Photo: Kae Lee/123rf.com
The November 2019 HDB BTO launch is coming up, and this cycle, we are looking at quite an impressive lineup of build-to-order (BTO) flats at Tengah, Ang Mo Kio and Tampines.
For Ang Mo Kio and Tampines, there’s not much to say except… “Let's get them!”
Tengah is the only non-mature estate this round, but it seems quite popular too. The forest-themed town is touted to be Singapore’s first “sustainable town”, with eco-friendly features and hiking trails (to promote car-lite living).
Here’s what we think of the upcoming HDB BTO launch (Nov 2019).
HDB BTO launch Nov 2019 overview
|Ang Mo Kio||Tampines|
|Price estimate for 4R||From $309,000 (based on May 2019 launch)||From $382,000 (based on May 2016 launch)||From $312,000 (based on Sep 2019 launch)|
|Flat types||2R Flexi, 3R, 4R, 5R and 3Gen||2R Flexi, 3R and 4R||2R Flexi, 3R, 4R and 5R|
|Nearest MRT station||Bukit Batok MRT (or Tengah Plantation
MRT in 2026)
|Yio Chu Kang MRT||Tampines MRT|
|Key features||Sustainable, forest-themed town||Walking distance to the MRT, bus interchange and many popular schools||Walking distance to MRT, several shopping malls and tuition centres|
As expected, Tengah has the most units and unit types for sale. Non-mature estate, mah. Prices have not been released, but it’s expected to be the cheapest of the three.
The trade off is that you’ll probably be living in quite an ulu, underdeveloped estate for a while until Tengah is fully done up. Currently, the place is still full of dotted-line roads that don’t exist yet.
In contrast, Ang Mo Kio and Tampines only have 450 and 650 units up for grabs. But if you manage to get your hands on one, your new home will be much more convenient and accessible.
Tengah BTO (Nov 2019)
|Tengah BTO fact sheet|
|Official HDB map||Download the Tengah BTO map here|
|Road name||Tengah Drive, Tengah Boulevard|
|Unit mix||2R Flexi, 3R, 4R, 5R and 3Gen|
|Nearest MRT||Bukit Batok MRT (3km)|
|Nearest supermarket||Sheng Siong Bukit Batok West Ave 8 (1.5km), Giant Bukit Batok St 31 (2.2km)|
|Nearest shopping malls||West Mall (2.5km), JEM (4.5km), Westgate (4.5km)|
|Nearby schools||Dunearn Secondary School, Dazhong Primary School, Dulwich College, Millennia Institute|
|Nearby amenities||Bukit Batok Hillside Park, HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok, Bukit Batok Driving Centre, Civil Service Club Bukit Batok|
The Nov 2019 release will be the 3rd batch of Tengah HDB BTO flats. This BTO project will include all flat types, including 3Gen, which the other 2 lack. It also has the most units for sale (3,460), so if you just want the best chance of securing a flat, Tengah is your best bet.
The actual Nov 2019 launch prices have not been released, but based on the pervious Tengah BTO (in May 2019), I don’t expect it to be that cheap. It’ll probably be cheaper than the mature estates in this launch, but for a non-mature estate, it may be considered expensive.
For instance, prices for a 4-room flat in the May 2019 Tengah BTO started at $309,000, while the prices for 4-room flats in the Sep 2019 Tampines BTO started at $312,000. That’s a mere $3,000 difference!
At the same-ish price, few would pick Tengah over Tampines.
A common concern homebuyers have with non-mature estates is convenience — after all, who wants to live in the middle of nowhere, right?
There are grand plans to develop Tengah into an idyllic “forest town” featuring lush greenery, waterways and amenities at every turn, but no one is exactly sure how long it’ll take to make good on this “promise”.
Tengah is often compared to Punggol, but that doesn’t really inspire confidence. Especially since Punggol still relatively inaccessible today despite being in “development” for so long.
If you’re willing to take the risk — perhaps you think it might be a good investment — future developments include the upcoming Tengah Planation MRT on the Jurong Region MRT line (estimated 2026 completion).
It’ll be 4 stops from Jurong East MRT, which is an interchange and is where the big shopping malls JEM and Westgate are.
Until then, the nearest mall is West Mall at Bukit Batok Central, and the nearest supermarket is a small Sheng Siong at Bukit Batok West Ave 8.
Ang Mo Kio BTO (Nov 2019)
|Ang Mo Kio BTO fact sheet|
|Official HDB map||Download the Ang Mo Kio BTO map here|
|Road name||Ang Mo Kio Ave 9|
|Unit mix||2R Flexi, 3R and 4R|
|Nearest MRT||Yio Chu Kang MRT (500m)|
|Nearest supermarket||Angel Supermart (400m), Giant Ang Mo Kio Ave 4 (1.5km), Fairprice Ang Mo Kio Ave 6 (1.8km)|
|Nearest shopping malls||Ang Mo Kio Hub (2.8km)|
|Nearby schools||Anderson Primary School, Presbyterian High School, Anderson Serangoon Junior College, Nanyang Polytechnic|
|Nearby amenities||Yio Chu Kang Stadium, Swimming Complex & Sports Hall, Yio Chu Kang CC, Ang Mo Kio Library|
Probably the most anticipated of the bunch is the Ang Mo Kio BTO. Like the orange crackers in a bag of mixed nuts, this is a rare gem. The last time HDB released an Ang Mo Kio BTO was 3 years ago, in May 2016. Units are also scarce, with only 450 units this round.
Putting two and two together, the prices are also likely to be the most expensive. Even though it’s from a while back, the price of a 4-room Ang Mo Kio BTO from the May 2016 launch was already $382,000, which is significantly higher than the prices of both Tengah and Tampines flats from the recent cycles earlier this year.
Do note that there are only 2- to 4-room options, so if you prefer a bigger 5-room flat, this Ang Mo Kio BTO project doesn’t have it.
Let’s consider the location and nearby amenities to decide if it’s worth the hefty price tag.
Although along Ang Mo Kio Ave 9, the nearest train station is Yio Chu Kang MRT. It’s only about 500m away, which is a short 5-minute walk.
Yio Chu Kang MRT is on the north-south line, which connects directly to the town area. It’ll take 19 minutes to get to Orchard MRT, and 27 minutes to the CBD (Raffles Place MRT).
It’s also where the Yio Chu Kang Stadium, Swimming Complex and Sports Hall are, which is great for families.
There are no major shopping malls nearby; Ang Mo Kio Hub is the closest, 3km away. It’s not a trendy, fashion mall, but it does have a lot of food options and a huge Fairprice Xtra.
But perhaps the most noteworthy thing is how many popular schools there are nearby. If you move there, your kids can literally study in the area until university.
The BTOs are opposite Anderson Primary School, next to Presbyterian High School, and a stone’s throw away from Anderson Serangoon Junior College and Nanyang Polytechnic.
There’s also going to be an upcoming Lentor MRT station that should be ready by 2020. It’ll run on the Thomson-East Coast line.
Tampines BTO (Nov 2019)
|Tampines BTO fact sheet (Nov 2019 launch)|
|Official HDB map||Download the Tampines BTO map here|
|Road name||Tampines Ave 5, Tampines Walk|
|Unit mix||2R Flexi, 3R, 4R and 5R|
|Nearest MRT||Tampines MRT (650m)|
|Nearest supermarket||Fairprice Tampines Hub (600m), Fairprice Tampines Mall (1km)|
|Nearest shopping malls||Tampines Mall (1km), Tampines 1 (1.1km)|
|Nearby schools||St Hilda’s Primary School, Dunman Secondary School, Temasek Polytechnic|
|Nearby amenities||Tampines Swimming Complex, Tampines Regional Library, Tampines Central Park and multiple tuition centres|
Comparing past launch prices, I’m actually surprised that Tampines BTOs are not more expensive. A 4-room flat from the previous Sep 2019 launch was only $312,000. If the prices are similar this time round, I’d say this is the most “worth it” one to apply for in the Nov 2019 HDB BTO launch.
I know that some older Tampines BTOs had relatively poor locations (i.e. far from MRTs and other amenities), but this time, it’s only 650m away from Tampines MRT and interchange, and 1km from the cluster of shopping malls.
I’m not super familiar with Tampines, but I always got the impression that it was sort of overcrowded. That HDB could squeeze out some more space in such a prime area is a welcome surprise.
If you don’t want to fight the crowds at the main Tampines Central, these BTO blocks will be right next to Tampines Hub, which a small almost-mall by People’s Association. You can pick up your groceries from the Fairprice there.
The flats will also be flanked by the Masjid Darul Ghufran mosque and the Tampines Swimming Complex. The area also has quite a few tuition and enrichment centres for children, like Heguru Education, British Council and more.
This Tampines BTO project has all the flat-type options except 3Gen, but has only 650 units. That’s slightly more than Ang Mo Kio, but still only 1/5 of Tengah.
Which should you choose?
If you’re torn between the 3, here’s a helpful overview of each one’s key selling points and who they’re most suited for.
If you’re on a tight budget and just want a home, go for Tengah. Not only are the prices are likely to be the lowest in this HDB BTO launch cycle, it’s also got the most available units so you have a better chance of getting a ballot number. Be prepared to live with at least a few years of inconvenience though – the public transport infrastructure will take a while to develop.
If you don’t mind paying more for convenience, you can try your luck with the 2 mature estates. Comparing the nearby amenities and MRT stations, I think the projects in Ang Mo Kio and Tampines are on par. Tampines is likely to be cheaper though, so it provides more value in that sense. There are also more units.
The main edge Ang Mo Kio has is that it’s right smacked in the middle of Singapore, so if your family has to travel to different ends of the island — say one of you works in the East and the other in the West — this may be much more convenient.
I anticipate ridiculous competition for the mature estates, so if you intend to apply for them, do manage your expectations — It's probably going to be oversubscribed.
This article originally appeared on MoneySmart.