Friday, July 17, 2009

Have Train, Will Reside

Source : The Straits Times, July 17 2009

Looking for flats with high resale value and rental potential? Check out these key considerations.

It doesn’t matter if you’re black or white. And it doesn’t matter if you reside in Neverland or Disneyland. (You probably won’t need to worry about property/financial issues if you own just a fraction of said places; but that’s another story.) As long as you’re based in Singapore, you should instead be asking this question when it comes to acquiring a house: is your dream abode located close to an MRT?

• The reason for this is because there is generally a greater demand for homes near MRTs & LRTs. These apartments can respectively cost five and 20 per cent more than those that are 15 minutes’ walk away.

• The price also goes up by another 5 per cent if the flat is located near interchange MRT stations that serve more than one line, such as Bishan MRT that serve the North-South and North-East directions (via the Circle Line). Units at the estate usually command the biggest premium as residents are paying more for the convenience, accessibility and shorter travelling time.

• In addition, when it comes to selling these units when the property market is soft, they will fetch a higher price as compared to those situated in outlying areas. The same applies to the rental market. A good location means that the value of the place will hold better in the long run.

But on the other hand, there are others who feel that such premiums are overrated.

• While some believe that living near an LRT is akin to living near a feeder bus stop and that as more stations are built; there could be a downward effect that balances out the premium and not all home-seekers will be keen to pay the extra sum after all.

• And for those who value quality of life, the construction of an MRT station – with dust, noise, detours and all - could take a few good years to complete. These people may not view the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow as an incentive if they have to face numerous storms prior.

It all boils down to what you value in a property.

The MRT aside, there are also other factors one should consider before putting down that deposit for a flat:

• Choose a higher floor. They are easier to sell because it's windier and usually has a better view.

• Avoid the afternoon sun. No matter what they say about how certain glass can reflect heat, the heat will still get into the flat.

• Look out for amenities nearby, such as markets, shops and schools.

• Choose a flat near the city or in a more matured estate. The premium for a location near Ang Mo Kio or Toa Payoh could outset one that’s near an MRT but in a far-flung area such as Boon Lay.

Use these points as a guide when you embark on your home search trail and may you locate your very own Neverland or Disneyland right here in Singapore.

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