Properties in the OCR. Where is it headed?
With all the spotlight on RCR properties, property owners in the OCR must be wondering what would become of their properties. Here’s what Propertyguru has to say about that.
Outside Central Region shows great promise
Infrastructural developments and improved amenities over the past decade have brought about staggering upside to homes in the Outside Central Region (OCR), the largest and outermost region in Singapore. Comparing Q3 2019 to Q1 2010, the OCR has seen an 84 percent increase in median psf transaction prices for private homes (Figure 3a), beating RCR and CCR growth in percentage terms.
Value-wise, that is not to say the proverbial ship has sailed for the OCR. The region is still developing, with new neighbourhoods and towns such as Canberra and Tengah being built along with expanding estates such as Tampines, Yishun and Sengkang, where amenities are added and upgraded as their populations increase.
“The exemplary planning by Singapore authorities does not discriminate between regions,” said Tee Khoon. “The Cross Island Line, the Punggol Digital District and Woodlands Regional Centre are just some of the big projects to benefit OCR residents in the coming years and will contribute significantly to value upside for property.”
With the government’s plans, certain locations within the OCR may also see new rental demand. Aside from jobs being created in hubs such as the Punggol Digital District, rental demand may also spring from new MRT lines that give prospective tenants more options in terms of where to live. “With the new Thomson-East Coast Line line, for instance, previously inaccessible areas like Springleaf in the north could appeal to expats,” Tee Khoon added.
In the OCR, the perks are not solely limited to investment upside from growth plans and improved connectivity. Encouraged by government policies and incentives as well as more spacious land plots in the OCR, developers have greater room to furnish innovative ideas and concepts for modern and sustainable ways of living that stand out from the rest. Bayshore, Lentor and Woodlands North are all yet to-be-developed locations where this could happen, according to the latest URA Master Plan.
Will the North regain lost ground?
“Slowly but surely” might be the best way to describe the developments that are gathering pace at District 25, the northernmost district in Singapore. In terms of price growth, PropertyGuru data shows that median psf asking prices for this district declined from S$839 psf in Q4 2016 to S$777 in Q3 2019, a fall of 7 percent in the span of three years. While this could suggest weak demand for private properties up north, the lack of recent developments in the area remains a primary contributing factor.
This could be set to change, as plans to transform the northern region are implemented with the opening of two new MRT stations in Woodlands towards the end of 2019. This will kickstart a series of developments: a new regional centre and the terminus of the Singapore-Johor Bahru Rapid Transit System (RTS) that will provide a smoother connection to Johor Bahru in Malaysia than the Causeway currently allows.
While the RTS could increase the appeal of living in and around Woodlands, the presence of the rail link on its own may not necessarily reverse the direction of asking prices in the area, which has seen four consecutive quarters of decrease starting from Q4 2018.
Of greater consequence will be the completion of the TEL, which will run to the city by 2021 and reduce travel time to the CBD by 15 minutes or more.
In the longer term, property value upside would depend heavily on the success of Woodlands Regional Centre, a 100-hectare commercial hub that the government hopes to complete within the next 15 years. If all goes to plan, the ‘far north’ will be transformed into a thriving business and lifestyle node with 10,000 new homes, pulling in new residents and likely pushing property value northwards.