Earlier this month, the Housing and Development Board (HDB) announced its masterplan for Tengah, the 24th HDB town in Singapore. Presently, Tengah is a forested area with barely any semblance to a residential estate but HDB has extensive plans for the new town.

Tengah, roughly the size of Bishan, is expected to provide 42,000 homes, of which about 30,000 units will be public housing and 12,000 will be private residences. It will be the first HDB town to incorporate smart technologies on a town-wide basis from the planning stage.

In the planning stage, the HDB will utilise Urban Microclimate Multi-physics Integrated Simulation to model real-life conditions in Tengah town.

Planners will be able to configure building layouts and orientations to optimise wind flow. With this system, greenery can also be introduced in areas with higher ambient heat so as to create a cooler living environment.

On a more micro level, smart lighting in common areas, energy-saving regenerative lifts and the Pneumatic Waste Conveyance System (PWCS) are technologies that will help to create a greener living environment in Tengah. The PWCS automates the entire waste collection and management process, removing the need for human labour. It will also monitor residents’ waste disposal patterns to optimise resources for waste collection.

Keeping to its “Forest Town” theme, Tengah will have a car-free town centre, a forest corridor and a Central Park. The town centre is designed to be pedestrian friendly, with motor vehicles travelling underneath it.

The forest corridor will be a habitat to many species of trees and residents will be able to enjoy its hiking trails. The Central Park, to occupy about 20ha, will be the centrepiece of the greenery in Tengah, offering residents a spot to relax and enjoy various recreational activities.

Transport infrastructure will also be built, with the town to be served by an MRT station on the Jurong Region Line, which connects Tengah with the major commercial clusters in Jurong Gateway and Boon Lay. Buses will also ply Tengah, with most bus stops located within 300m of homes.

With the first batch of HDB flats in Tengah targeted for launch in 2018, it remains to be seen whether the new town will be popular with buyers, as many may consider it too far flung. However, we can look to past towns planned and built by the HDB to get a sense of things to come.

In particular, we make a comparison to Punggol, the previous new town planned by the HDB. Similar to Tengah, Punggol was largely undeveloped and at that time thought to be too far from the city centre.

Detailed plans for Punggol were only announced during the National Day Rally in 2007 by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Since then, Punggol has become a bustling town, with more than 35,000 HDB flats completed and another 14,000 under construction.. Its major mall, Waterway Point, opened earlier this year and is home to retailers such as H&M, Uniqlo and Laneige. Travelling within Punggol is easy with the LRT system and convenient bus services. Inter-town travel is also convenient, as Punggol MRT Station is on the North East Line that connects it to places such as Dhoby Ghaut and HarbourFront.

As a result of these developments, properties in Punggol have become increasingly sought after.. In the most recent sales launch of new HDB flats in Punggol, there were 6,254 applicants vying for 2,715 units. This was despite the units not being near Punggol MRT Station and the town centre.

Median resale prices of HDB flats in Punggol have also increased from S$252,500 (four-room) and S$307,000 (five-room) in the second quarter of 2007, to S$445,000 (four-room) and S$450,000 (five-room) in the second quarter of this year. In particular, prices of four-room HDB resale flats in Punggol are higher than those in estates such as Jurong East and West, Tampines, Serangoon and Bedok, reflecting the popularity of Punggol.

Tengah could go through a similar journey.

Residents of Tengah will be well-placed to ride the wave of development in the western region of Singapore. With its strategic location just beside the Jurong Innovation District, Tengah is expected to enjoy strong housing demand. The first residents are likely to be those moving in from the neighbouring towns of Bukit Batok and Choa Chu Kang, as they are most familiar with the area.

Given Tengah’s location in the north-west and the perceived relative lack of amenities in the early stage of town development, the new flats are expected to be priced affordably. This will be attractive to young couples looking to buy their first home.

Tengah is definitely a town with significant potential for capital appreciation in the long run.

Adapted from: TODAY, 23 September 2016

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