It’s been a decade since HDB has launched a Build-to-order (BTO) project in the Queenstown area, which has some of the most expensive HDB flats in Singapore.
While condos have been springing up in the area in recent years, expectations for new BTO projects in this prime city-fringe location have been low, which is why so many Singaporeans perked up on hearing that HDB is planning more than 5,000 new HDB flats in Queenstown across six development sites, according to a Straits Times report.
The report cited a tender for a traffic impact assessment (TIA) the HDB called on 14 October, which stated that 2,060 homes on two development sites could be launched as early as 2021 and 2022, with another 3,280 units on four sites to be released by 2027.
Together with another 1,807 units (whose launch dates were not mentioned), the total of 7,147 units will span 29 hectares – approximately the size of 47 football fields. Up to 6,600 square metres (sq m) have been specified for commercial use, in addition to a primary school.
Here’s what you need to know about the location:
#1: It’s not walking distance to an MRT station
Most Singaporeans would expect a city-fringe property to have easy access to an MRT station by walking, but this future BTO site in Queenstown is an exception.
Queenstown MRT will be at least a 10-minute walk up and over a small hill at the Mei Ling Road area, whereas Commonwealth MRT is a 5-minute bus ride away.
The saving grace is the number of buses plying Queensway. Bus 100 and 196 takes commuters to the CBD in 30-minutes (not exactly city-fringe timings, we know.)
Cyclists may also choose to travel directly to the CBD via the Rail Corridor which will be fully up and running by the time the BTO flats are completed. The CBD is merely 6km away via the rail corridor, making it a 30-minute ride away on the saddle.
Want to live nearer to the MRT in Queenstown? View these properties.
#2: It is surrounded by business hubs
The proposed development sites in Queenstown are located a short car-ride away from One-north, Mediapolis and Buona Vista business hubs. The area is also a 15-minute commute to the Alexandra business hub and the Mapletree Business City, home to companies such as Unilever and Google’s Asia-Pacific headquarters.
There’s also easy access to the CBD for motorists via the Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE) via the Portsdown Road exit.
#3: Foodies will love it there…
Residents of the new BTO flats will have to watch their diets, as there are a number of popular hawker centres within easy reach, namely Mei Ling Street Market & Food Centre, Alexandra Village Food Centre and ABC Brickworks.
There are also several malls in the vicinity that offer access to daily necessities as well as dining and shopping options, including the sports-themed Queensway Shopping Centre, Anchorpoint, Alexandra Central Mall and IKEA Alexandra. Meanwhile, Gillman Barracks is a laid-back lifestyle and dining enclave that’s popular with residents in the area.
#4: …so will nature- and fitness-lovers
Aside from the obvious perks of living right next to the Rail Corridor, residents in the area will also be within easy reach of the Southern Ridges*, a 10km stretch of of lush green hills connecting Mount Faber Park, Telok Blangah Hill Park, HortPark, Kent Ridge Park and Labrador Nature Reserve.
Meanwhile, sports facilities are also available at Queenstown Sports Centre, which houses a stadium and swimming complex.
*If you would really like to live in the backyard of the Southern Ridges, check out the HDB flats at Telok Blangah, and the following condos:
What will be the launch price of HDB BTO flats at Queenstown?
One thing’s for sure, the upcoming flats to be built in Queenstown won’t come cheap, even though BTO flats are sold at a discounted price by HDB.
Minister of National Development Lawrence Wong has already revealed that the government plans to mitigate the buy-low, sell-high “lottery effect” of BTO flats in prime areas. Aside from a higher launch price, measures could include a minimum occupation period (MOP) longer than five years, a shorter lease or higher resale levy.
In Q2 2019, the median transaction prices for 4-room flats in Queenstown hit $735,000, the second highest for an HDB town after the Central district ($756,000).
In 2009, HDB launched two BTO projects – Skyville@Dawson and SkyTerrace@Dawson – totalling 1,718 units in Queenstown’s Dawson area. Starting prices for studio apartments, three-, four- and five-room flats were S$112,000, S$280,000, S$373,000 and S$532,000 respectively.
Having just attained their MOP, several units from these two projects have recently been listed on PropertyGuru. The highest listing price for a 4-room flat is $950,000 at SkyVille@Dawson, which is more than twice than what the owner paid for the flat.
HDB has also increased its launch prices significantly for city-fringe BTO projects. In the May 2019 sales launch, HDB priced the 4-room flats at Kempas Residences – a development sited right next to Boon Keng MRT station in Kallang-Whampoa town – from $562,000 to $674,000 (excluding grants).
So, it’s highly likely that the upcoming BTO projects at Queenstown will be priced similarly, at around the $650,000 mark for 4-room flats, even though the location isn’t exactly near to an MRT station. With more than 30,000 existing HDB units in the town both old and new, Singaporeans who want to live in the area might find better options in the resale market at any time, especially since the days of the BTO lottery could well be over.
Kyle Leung, Digital Content Manager at PropertyGuru, wrote this story. To contact him about this or other stories, email email@example.com