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Debunking the Myths About Mature vs Non-mature Estates

Maelyn Lagman

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During the 2023 National Day Rally, the Singapore government announced that it will stop using mature and non-mature estates as classifications for BTO flats from the second half of 2024. This means that starting from then, there will be no distinction between BTO projects in terms of their location being classified as mature or non-mature. The new BTO framework will distinguish projects between “Standard” (which will make up a bulk of the supply), “Plus” (located in attractive locations but not as central as Prime), and “Prime” (referring to the existing PLH model).

However, it’s important to note that this change applies specifically to BTO flats and does not affect the existing classification of HDB towns as mature or non-mature. It is still very relevant to the resale HDB market. Here’s all you need to know.

A List of HDB Mature Estates and Non-mature Estates in Singapore

Mature EstatesNon-mature Estates
Ang Mo KioPasir Ris
Bukit MerahBukit Batok
Bukit TimahBukit Panjang
Central AreaChoa Chu Kang
GeylangJurong East
Kallang/WhampoaJurong West
Marine ParadePunggol
Toa Payoh

What’s a Mature Estate?

Modern skyscrapers towering over a heritage building in Singapore, showcasing the city's architectural contrast.

Mature estates are generally defined as established residential areas with well-developed infrastructure and amenities. These estates typically:

  • Age: Are more than 20 years old, with many being much older.
  • Amenities: Have a wide range of amenities such as schools, shopping malls, supermarkets, hawker centers, parks, and recreational facilities.
  • Connectivity: Are well-connected to the city center and other parts of Singapore through public transport like MRT and buses.
  • Housing: Offer a mix of older and newer HDB flats, as well as private condominiums.

List of Mature Estates

  • Ang Mo Kio
  • Bedok
  • Bishan
  • Bukit Merah
  • Bukit Timah
  • Central
  • Clementi
  • Geylang
  • Kallang/Whampoa
  • Marine Parade
  • Pasir Ris
  • Queenstown
  • Serangoon
  • Tampines
  • Toa Payoh

What’s a non-mature estate?

An aerial view of The Arena @ Keat Hong, a sprawling sports and recreation complex in Choa Chu Kang, Singapore, featuring colorful courts, playgrounds, and lush greenery.

Non-mature estates, on the other hand, are newer residential areas that are still under development or have recently been developed. They typically:

  • Age: Are less than 20 years old.
  • Amenities: May have fewer amenities compared to mature estates, although this is rapidly changing as new infrastructure is built.
  • Connectivity: May not be as well-connected as mature estates, but new transport links are often added as the estate develops.
  • Housing: Predominantly consists of newer HDB flats, with some private condominiums being developed as well.

List of Non-mature Estates

  • Bukit Batok
  • Bukit Panjang
  • Choa Chu Kang
  • Hougang
  • Jurong East
  • Jurong West
  • Punggol
  • Sembawang
  • Sengkang
  • Tengah
  • Woodlands
  • Yishun

What are the differences between mature estates and non-mature estates?

FactorsMature EstatesNon-Mature Estates
Development StageWell-established with developed infrastructure.Newer and still developing.
Housing AgeOlderNewer
AmenitiesMore amenities like schools, shopping centers, and medical facilities.Fewer existing amenities, with ongoing development.
Resale Flat PricesGenerally higher due to established status.Generally lower, offering more affordable options.
LocationOften centrally located with better access to public transportation.Typically located further from the city center.
Public TransportBetter access to public transportation networks.Developing access to public transport; improvements ongoing.
Community FacilitiesMore community facilities and recreational areas.Fewer, with more being planned and developed.
Market DemandHigher demand due to established amenities and convenient location.Increasing demand as development progresses.
Future GrowthLimited growth as infrastructure is already established.Significant growth potential with planned developments.
ExamplesAng Mo Kio, Bedok, Bishan, Bukit Merah, Bukit Timah, Central Area, Clementi, Geylang, Kallang/Whampoa, Marine Parade, Queenstown, Serangoon, Tampines, Toa PayohPasir Ris, Woodlands, Yishun, Bukit Batok, Bukit Panjang, Choa Chu Kang, Hougang, Jurong East, Jurong West, Punggol, Sembawang, Sengkang

Why is this HDB classification important?

The mature/non-mature classification remains relevant to the resale HDB market for several reasons:

  • Buyer preferences: Many buyers still prefer mature estates due to the convenience and amenities they offer. This preference drives demand and influences prices.

  • Investment potential: Mature estates are often seen as a safer investment due to their established infrastructure and potential for price appreciation.

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  • Loan eligibility: The classification can affect loan eligibility for some buyers, as certain housing grants and schemes may be tied to non-mature estates.

  • Property taxes: Property taxes for HDB flats can vary based on the estate’s classification, with mature estates potentially having slightly higher rates.

Additional points to consider:

  • Micro-location: Even within mature estates, there can be variations in demand and prices based on the specific location and amenities of a particular block or development.

  • Changing dynamics: The removal of the mature/non-mature classification for BTO flats may gradually influence the resale market, as newer flats in non-mature estates become more attractive due to their potentially lower prices and upgraded amenities.

What are the myths about mature and non-mature estates?

A tall HDB apartment building with a yellow facade and green trees in front. The building has multiple balconies and windows.

1. Mature estates are closer to the city

There is a common misconception that mature estates tend to be more centralised, or located nearer to the city, while non-mature estates are in far-flung areas with poor amenities and inconvenient transport systems in place.

However, this myth can be easily debunked if you compare the distance of mature estates, like Tampines, to the city, which is approximately 15km, with non-mature estates like Hougang, Bukit Panjang or Yishun, which are about the same distance away from the city — or arguably nearer.

2. Mature estates house older flats

Another inaccurate definition of mature estates is that they are all older than 20 years. However, towns like Yishun and Jurong with flats that are more than 30 years old are still classed as non-mature while “younger” areas like Pasir Ris are categorised as mature estates. 

Then there are the truly paradoxical places like the brand-new Bidadari estate, nestled within the mature and very sought-after town of Toa Payoh, which marks it as a mature estate despite being fresh out of the oven. This is very telling that the “age” of an estate is hardly an accurate indicator of its “mature” or “non-mature” classification.

3. Mature estates have more and better amenities

There is also the baffling myth that mature estates have better amenities and accessibility than non-mature ones. However, a glance at non-mature estates like Punggol, Sengkang and Woodlands will reveal a well-connected transport system with bus routes, MRT stations, and a plethora of amenities, including malls, parks, and new housing concepts that embrace smart and sustainable designs. 

Hougang, despite being a non-mature estate, is known to be near a large number of prestigious schools. The accessibility and surfeit of amenities in these non-mature estates are comparable to that of the mature ones like Tampines, Ang Mo Kio, or even Toa Payoh. 

There are also non-mature towns like Woodlands with five MRT stations across two lines, compared to mature estates like Clementi with only one current MRT station.

4. Flats in non-mature estates are more affordable

Contrary to popular belief, flats in non-mature estates are not necessarily cheaper. It is usually the age and size of the flat that determines its price tag.

A quick search on property listing portals will show you that non-mature estate Punggol has 4-room flats going for as high as over $700,000 while 4-room flats in mature towns like Bedok can average about $400,000 to $600,000. 

Younger flats mean many more years on the remaining lease, as well as much fresher interior design and much better resale conditions. It is no wonder some non-mature estates are commanding higher prices than their mature counterparts. 

Are the myths about mature and non-mature estates true or false?

QualitiesMatureNon-MatureTrue or False?
Amenities Believed to be in abundanceBelieved to be scarceUntrue
Distance to cityBelieved to be nearerBelieved to be furtherNot necessarily true
PriceBelieved to be higherBelieved to be lowerNot necessarily true; price usually depends on the size and remaining lease of the property
Resale valueBelieved to be higher for short-term gainsBelieved to be better in the long runTrue
Accessibility Believed to be well-connected and convenientBelieved to have in-progress transport systems or scarce optionsUntrue
SurroundingsTends to be noisier and higher population densityMore tranquil with intended developments like parks, greenery, eco-townsTrue

With some of the myths debunked, which would you go for? A property in a mature or non-mature estate?

For those aiming to get a BTO flat in a mature estate, you have to follow this eligibility criteria

A couple sits on a couch, smiling and looking at a laptop together. They are dressed casually in matching light-colored tops and jeans, with bookshelves and plants in the background.

1. You cannot be single

Even upon turning 35, singles cannot purchase a BTO flat on their own in a mature estate. Their best bet on getting a BTO is a 2-room flat in non-mature estates. There is no such restriction for resale flats for singles aged 35 and above.

2. You have to form a family nucleus for a better advantage in landing a BTO within a mature estate

Families applying under the Parenthood Priority Scheme (PPS), Married Child Priority Scheme (MCPS) or simply just applying for a BTO flat will stand a larger chance of getting BTO flats in mature estates as there are a higher number of them set aside for this demographic. 

When choosing a home, we recommend buyers to focus on the more important aspects of the property, such as the remaining lease, the conditions of the unit, and the available amenities in their immediate surroundings. 

Non-mature estates are also fast evolving. The Business Times has reported that the price gap between mature and non-mature estates has and will continue to shrink in coming years as buyers avoid decaying leases while younger estates are transforming into mini-hubs with an abundance of amenities, enhanced accessibility, and modern conveniences.

Frequently asked questions about mature and non-mature estates in Singapore

Is Serangoon a mature or non-mature estate?

Serangoon is a mature estate.

Is Kallang a mature estate?

Kallang is a mature estate.

Is Woodlands a mature or non-mature estate?

Woodlands is a non-mature estate.

Is Bukit Merah mature or non mature?

Bukit Merah is a mature estate.

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