was an escape from the hustle and bustle, to a more relaxed living environment.
For a few years, Jann rented homes while building up her home decor business. She eventually bought a compact, 88-square-metre (sqm), two-bedroom condominium in Yio Chu Kang, where she felt it was a safe environment for her then young children given that she was not home most of the time.
Interested in exploring new homes? Browse all condos in Yio Chu Kang here
Circumstances changed once more. While her sons Bezner and Wesley were growing up, Jann’s father passed away, which meant her mother moved in with the family.
This was when Jann knew she needed to find a bigger home, with at least 130 sq m of space. In land-scarce Singapore, she knew her choices were limited.
The Perks of Punggol
At the time, Punggol was a fairly-new, up-and-coming town. Aside from the lack of crowds, Jann was impressed by the government’s Master Plan for the area, which was part of the Punggol 21 Plus Vision.
The year was 2010, and much of the Punggol area was still dense, impermeable jungle. From her research though, Jann knew development was imminent and the suburb looked like it’d have a great future, so she bought her 130 sq m HDB Executive Apartment, complete with three spacious bedrooms, early to avoid the price hike.
Jann had no regrets about her decision: “Upsize in area but down[size] in the cost—it’s an upgrade for me!”
With development comes accessibility: Punggol has an MRT station and is served by a light rail transit (LRT) network. But what Jann loves most is the convenience that has come with the development of the town — now she doesn’t have to leave the neighbourhood for her daily errands. Dining, shopping and banking can all be done nearby. Here’s the best part: even with everything close by, Jann feels the area is still tranquil and relaxing.
Wonder what large Executive HDB flats are on sale right now? Browse all executive apartments listed on PropertyGuru
Although moving from a condo to an HDB flat meant forgoing dips in the pool whenever she desired, Jann felt that she gained more than she lost. Other than a bigger home for her family, she’s also nearer to her workplace in Woodlands and enjoys the shorter daily commute.
She had not really been using the condo’s facilities anyway, she confessed. Moreover, Punggol’s impressive recreational facilities means she doesn’t miss the condo pool one bit. The fit-and-healthy 60-year-old now takes leisurely strolls starting from the park connector near her flat and cycles to the picturesque Coney Island.
Looking back, Jann’s happy that the sale of the condo was the right financial move.
Jann’s Punggol Home: a Family Effort
For Jann, her flat is a space that has grown together with her family, where everyone has had an input. “I look at my home and I feel proud,” she says of her three-generation home.
She has not one but three favourite spots in her house. For example, the study that was converted into a dining area is an important family space: Jann strongly believes in the family having meals together. The bar area, which she dubs the “top hangout” in the house, was designed by her son Wesley and is perfect for a martini.
Jann is also proud of the family’s “special corner” of photos, that showcases her and her sons’ shared love for photography. Jann and her sons have five photo frames each, and occasionally change the photos. “In this house, nothing really stays permanently,” she quipped.
Want to live in up-and-coming Punggol? Browse all Punggol HDB flats on PropertyGuru
Staying Close to Home
Jann predicts that eventually, when her kids each have their own place and move out, that she would downsize her home because she wouldn’t need the extra space. When the time comes, she intends to remain in Punggol to be near her family. Not only does her sister live in the same town, her son Wesley is awaiting the completion of one of the many HDB Build-to-Order flats in the area.
Jann, who jokes that she is an “old school” desktop user, is one of PropertyGuru’s earliest customers and remembers the organisation’s taxi advertisements. When she used the site to purchase her Punggol flat, the app hadn’t been created. Looking ahead, when searching for her next home, Jann is looking forward to using 360-degree photos and videos to explore homes virtually.
“The app really makes house hunting so much easier now,” she says.
RECOMMENDED ARTICLE: 5 Things You Never Knew About Punggol’s History