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Why Location is Not the Biggest Factor in Buying Your HDB Flat

Ohmyhome

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Some of us would agree that buying a flat near our parent’s home, office or even near our kids’ school would be a great benefit. But the reality is often far from ideal, as we always see people commute every day, whether for work, school or play.

So, why do these people choose to commute instead of staying close by? Sure, staying around the area can afford great convenience, but sometimes other reasons could influence where someone lives instead.

Since everyone has varying needs depending on their stage of life, their family demographic or lifestyle can play a big part in determining where they stay. For example, a family with five school-going kids is likely to have a higher need to be near good schools. In comparison, another family with aged owners would probably want medical facilities around the vicinity.

In this article, we will take a closer look at eight other vital factors that flat buyers consider when buying their homes and discuss why location is not the most significant factor when buying a flat.

1. Chances of Securing a Flat

National Development Minister Lawrence Wong advised buyers (with more pressing needs) to consider resale flats instead of Build-to-Order (BTO) flats as their chances of getting them would be higher. 

Similarly, first-time buyers may also get a BTO flat in a non-mature estate much faster than getting one in a mature estate. Based on past data, the flats in Ang Mo Kio, Bedok and Bukit Merah saw higher demand and, therefore, tighter competition among buyers. 

If you tried to get a flat in a non-mature estate as a first-timer, you may find success on your first try. 

2. Prices

Supply and demand play a significant role in the property market. BTO flats in non-mature estates are generally more affordable and have more grants than those in mature estates.

In the long term, BTO launches are also more likely to be in non-mature estates due to land scarcity in mature estates.

Furthermore, as BTOs are heavily subsidised, the price difference may be as low as $100,000 for a three-room flat in a non-mature estate such as Punggol compared to a flat in a mature estate like Toa Payoh.

Although the prices for BTOs in mature estates are attractive, they are not available to all buyers. Under the single Singapore citizen scheme, flat buyers cannot buy a BTO in a mature estate from HDB.

3. Accessibility of Public Transport

The belief that flats in non-mature estates are far from central business districts and are not as well served by public transportation or facilities will soon change. With the ongoing developments and MRT line extensions, residents near or far will have the same convenience when commuting to the CBD.

Furthermore, owners who stay near bus interchanges and MRT stations would further reduce their travelling time from the need to take the feeder service. The time savings would allow them to leave their homes later.

4. Accessibility to nearby Schools

In September 2021, the Ministry of Education adjusted the method used for calculating the boundary line of schools, which may increase the number of homes in the 1km radius of schools by an average of 10%.

Source: Straits Times

Based on past data, demand for properties around good schools is expected to remain high and unlikely to drop any time soon as parents continue to rent or move to these properties to enhance their children’s prospects of enrolling to such schools.

5. Age of Flat

Many HDB flats in mature estates were built earlier, meaning they would have a lesser remaining lease since most HDBs come with a 99-year leasehold. 

However, it is wise to consider other factors, such as the limitation on borrowing, CPF usage, selling the flat when you decide to move away, and the possibility of outliving your home!

6. Flat Layout

A floor plan indicates a flat’s layout, this helps owners decide and plan how they wish to design their home. Over the years, the floor plans for HDB flats have evolved with time, making some layouts distinct from their era. For example, older apartments do not have service balconies and air-con ledges like their newer counterparts but usually have a more significant net usable area.

7. Potential for Future Developments

Past data has shown that a housing estate surrounded by many amenities improves residents’ lives and positively affects its pricing. 

In 2011, HDB launched the “Roadmap to Better Living in HDB Towns” to guide the development of well-designed, sustainable, and community-centric towns. Developing community-centric towns means planning, designing and providing facilities and spaces with people in mind to develop these towns and also build communities.”

Is location the only important factor?

When choosing your HDB flat, you’d best lay the location conundrum aside and focus more on other things like the unit’s size, the number of rooms, available space, and, most importantly – its price. 

There’s no doubt that accessibility is important, but never let it trump the comforts of actual living.

In addition, with the ongoing developments and MRT line extensions, residents near or far will have the same convenience when commuting to the CBD. This would minimise the impact on travelling while offering a simpler way of living away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

At Ohmyhome, we are here to help you make a well-informed choice with our premium agent services, whetheryou need assistance choosing your next home or selling your HDB flat.

If you need help finding a home that matches your requirements, reach out to us at 6886 9009 to secure an appointment today or message us  at the bottom, right-hand corner of the screen. You can also WhatsApp us at 9727 5270!

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the factors to consider when buying an HDB flat??

It’s really important to think about your  chances of securing the flat, price, accessibility to public transport, schools, age of flat, layout and potential for future developments.

2. Should I wait a few more years until the town has a more developed public transport?

The belief that flats in non-mature estates are far from central business districts and are not as well served by public transportation or facilities will soon change. With the ongoing developments and MRT line extensions, residents near or far will have the same convenience when commuting to the CBD.

3. Should I buy an old flat in a mature estate?

Many HDB flats in mature estates were built earlier on and buying those flats would mean having a lesser remaining lease since most HDBs come with a 99-year leasehold. 

4. Are there potential for developments on the empty plots around the flat?

In 2011, HDB launched the “Roadmap to Better Living in HDB Towns’ to guide the development of well-designed, sustainable, and community-centric towns. Developing community-centric towns means planning, designing and providing facilities and spaces with people in mind to develop these towns and also build communities.”

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