Property Stories An Early Morning Tour Of Pasir Ris: Landed Houses By The Beach Under $2.9 Million
- November 11, 2021
- 11 min read
When you watch property videos on YouTube or Netflix, beachfront houses are always portrayed as the creme de la creme in real estate. I’ve always thought that we’d already destroyed all the beautiful waterfront landed houses in land-scarce Singapore – well, except for the ones in Sentosa, which most Singaporeans can’t afford. However, my search for waterfront homes in Singapore that don’t cost an arm and leg, which has previously taken me from HDBs, 99-year condos & cluster houses to freehold condos, has proved me wrong.
Nestled right across from Pasir Ris Park is an enclave of landed houses, that roughly form a rectangle bounded by Pasir Ris Heights, Pasir Ris Drive 3, Riverina View, and Pasir Ris Road.
Note: the Overseas Family School, 2 condos (Vue 8 as well as Stratum), and several blocks of HDB flats are amongst these landed houses. If you want to live a stone’s throw from Pasir Ris Beach but prefer high-rise living, you could check them out the views are mostly unblocked thanks to the low-rise landed houses so the sea-facing units should have stellar views.
There are several inexpensive landed houses within this enclave. You can, for example, get a beautiful 7-bed house with a glass facade for $2.1 million (or could anyway, as the house had sold when I messaged the agent). Now I know my series is meant to feature affordable housing, and I’m not suggesting that $2.1 million is a small sum of money, but considering that the most expensive HDB costs $1.36 million, I’d say $2.1 million for 7-bedrooms isn’t crazily expensive.
You might quibble that the property I listed has already been sold but, at the time of writing, there were at least 4 landed properties listed for sale in this area, all under the price of $3 million, including:
- $2.4 million for a corner terrace with a land space of 3,675 sq ft
- $2.28 million for a corner terrace with a land size of 3,467 sq ft (there’s even a granny room on level 1, so perfect for multi-generational families)
- $2.8888 million for a corner terrace with a land size of 3,398 sq ft
- $2.1 million for a terrace at Riverina, land size 1,614 sq ft (Bonus: the lease starts in 1996!)
Note that this price range is about half the average price of a landed property in Singapore in 2021 is about $1,367 psf.
For families that need more space (or are dying to experience landed living), the houses around Pasir Ris Heights and Riverina View might be an interesting opportunity.
What’s the catch?
Before you get too excited, I need to point out that there’s no free lunch in the world. These landed houses are cheaper than the average landed property because they are 99-year leasehold in nature and not the youngest houses around. Most are listed as having been developed in 1977, which gives you about 50 years before the land goes back to the government. (Some at Riverina have a longer way to go, with leases starting in 1996.)
So if you’re thinking that there’ll be a way out at the end of the lease, I wouldn’t be too optimistic: 191 leasehold landed properties in Geylang were returned to the state in 2020 when their leases ran out. It’s no surprise then that lease decay is one of the reasons why most people would shun a leasehold landed property. 99% of the time he or she will tell you to “only buy freehold” and some of you may feel like it’s ridiculous to even think of buying these old leasehold houses.
However, if you believe that a house is a home to be enjoyed and not just an investment vehicle, living here may be more suitable than you might think. It’s hard to imagine something more relaxing than living by the beach and park, particularly for people who love nature and outdoor sports. Don’t underestimate the importance of your living environment – I actually developed chronic gastric after moving to a development that didn’t suit my lifestyle! (For an overview of how freehold landed vs leasehold landed has performed over the years, do check out this article.
Although it is possible to make money buying an old leasehold landed home – some have good rental yields, for one – it’s generally a move that works best for people not concerned about legacy planning. If you want to find out more about leasehold landed properties, here’s a list of the cheapest ones around!)
Landed properties are often associated with inconvenience due to not having good transport links or shops in the vicinity. This stretch of Pasir Ris Park does have at least 2 restaurants: Georges @ The Cove and Rasa Istimewa.
Moreover, there are 3 shopping centres nearby – Pasir Ris West Plaza, Elias Mall, and White Sands (which is where Pasir Ris MRT is located) – so every house should have shops within a 10-minute walk or so. Thanks to the HDB blocks lining Pasir Ris Drive 3, there’s also easy access to all the facilities that usually surround HDBs.
Things to note
- Whilst living by the water may sound very peaceful and tranquil – and I did very much enjoying walking in the park, you may not think so if you like your lie-ins in the mornings. I spent over an hour walking around the landed estate from 7 am to 8ish and the roosters were crowing NON-STOP. (They may have started at 6 am, for all I know!)
Mind you, it wasn’t just 1 or 2 roosters but several flocks of roosters (and hens) that were scavenging all the way from Pasir Ris Beach to Riverina View, so be warned. You have to cross several roads, including Elias Road which is quite large, but not very busy, at least not when I visited (4 car lanes, if I’m not wrong) to get from Pasir Ris Beach to Riverina View, so I’m pretty impressed by how far-ranging the birds are. Although I guess they could have roamed via Sungei Api Api Park, which is next to Riverina View and leads from Pasir Ris Beach to Pasir Ris Drive 3!
- I visited at 7 am on a Tuesday morning and Pasir Ris Beach was already lively. It didn’t feel too packed as the park is quite wide so every one is spread out. It’s definitely much more spacious and nicer than West Coast Park (no tankers and industrial machinery to spoil your walk here, for one), which I’d covered in a previous waterfront article! However, there are quite a few chalets in Pasir Ris and when COVID restrictions are fully lifted, you may experience constant noisy parties at your doorstep. (If there are any readers who live along Pasir Ris Beach, feel free to comment and let us know!) I counted at least 5 chalets – OCBC Bank Holiday Bungalow, Keppel Bungalow, URA Company Chalet and 2 PA Holiday Bungalows.
- If you’re comfortable with the above and ready to find your forever home here (or, the Singaporean equivalent: your 50ish-year home), do choose the house carefully, as some are more ideal than others. For example, I counted at least 6 childcare centres dotted amongst the landed houses, and living next to 1 of these institutions may not make for the quietest of lifestyles. Moreover, some of the houses are on slightly more elevated land than others, which is always a plus. Others are set further apart from the next door houses (despite having the same land size), which makes for a more comfortable distance from your neighbour.
Whilst a house near Pasir Ris Beach is definitely something I am interested in, there are several factors that I feel need careful consideration before making any final decisions:
- Leasehold landed properties aren’t the easiest to sell and old leasehold landed ones, harder still. Besides the limited target audience, there may also be financing constraints when you want to sell in future as banks get pickier about loaning money as the lease runs down.
- One of the key interest groups for such homes would be large families. However, a population census earlier this year has indicated that the average household size in Singapore is falling. As such, we may see a move back to a demand for smaller homes in the future.
- Alternatively, you may plan to live in such a house for the rest of your days, as I do, and not sell it. However, as landed leases reach the end of their lives, some property owners no longer see the point of upkeeping their places, which can result in pests and generally less amenable living conditions. (Rats and cockroaches can travel from 1 house to another. In the Geylang leasehold houses, for example, some residents were building knee-high partitions to keep out rats towards the end of the lease!) Others may choose to rent out their properties to religious groups or turn them into foreign worker dormitories, which may or may not be something you would like in your neighbourhood.
All in all, food for thought before committing so I’d like to see what other reasonably-priced waterfront landed homes Singapore has to offer. If such properties have caught your interest, do tune in again next week as I’ll be bringing you to another part of Singapore with such houses, as well as sharing a general overview of the costs involved in maintaining a landed property.