My first visit to the Lake District during my stay in the UK was a memorable one. I remember sipping a cup of coffee in my little apartment that overlooked the lake and being enthralled by the rustic charms of nature that spread before my very eyes. What followed next was a tinge of despondence, for the lush greeneries and waters were something that I could not get in my beloved home country, Singapore.
Now, fast-forward 5 years, and you could imagine my excitement when the Singapore government announced the rejuvenation of Punggol as the Waterfront Town of the 21st Century.
Punggol as the Waterfront Town of the 21st Century
Historically a fishing village and a sleepy estate in recent decades, Punggol is currently enjoying a radical transformation into an exciting waterfront town.
At the heart of its development is a 4.2 km long waterway that embodies three key design elements: Green, Water and People. This impressive stretch of waterway comprises a wide array of activities and facilities – from recreational to educational – all connected together by the natural landscape of waters and lush greeneries. It is no wonder why Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong described the waterway as a “green lung in the middle of our tight city”.
Make no mistake, Punggol is not all just about undulating landscaped hills and blue waters. By 2015, there will be a new commercial hub and town plaza located right at the MRT station, and the town is poised to be as big as Ang Mo Kio (an immensely popular mature estate in Singapore).
I strongly believe that these are valid reasons to make an early investment in Punggol while the opportunity is still there.
The Lure of Executive Condos
I hear you ask – is the opportunity to invest still there? Yes, and it lies in the Executive Condominiums, fondly referred to as ‘ECs’.
ECs are part of public housing in Singapore but fully developed and sold by private developers. This is a government initiative that caters to homebuyers who are ineligible for the cheaper HDB flats but cannot afford prices of private property.
As a result, ECs are always offered at a much lower quantum (usually priced 20-25% lower) as compared to a private new condo with similar facilities, hence making the former much more affordable.
In addition, interested EC 1st time buyers who are eligible for the government housing grants (CPF grant) can enjoy a subsidy of up to SGD $30,000. This is dependent on the combined monthly income of the buyers. There is also no resale levy for 2nd time buyers. To understand more about the eligibility, please refer to the Housing Development Board’s EC Eligibility.
The most important consideration for investing in ECs would be its strong potential for capital appreciation. By doing a trend analysis, the values of ECs have risen considerably over the years since its introduction into the housing market. Park Green, launched in Apr 03 at $324 psf is now fetching $746 psf, a handsome investment for many. Bishan Loft, launched in 2001 at $421 psf, can now fetch above $1000 psf. This translates to more than a 100% capital appreciation.
After 10 years of ownership, the EC will be privatized and could be sold to foreigners. The ability to sell to a wide market essentially means that there is a larger market of potential buyers to sell the EC to.
ECs in the Punggol Vicinity
Thankfully for the many who are interested in investing in Punggol, there are a few upcoming EC launches in the next couple of months.
Located at the heart of Punggol is Waterbay EC. The expected launch date is in Oct 12. Other great investment opportunities in the area include Heron Bay EC and Fernvale EC.
Now, fast-forward another 5 years, when I am sipping my cup of coffee in the apartment that overlooks the natural landscape and blue waters, it will not be in the UK, but in my beloved home, Singapore.