AnalysisWe Ranked Every District By How Much They’ve Gained (Or Lost) – Here Are The Results
- by Reuben
- January 22, 2020
- 25 min read
Some of you might have remembered us doing a piece on the noisiest district in Singapore some time back (*Mini-spoiler Alert*: No. 1 was quite the surprise).
Safe to say, it received overwhelmingly positive feedback from you guys.
So we thought, why not do one on appreciation stats as well?
The only difference this time being that we would actually cover all the districts in this piece as opposed to a ‘Top 10 countdown’ (well, kind of anyways).
Now not many of the younger folks might know this.
But the reason we actually have all these district numbers today is because of the old postal system that goes way back in time (in fact even before Singapore’s birth).
How it All Began (A Brief History)
For those of us here who might remember, Singapore’s postal code numbers wasn’t always a 6-digit number.
Which meant that you couldn’t simply read the last 3 digits of your buddy’s postal code to figure out which block he was staying at (well for most HDB flats that is).
No. In fact, there were quite a few changes to the postal code system over the years – no doubt courtesy of the ever-increasing residential development numbers.
(We’ll just breeze through the highlights for now)
Back in 6 March 1950, Singapore was initially divided into 28 postal districts (the numbers we know today) – with a specific number given to each ‘major’ section of the island.
Almost 3 decades later, we observed a new 4-digit postal code system overhaul.
At this point, the districts had been further divided into 81 sectors with the last 2 digits of the postal code indicating one of these particular sectors.
Fast forward to 1 September 1995, and we saw the final upgrade to the 6-digit postal code that we have come to know and love – the first 2 numbers of which, now represented the sectors of old.
Of course, the initial district numbers never completely disappeared – and we now refer to them fondly in industry speak whenever we need to single out a particular region of origin.
District Rankings (List)
Now just a few quick pointers to note before we get into things:
- Firstly, we have omitted Districts 6 and 24 on the precursor that there are limited residential developments in these two regions (Clarke Quay/City Hall and Lim Chu Kang/Tengah respectively), hence our inability to rank them fairly.
- Secondly, the figures are based off combined/averaged residential development appreciation statistics across 26 districts over the past 5 years (January 2015 – December 2019).
- Finally (and based off the previous point), the fact that these statistics are taken over a 5-year period across various developments make it hard to ascertain the actual appreciation-related reasons – though we’ll be sure to leave you some nice tidbits throughout!
Let’s do this.
#26 – D16 (Bedok/Upper East Coast/)
Safe to say it’s a little disconcerting when that one area that holds most of your childhood memories ranks as the current lowest in the list. But I guess someone has to take the spot either way!
Home to a diverse number of shopping malls and food outlets, District 16 currently ranks as the lowest appreciating district over the last 5 years at an alarming -18.66%.
Price Movements: $1,286 average psf in January 2015 to $1,046 average psf in December 2019.
#25 – D2 (Chinatown/Tanjong Pagar)
Perhaps this hefty appreciation loss is due in part to the exorbitant psf(s) here – which tend to fall as the novelty factor of these ‘high-quantumed’ developments begin to fade.
District 2’s appreciation statistic stands at -9.92%.
Price Movements: $2,642 average psf in January 2015 to $2,380 average psf in December 2019.
#24 – D17 (Changi Airport/Changi Village)
Home to Singapore’s key commercial aviation industry and one of the best hawker centres in town (I’ll attest to that!), this part of eastern Singapore doesn’t seem to be doing too well in the appreciation sectors.
That being said, rental demand in the area has always been relatively high from staff at the nearby air and marine ports so the region does shine in other real estate sectors.
District 17 has a current appreciation statistic of -1.91%.
Price Movements: $1,153 average psf in January 2015 to $1,132 average psf in December 2019.
#23 – D22 (Boon Lay/Jurong/Tuas)
If D17 is the Eastern Gateway of Singapore, D22 is it’s Western counterpart.
Yes, it’s not incredibly well-ranked.
But with an entire plethora of upgrades (Jurong Regional Line, Innovation District and Mega Tuas Port) set to rock this part of the city, we’ll definitely be expecting a pickup in housing activity here in the near future.
District 22 appreciation figures: -1.58%.
Price Movements: $1,010 average psf in January 2015 to $994 average psf in December 2019.
#22 – D1 (Boat Quay/Raffles Place/Marina)
Singapore’s ‘No. 1’ District (or the CBD as we call it) is the homebase of many illustrious companies spread across a string of Grade-A office Towers. It also plays host to a variety of classy riverfront hotels and bars.
While the latter-most is best left for after work hours, the area is also a hotspot for tourists with the presence of authentic food, cultural experiences and more importantly, solid public transport convenience/offerings.
District 1’s appreciation figures: -0.45%.
Price Movements: $2,241 average psf in January 2015 to $2,231 average psf in December 2019.
#21 – D4 (Sentosa/Harbourfront)
District 4 takes us a little to the south-west of the CBD.
Home to iconic (luxurious) waterfront properties like the Marina One Residences, we will soon observe the moving of Keppel Club as well as a range of other developments to make way for over 9,000 new housing units.
This, as part of the Greater Southern Waterfront initiative that is set to roll out in phases over the next 10 years.
District 4 also holds our first positive appreciation figure at 6.16%.
Price Movements: $1,363 average psf in January 2015 to $1,447 average psf in December 2019.
#20 – D25 (Admiralty/Woodlands)
Moving up to the last (Northern) gateway, we see a fair share of residential developments, schools and shopping malls in this part of town.
It is also one of Singapore’s older districts with the impending 43km-long Thomson-East Line set to make its mark here with 2 extra stations (Woodlands North and South) opening their doors at the end of this month.
Of course, the rewards of this extra amenity will mostly take full effect once the entire line is eventually opened and functioning.
For now, the area’s appreciation statistics stand at 6.42%.
Price Movements: $779 average psf in January 2015 to $829 average psf in December 2019.
#19 – D23 (Dairy Farm/Bukit Panjang/Choa Chu Kang)
The Dairy Farm area and its surroundings are home to a good mix of old and new private residential developments. This includes the award-winning Tree House condo that even set a guinness record 5 years back.
More than an abundance of greenery and goats (pardon me) in the area however, there are some interesting mall and culinary offerings, as well as a decent amount of primary/secondary educational institutes in the vicinity.
District 23’s appreciation figures: 7.16%.
Price Movements: $1,019 average psf in January 2015 to $1,092 average psf in December 2019.
#18 – D12 (Toa Payoh/Balestier)
District 12 might have outranked the Dairy Farm region by a sliver, but they are miles apart in comparison.
While the former offers large green spaces, the Toa Payoh/Balestier area is packed with residential developments and older shophouse-like enclaves.
It is also home to the HDB Hub where most go to put down their deposits or to enquire about particular flats of interest.
Finally, its relative ‘centrality’ (next to Newton) further classifies the area under the Rest of Central Region (RCR) category.
District 12’s appreciation figures: 7.17%.
Price Movements: $1,339 average psf in January 2015 to $1,435 average psf in December 2019.
#17 – D15 (East Coast/Marine Parade)
Out of the ‘city’ and toward the sea!
District 15 is home to a diverse amount of freehold developments and was a key instrument/participator in the En Bloc Craze of 17/18’.
One of the resulting developments includes the highly anticipated Meyer Mansion along the illustrious Meyer Road.
Well known for its incredible (unobstructed) views, it is a hotspot for those looking to escape the ‘cluttered’ feeling that is present in all of Singapore’s other RCR districts.
District 15’s appreciation figures: 8.91%.
Price Movements: $1,325 average psf in January 2015 to $1,443 average psf in December 2019.
#16 – D26 (Mandai/Upper Thomson)
If you did your National Service in Singapore, chances are that you might have crossed into the Mandai/Upper Thomson district.
Suited in a large expanse of green (which is probably why there are so many camps here), the area offers itself a peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of the city with its numerous quaint shophouses and enclaved eateries.
It is also set to greatly benefit from the Thomson-East Line given its current lack of immediate MRT transportation. Probably one of the reasons for its good appreciation rate of 9.73%.
Price Movements: $915 average psf in January 2015 to $1,004 average psf in December 2019.
#15 – D9 (Orchard/River Valley)
On to Singapore’s glitziest district!
If you’ve been following us for some time, you would have observed that quite a number of our recent reviews like Boulevard 88 and Paterson Suites have been about condos in (or at least surrounding) the area.
Known for its lavish hotels, intense shopping scene and all-out luxurious lifestyle, there is an entire range of freehold developments in the area for one to peruse.
No doubt engineered by tip-top developers, the unique characteristics and architecture that each project offers make them all a spectacle to behold.
As does the entirety of the Orchard Road area in itself.
District 9’s appreciation figures: 13.11%.
Price Movements: $2,045 average psf in January 2015 to $2,313 average psf in December 2019.
#14 – D27 (Sembawang/Yishun)
Things are now beginning to heat up in the appreciation department.
We often hear about the crazy things that are happening in the area, and perhaps more interestingly, that it was the president’s home for over 20 years.
With convenient public transport (especially in the bus department) and a variety of malls, neighbourhood shops and educational institutes that range from Primary Schools to Junior Colleges, residents in this heartland will attest to the convenience of the area.
District 27’s appreciation figures: 17%.
Price Movements: $812 average psf in January 2015 to $950 average psf in December 2019.
#13 – D11 (Newton/Novena)
Famous for its diversity (and expertise) of medical services in the area, the Newton/Novena district is one that we’ve also increasingly covered in recent times.
Considering the high demand and pockets of reserved space in this (very) central area, it would not come as a surprise if we saw a couple more developments in the area in the coming years.
Of course, appreciation rates could then look to increase past its current figure of 18.97%.
Price Movements: $1,676 average psf in January 2015 to $1,994 average psf in December 2019.
#12 – D3 (Alexandra/Commonwealth)
Those who studied in the numerous educational institutes in the area would attest to the convenience of the Alexandra/Commonwealth district.
Made famous by the Alexandra Ikea and Queensway Shopping Centre (sport fans you might recall the place), the district offers a good mix of retail, food and residential options (such as the Interlace) amidst abundant nature spaces in the south.
The AYE also serves ‘locals’ well, allowing enhanced connectivity to the core central regions.
District 27’s appreciation figures: 19.86%.
Price Movements: $1,621 average psf in January 2015 to $1,943 average psf in December 2019.
#11 – D13 (Macpherson/Potong Pasir)
If you had managed to catch the piece we wrote a couple months back on integrated developments, you’ll realise that The Poiz Residence (at Potong Pasir) was actually the 2nd worst integrated development appreciator in the whole of Singapore at that time.
Given the situation, we predicted a price rise in the near future, citing it as a great option for investment based on its then current psf of $1,388.
True enough, two back to back sales right off the end of last year and the beginning of this one averaged $1,759 psf – engineering a drastic $379 psf jump in just over a few months.
While the project’s long-term appreciation trend does remain to be seen, it has no doubt contributed to the area’s solid appreciation rate of 21.99% in the meanwhile.
Price Movements: $1,314 average psf in January 2015 to $1,603 average psf in December 2019.
#10 – D20 (Ang Mo Kio/Bishan/Thomson)
Making out way up the list, we’re officially into the Top 10 districts now.
Setting the tone is the Ang Mo Kio region, which, similar to the Yishun district (D27) we discussed earlier, has an entire offering of malls, educational institutes as well as incredible public transport convenience which is about to get a whole lot better.
In fact, with the impending Thomson-East Line/Cross Island Line (which will add 2 new MRT stations to Ang Mo Kio), and the already massively utilised central Ang Mo Kio/Bishan MRT station and bus interchange, it wouldn’t be surprising if we went on to see further appreciation in this OCR area in the near future.
District 27’s appreciation figures: 23.58%.
Price Movements: $1,306 average psf in January 2015 to $1,614 average psf in December 2019.
#9 – D5 (Buona Vista/West Coast/Clementi New Town)
District 5 and District 12 (Alexandra area) are essentially neighbours. And in that regard, they aren’t very much different from each other.
The biggest point that sets them apart is the fact that the former is classified under the Outside Central Region (OCR) category while the latter falls under Rest of Central Region (RCR).
Naturally, that means that it takes more time to get to the CBD/Central Areas from District 5, and hence the lowered average quantum. This despite the greater number of educational institutes here.
Interestingly enough however, the fact that we are seeing a better appreciation percentage of 25.02% from District 5 as compared to District 12 is testament to the very healthy demand of residential units in the area.
Price Movements: $1,227 average psf in January 2015 to $1,534 average psf in December 2019.
#8 – D14 (Eunos/Geylang/Paya Lebar)
District 14 is hands-down one of Singapore’s most popular city-fringe regions.
It is also set to see massive reconstruction in the coming years. And I’m not just talking about that Paya Lebar airbase move.
In an area where good food, amenities and familiar heritage precincts are abundant, residents here can look forward to new communal/medical facilities, recreational and commercial offerings in the near future.
It is also a relatively close drive to the East Coast Beach area, and the importance of Paya Lebar MRT’s centrality on the area’s demand should not be underestimated.
District 14’s appreciation figures: 26.52%.
Price Movements: $1,263 average psf in January 2015 to $1,598 average psf in December 2019.
#7 – D21 (Clementi Park/Upper Bukit Timah)
Unlike its glamorous partner, D10 (which we will touch on next), the Clementi Park/Upper Bukit Timah area is a tad scaled down.
For many post/existing students, the presence of Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Bukit Timah Plaza and the Beauty World/Centre food district will ring a familiar (and heartwarming) bell.
A couple of GCB clusters located along the Clementi Park area is also set to be positively impacted by the walking/cycling corridor implementation along Sunset Way.
In fact, it is highly likely that the pathways will link up with Coast-to-Coast trail and Rail Corridor – making for an incredible recreational opportunity for residents here.
District 21’s appreciation figures: 26.71%.
Price Movements: $1,172 average psf in January 2015 to $1,485 average psf in December 2019.
#6 – D10 (Tanglin/Holland/Bukit Timah)
Surprisingly enough, District 10 is the last Core Central Region (CCR) district to make the list.
A well-stocked stretch that encompasses a multitude of top-notch amenities, all three regions provide luxurious high-end living matched by almost no other district in Singapore.
With the famous Sixth-Avenue stretch along Bukit Timah as well as an entire range of top-tiered schools and fancy road-side diners in the area, it is with little surprise that residential demand here from well heeled buyers has always been high.
Add in a solid mix of seclusion and convenience in this generally freehold area.
As well as the numerous new, unique developments like the recently reviewed Sloane Residences and the British-themed Mayfair Gardens that are quickly popping up – and the region does look extremely inviting.
District 10’s appreciation figures: 29.82%.
Price Movements: $1,955 average psf in January 2015 to $2,538 average psf in December 2019.
#5 – D8 (Farrer Park/Serangoon Road)
Down to the top 5 now!
District 8 – a culturally extravagant sector that is home to some of the tastiest restaurants in Singapore (let the cravings begin).
Particular of Indian heritage, you’ll find affordable, yet highly sought-after groceries in the area. From assorted vegetables at road-side grocers to choice meats at the local Tekka market, residents are spoilt for choice in the fresh produce department.
Add in the relatively central location as well as ease of both private and public transport (stemming from that ‘new’ Downtown Line station at Little India), and it comes with little surprise that demand for property in the area is significantly high.
It’s 30.74% appreciation figure seems very well deserved.
Price Movements: $1,171 average psf in January 2015 to $1,531 average psf in December 2019.
#4 – D19 (Hougang/Punggol/Sengkang)
District 19 comes as a pleasant surprise to most.
With rapid expansion in the area, you often hear about all the new BTO flats popping up in the region, often overshadowing that of the private residential department.
Perhaps more importantly, we’ve also recently received news about the impending 50-hectare Punggol Digital District (that’s roughly 50 rugby fields) that is set to create a whopping 28,000 jobs in the digital sphere.
It’s easy access to Changi Airport (by highway) also makes it a great location for flight crew.
Finally, with the rise of its integrated development duo (WaterTown and Waterway Point) and the surrounding private residential developments, District 19’s outstanding appreciation value of 31.47% is thoroughly justified.
Price Movements: $966 average psf in January 2015 to $1,270 average psf in December 2019.
#3 – D7 (Beach Road/Bugis/Rochor)
As the final RCR district, some might say that District 7’s ranking was already cemented from the start.
In our recently covered Midtown Bay (which by the way has access to like 4 different MRT lines), we detailed the rise of the district based on the area’s proximity to the CBD as well as the increasing reconstruction interest (and successful GLS site bids) in the area.
In fact, if you were to pop into the area, you’d observe the long-standing Shaw Tower is currently undergoing refurbishment into a Grade A 35-storeyed office tower.
As a result of all this residential development construction (and the promise of greater demand), the limited number of existing residential developments in the area have naturally increased in appreciation.
The figures, an incredible 31.5% that lands it in Singapore’s top-3 appreciating districts.
This, made all the more impressive but the area’s incredibly high average quantum value.
Price Movements: $2,168 average psf in January 2015 to $2,851 average psf in December 2019.
#2 – D18 (Pasir Ris/Tampines)
If you had gone through the list from the beginning, you would have observed District 17’s ranking (#24). Yet how can neighbouring districts be so different?
One possible explanation is the extensive convenience that comes with living in District 18.
Granted, it lacks much residential unit seclusion, or even good proximity to the city centre for that matter (which naturally explains the area’s lower PSF), but there are incredible amenities in this part of town nearly unmatched by most other districts.
Not to mention, it’s proximity to both the Changi Airport and the East Coast recreation area
What’s more, with the entire Downtown East and Tampines cluster of malls at residents disposals, there is a famous saying that “those in the east never venture out of their homes”.
Add in the recently implemented Downtown Line stations, upcoming Pasir Ris Water Fab Park (contributing to increased jobs) as well as Circle Line stations, and District 18 does look like one hell of a district that is about to get a whole lot better.
It comes in at second place with a staggering 32.66% appreciation score.
Price Movements: $888 average psf in January 2015 to $1,178 average psf in December 2019.
#1 – D28 (Seletar/Yio Chu Kang)
This one will come as a massive shocker to most.
But before going into it, there is one extremely interesting tidbit that I observed (and just had to share).
Now it’s no secret that the Chinese love their 8s.
And if you were to look at the January 2015 psfs for the district we just covered, it states $888 psf.
And in a slightly bewildering moment, what was the psf of this district back then? Also $888 psf.
That’s not all! The sharp-eyed might have already noticed that both Districts 18 (#2) and Districts 28 (#1) too, have ‘8’s in them. And if that wasn’t enough, District 8 also ranks in the Top 5!
Talk about luck (and conspiracies…)!
Putting all those slightly crazy points aside however, there is surprisingly almost no news about District 28 on the 2019 Masterplan.
Perhaps the biggest pull from the Seletar area comes from its serenity.
With lush spaces and numerous nature offerings (think the entire Upper/Lower Seletar Reservoir area), as well as numerous country clubs like Seletar Base and Seletar Country Club Golf Course (no doubt stemming from the green spaces), it is easy to see both the appeal and potential of the place.
On the other hand, Yio Chu Kang offers itself as a distinct comparison with its convenient bus interchange, public sports facility megahub and numerous well-ranked schools in the area (ranging from primary to tertiary).
Prices in District 28 was the 2nd lowest in all the district backs in January 2015 at $888 psf.
But with an outrageous 48.31% climb in half a decade, it now charts at $1,317 psf, making it the undisputed highest appreciator in all of Singapore’s districts.
- High appreciation in places with promising developments
This one’s a no-brainer.
Demand (and hence prices) begin to rise for districts with new impending infrastructure, or even plenty of open, undeveloped space for that matter (the Seletar-half of D28 comes to mind).
Yet it’s not just any infrastructure that contributes to possible appreciation uptrends. Some of the bigger ‘amenities’ would include:
- Public Transport Offerings (MRT/Bus Stations)
- Massive Employment Generators (Eg. Punggol Digital District)
- Upgrade to Communal/Medical Facilities (Clinics, Community Clubs etc.)
Basically, an increase in convenience or a successful alteration/upgrade to an existing district favourite.
Naturally, the impact of these amenities on demand will also differ from locale to locale, depending on its necessity and ‘population life-enhancement’ value.
- Buying into high quantum districts could result in high gain/loss
As evident in Districts 2 (#25) and 7 (#3), we see how increased quantums mean more drastic differences in appreciation percentages.
To illustrate, a 10% increase in a 3,000 psf district would leave us at 3,300 psf. Assuming we purchase a 1,000 square foot unit, that equals to a jump from 3 million to 3.3 million dollars.
On the other hand, a 10% increase in a 1,000 psf district in a similar-sized unit would equal to a price rise from 1 million to 1.1 million dollars.
That’s a $200,000 difference.
Naturally, those who buy into ‘high quantumed districts’ usually have higher budgets and capitals to begin with, but as the saying goes “a little goes a long way”.
In crux, don’t just look at the percentages, it is also important to look at the actual overall quantum in a particular development to determine the monetary extent of your gains/losses.
- Be wary of the high appreciators
The first thing that many people do is rush into buying developments in ‘good appreciation trend’ districts.
Now chances are, if everyone is buying units in these areas, you might already be too late. So before you join the crowd, here are a number of factors to consider:
- What is the ‘cause of appreciation’ in this district – Is it a singular limiting factor or a multitude of reasons with long-standing, widespread impact?
- At what stage is the demand/appreciation trend at – If the district has been rapidly appreciating for the past 5 years and demand is much lower now, maybe think twice about getting good appreciation returns if you enter the district’s market now.
- How many people have already got there before you – Depending on the above factors, demand can get filled very quickly. With price dips a common phenomenon after an initial price index hike, entering/exiting at the right time is always pivotal.
As you can see, these are just some of the factors you should consider when looking into a high appreciation district for the sake of increased appreciation gains.
In essence, invest very carefully in these scenarios only after getting a sufficient amount of experienced advice.
- Exiting at the right point
This final point emphasises on the constant fluctuations of price trends in the real estate market.
Hold on to a unit for too long, prices dip and you’ll find yourself waiting for the entire cycle to repeat. Sometimes they never do.
Sell a unit too quickly and you’ll be kicking yourself for not holding on to it for a tad longer.
We’ll avoid going too in-depth into price trends for now, but here are some tips that will help those looking to ‘flip’ their current/future properties for maximum appreciation value.
A. Beat the ‘Endowment’ Effect
If you haven’t already heard about it, the ‘endowment effect’ is a common scenario in which someone refuses to part with any of his/her possessions due to emotional bias.
An incredibly valuable trade might be on the cards, but due to emotional attachment, the trade is almost never made.
If you are looking for maximum appreciation from a unit, don’t be prey to it. Understand that the time has come to sell of your property and make the necessary arrangements.
Understand your priorities and look forward to new adventures and brighter prospects.
B. Plan Your Strategy in Advance, be Prepared For Change
As the famous saying goes – ‘If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.’
Speak with people you trust.
Professionals or individuals who have had experience in the field. Whether your strategy is then selling your unit immediately upon SSD, or renting the unit out for a few years before a resale move, have it all planned even before you make your purchase.
Of course, it isn’t the easiest thing, so note that this resonates mainly for those who are serious about gaining monetary value from the real estate market.
Now the markets’ unpredictably often results in unforeseen opportunities/circumstances popping up along the way. Life might also throw you a curve ball in the meantime.
At such points, it is important to re-evaluate if you can still work with the plan, or if minor/major adjustments should be made to your exit strategy.
It won’t guarantee you complete success, but it sure as hell reduces the failure-rate come crunch-time.
At the end of the day, there are a lot of existing and potential factors that go into determining appreciation trends.
We’ve also seen both overnight millionaires and overnight bankruptcies in the past.
Based off the unlikely latter scenario, it is therefore important to ascertain your budget/means before taking the plunge. Are you able to part with this amount of money if everything goes to sh*t?
Based on that, you can then work your way into which districts will best suit your current capital/income levels.
Only then, does the real fun begin. Countless condo visits, zoomed-in district analysis, price trend mind maps… the list goes on.
In essence, source within your budget, plan wisely, be prepared for changes and then go make one hell of a mark.
On that final note, I’ll leave you with a list of the 3 most affordable/exorbitant districts based off the statistics.
Till the next one!
Bonus: Top 3 Most/Least Expensive Districts
|District||Previous PSF (Jan 2015)||Current PSF (Dec 2019)|
|25||$779 psf||$829 psf|
|27||$812 psf||$950 psf|
|22||$1,010 psf||$994 psf|
|2||$2,642 psf||$2,380 psf|
|7||$1,955 psf||$2,538 psf|
|10||$2,168 psf||$2,851 psf|