Whether its non-residential sites like the Paya Lebar Airbase, older neighbourhoods like Ang Mo Kio or even less accessible areas like the Jurong Lake District, the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) residential development plans for the next 50 years will be taking jobs, transportation and other essential facilities into the four corners of Singapore.
This decentralisation was already in the works prior to this decade, but was accelerated by a prolonged period of mandatory work-from-home arrangements owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. Which begs the question: If all Singapore towns become as accessible and connected as the central region, is it still worth it to pay a premium for properties there?
If you’re looking to buy or rent a home in the Core Central Region (CCR), the question of whether living in the city is still worth it might have crossed your mind.
The short answer? Yes.
Living in or close to the CBD still comes with major perks unique to the central region. Even as Singapore’s property landscape continues to transform, there will always be something about the CBD that other neighbourhoods can’t quite replicate — and we’ll be breaking down what exactly makes the city centre so distinct in this article.
Where exactly is Singapore’s city centre?
Officially, the CCR refers to districts 9, 10, 11, the Downtown Core and Sentosa. As you may know, this is where the nation’s most prestigious residential properties tend to be found. Mixed-use developments and good class bungalows are commonly found in the area, located close to lifestyle and retail districts such as Orchard Road and of course, Sentosa Resort.
And contrary to the Central Business District (CBD) that’s filled with tall, concrete office buildings that results in high foot traffic, and noise pollution, there are actually plenty of private residences that provide personal space and tranquillity in the CCR!
If you’re looking at getting your hands on property in any of these regions, you’ll have the following to look forward to:
1. Always within reach of essential and recreational facilities
Living in the CCR means always being just a few stops away from three essential aspects of life in Singapore: good jobs, good food and good entertainment.
Nearly every MRT station here is an interchange that links to at least two other lines. If you’re going to the prime shopping district of Orchard, you can easily stream into the North-South Line from the North-East Line or Circle Line via Dhoby Ghaut MRT, or the East-West Line via City Hall MRT or Raffles Place MRT. Everything else in between is either accessible by foot or can be reached within a quick bus ride.
That said, residents living outside the central region are also receiving upgrades to their transportation networks. For example, Punggol residents will be able to reach Pasir Ris in just three MRT stops once the Cross Island Line is completed in 2030. Similar developments across the island mean that public transport networks will soon be just as dense elsewhere as they are in the city centre.
However, the CCR still retains its edge over other neighbourhoods due to its reputation of being where Singapore’s most affluent residents have been living for the longest time. Businesses and developers have spent decades setting up retail and recreational offerings in the area, so that CCR dwellers won’t have to travel out of town to find something to keep them entertained. Additionally, since the Cross Island Line and other public transport upgrades are still in the works, the CCR continues to beat other neighbourhoods in terms of convenience and connectivity. At least for now.
2. Save time and money
On a related note, the connectivity within the CCR allows you to avoid a significant portion of the morning rush hour. The convenience is such that you may even opt to go without a car. Don’t underestimate the amount of savings you can make with that. After considering road tax, Electronic Road Pricing fees, parking, petrol and insurance, owning a car in Singapore can cost you upwards of $200,000 over the course of 10 years.
Therefore, though residential units in the CCR often come at a premium, the hours shaved on daily commutes and savings you make on private transport might actually make the higher price point worth it.
Furthermore, the aforementioned decentralisation of the CBD might actually be a good thing. As high-paying jobs are scattered over the country, you may find that you’re able to get on with your day quicker as lunch crowds and road traffic thins. Lesser foot traffic also means that facilities in the area will have less competition, and require less frequent maintenance, too.
3. Good property investment potential
Buying a home in Singapore has always been regarded as one of the safer ways to invest. And considering the recent volatility of the stock market, downturns in alternative portfolios such as cryptocurrency as well as the threat of a looming global recession, real estate remains to be one of the few assets that continue remaining stable during this period.
The limited availability of space in the CCR means that property buyers and investors are always looking for opportunities to lay their hands on a coveted unit in the area. Should you find yourself in a position to sell your CCR property further down the road, chances are that you’ll have many takers who are willing to buy your home at a favourable price.
Furthermore, URA’s plans to incorporate living elements such as mobility-friendly features, green spaces, convertible public areas and lifestyle essentials into the downtown area will also stimulate growth value in CCR properties. The CBD’s reputation as a ghost town after office hours may soon be a thing of the past, and you’ll find yourself with plenty of things to do and places to explore when you’re done with work.
Finally, CCR’s long-held reputation as the A-list of local properties also means that residential units here have a high chance of retaining their value, even as developments around the island continue to spring up. Older office developments may also be converted into mixed-use residentials after renovation, offering a unique alternative to what’s already on the CCR market.
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