In case you missed it, you might be familiar with the news on how our train network is set to expand even further in the next few years, with the addition of two new train lines: the Jurong Region Line which is set to open sometime between 2027 and 2029, and the Cross Island Line (CRL) from 2029 onwards.
When fully opened, the latter will somewhat mimic the current East-West Line in a bid to ease its current commuter load, by connecting places like Jurong in the West and Changi in the East.
Given how there’s always a constant need for more public housing to meet the needs of Singapore’s growing population, it’ll be safe to say that there’ll be more housing projects lined up in tandem with the development of the CRL.
This has got us wondering – when the CRL is eventually built, would there be new BTOs built along the line? And how will it impact current HDBs already in the vicinity? Join us as we take a deeper dive into the CRL and 4 possible locations of future BTOs for us to KIV.
Everything we know about Phase 1 of the Cross Island Line (CRL)
Broadly, the CRL will span across Singapore, connecting the Western and Eastern regions. While the full details of the line – such as what stations the line will consist of and where they will be – have yet to be fully confirmed, the LTA has since confirmed the first 12 stations of the Cross Region Line to be built under Phase 1.
According to the LTA, Phase 1 of the CRL will comprise 12 stations, starting with Aviation Park near Changi Airport and ending with Bright Hill, which is next to Ang Mo Kio-Bishan Park and where the existing Thomson-East Coast Line station is. Construction of Phase 1 has already begun, and is expected to be completed by 2030. Oh, and did we mention that the line will be entirely underground?
Image credit: LTA
Looking at the confirmed Phase 1 stations, we’d have to say that there’s nothing much to shout about, at least in terms of possible new public housing projects.
If anything, the building of the CRL would would mean more connectivity for the areas involved; for instance, getting from Pasir Ris to Punggol would be a short 3-station ride away, which is quite unlike the current situation where you’d have to spend at least half an hour’s travel time.
As we all know, greater connectivity usually means better price appreciation of properties that would benefit from the new line, and so that’ll be good news for those currently owning a home in the areas that Phase 1 of the CRL covers.
Image credit: MyNiceHome
Most, if not all, of the current stations are already home to numerous HDB blocks that have been there for some time, such as in the mature estates of Ang Mo Kio, Serangoon and Pasir Ris.
Even for non-mature estates like Hougang and Punggol, there are already a decent number of HDBs in the area with little nearby spaces for more developments. Places like Tavistock and Loyang are also home to various landed property estates.As such, it’s almost slim pickings in terms of possible future BTO sites, save for ‘newer’ places like Tampines North and Defu. We already know that a new EC will be launching at Tampines North sometime this year, and so there’s a possibility that there will be new BTOs coming up in the area as well.
Places to KIV for Phase 1: Tampines North, Defu, Riviera
What will Phase 2 look like?
Now that we’ve got Phase 1 out of the way, we can’t help but wonder what Phase 2 will look like.
Image credit: SGTrains
While the exact details of Phase 2 have yet to be released, we can speculate on a few possible estates/areas that would play host to new HDB projects in the future, based on the availability of land in the surrounding areas that the line is planned to run through.
1. Eng Neo
Looking at the tentative CRL map, one of the likeliest areas that will host a Phase 2 station would be somewhere near Eng Neo Avenue, which is just slightly south of the Central Water Catchment area.
If you’re familiar with the area, you might recognise it as the place where Turf City currently sits. The area is a huge piece of land which plays host to several sports fields, as well as tennis courts, a go-cart arena and the retail complex, The Grandstand.
Image credit: Sea State Blog
We also know that the lease at Turf City is set to expire by end 2023, after which, the URA plans to develop the area into a residential hub. Tunnelling works are also scheduled for the area for the CRL, and so there’s a pretty good chance that there will be a CRL station here.
As such, there will likely be some BTO launches in the area; though, given that it is prime land, it’ll mean that any HDB developments will fall under the Prime Land Housing (PLH) model. Nevertheless, it is a fantastic and central location to live in, and you can bet that any BTO announcement here will be met with overwhelming interest.
Image adapted from: Google Maps
Another area that lines up nicely with the tentative CRL plan is Maju, which sits along Clementi Road, just opposite from places like SUSS, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, and Maju Camp. Right now there’s nothing much in the area other than Clementi forest, which has been quite popular with Singaporeans in recent months.
Image credit: The Smart Local
Our guess is that some, if not all, of the existing forest will be cleared to make way for a future CRL station, alongside some residential development in the form of BTOs. The area is fairly well connected with the major Bukit Timah Road nearby and the PIE just a short drive away, and so it would be somewhat of a waste not to have some form of residential development there.
3. West Coast/Teban/Science Centre
Looking at the tentative CRL plan, one other possible station would be the forested area along the AYE, and just slightly South of where the current Science Centre is. Interestingly, there is already a Jurong Town Hall MRT station planned for the Jurong Region Line, and so there is a possibility that it’ll be an interchange for the CRL.
Image adapted from: Google Maps
Given that the entire vicinity is home to an industrial estate, having residential development like HDBs might make sense, especially since it’ll mean relatively healthy demand from those working in the immediate area, or slightly further out in other industrial estates like Jurong Island and along Penjuru Road. In fact, having HDBs in close proximity to industrial estates aren’t all that uncommon, especially in places like Ubi, Yishun and Marsiling.
That being said, we expect prices of possible BTOs in the area to trend lower compared to other estates around Singapore. This is because homebuyers would probably not want to live too close to industrial estates for a variety of reasons (e.g. perceived danger of industrial factories/warehouses, limited upside in price appreciation), and so any HDB BTOs in the area would not see as high demand as other more popular locations.
One likely station that will feature on the CRL is Clementi, which is already an existing line along the East-West Line. The estate is quite well built up, with plentiful HDBs all around and the major shopping mall of Clementi Mall next to the MRT.
Image credit: Remember Singapore
One interesting thing to note is that three HDB blocks just across the road from Clementi MRT – blocks 321, 322 and 323 – were chosen to go en-bloc back in 2011. From what we know, residents have already moved out, and the area is sort of an empty shell right now.
Based on this, it’s highly likely that these blocks will eventually be torn down, and replaced with a CRL station with an underpass leading to the existing Clementi station.
Will there be future HDB BTOs in the area? Possibly, at where the current site is. However, given that the land area would have to serve both a CRL station and residential development, it’ll probably be a fairly limited offering of maybe 1-2 blocks.
HDBs along the future Cross Island Line
Given that Phase 1 of the Cross Island Line is only expected to be completed by 2030, it’ll be safe to say that there will be quite a bit of ways before the entirety of the line will be up, possibly by late 2030s or even past 2040. Plus, you have to note that this is just for the construction of the line; other future developments in the area might take even longer to build.
Nevertheless, it’s fun to speculate and see how the CRL will influence plans for future HDB BTOs in the vicinity, and in the meantime we can only speculate where Singapore’s eight MRT stations will be located.