We’ve seen people pull out all the stops to get units on the 8th floor – the luckiest number in Chinese culture – and curse when the only units available for selection are located on the 4th, a floor people consider unlucky because the number sounds like death.
Beyond the superstitions, there are actual perks that come with the high life. This being said, we cannot completely rule out the low-floor units and the benefits they come with. We delve into the pros and cons of staying in a high and low-floor unit to help you with your decision.
Ventilation & breeze
Image credit: @easylife_hdb
Ask those living 15-storeys and up, and they’ll tell you that strong winds are an every day – and sometimes, all-day – occurrence. Simple physics tells us that the higher you go, the stronger the wind current. Why? Less friction with things like buildings to break wind speed.
Aside from view, this is one of the main reasons why many covet a high-floor unit as it also means the sparing use of your A/C units and good ventilation removing musty smells and the possibility of mould.
But because you’re so high up, you’re also subjected to the unrelenting heat of the sun with no shade. Heat can get trapped in the walls and ceilings making your home hot and stuffy, with top-floor units taking the brunt of it all, so expect a warmer home in general.
On the flipside, while low floors don’t get the same wind, poor ventilation can be mitigated by choosing a unit that has relatively unblocked surroundings. There’s also ample shade from morning and afternoon sun so you’ll enjoy a cooler unit all round.
Image credit: @phoenix.captures
There is a general misconception that higher floors receive better air quality. It was found that there is actually no clear benefit of living higher up and PM2.5 levels might actually be higher. This might be a factor to consider especially if you have young kids at home, or breathing difficulties when it comes to the haze season.
Privacy and noise levels
High floors definitely have more benefits when it comes to privacy and reduced noise levels. Being further away from the ground means being away from common areas like playgrounds and void decks.
Children playing at the playground or neighbours catching up at the void decks might be a heartwarming sight but can get annoying when you can hear the screams and chatter in surround sound in your own home.
Living near an expressway or overhead MRT tracks is definitely convenient but this also means more noise and air pollution especially on the lower floors. Units on the higher floors are better shielded from kaypoh bypassers peeking in from neighbouring multi-storey car parks, MRTs or from the ground level.
Image credit: TheSmartLocal
In a city as efficient as Singapore, it’s hard to imagine lift breakdowns, but a well-maintained lift can still experience an average 0.5-2 breakdowns a year. And we’ve yet to factor in the downtime that comes with routine maintenance checks.
Although lift breakdowns are not an everyday occurrence, longer waiting times for the lift might be a pain and it’s impossible to take the stairs up to your higher floored unit, especially if your HDB block has over 40 storeys like Skyville@Dawson.
Living on lower floors can be more convenient going up and down the stairs in case of lift breakdowns or even fires, especially if you have elderly or young children living with you.
3. Other considerations
Image credit: Laurent Langlais
Although it seems like something your elders would buy into, there are still many who hold firm and make it a point to design their homes according to the rules of Feng Shui in hopes that wealth will come their way.
Apart from the usual criteria such as block facing, kitchen and master bedroom facing, those who are more pantang would benefit from visiting a feng shui master to determine if you’re more suited for ground energy (present in lower units) or heaven energy (present in higher units).
Bugs and pests
Image credit: TheSmartLocal
Dealing with bugs and pests in your home is inevitable, even if you live way up on the higher floors. With that said, lower units closer to the ground are notoriously known for being more prone to pests such as rats, cockroaches and lizards since they can easily climb up to your house.
If your unit is located near the communal rubbish chute or if you have a chute within your flat, there might also be an increased chance of these pests making their way into your homes – especially when it’s fumigation season.
Amazingly, these pesky creatures can still somehow find their way up even if your flat is 20 storeys from the ground.
So ultimately, keeping pests and bugs out of your home is very much a case of personal home hygiene and cleanliness. Clutter can attract cockroaches and provide them with a nice little hiding and breeding spot, just as food and nearby potted plants can attract lizards, rats and other insects.
Image credit: TheSmartLocal
A simple search on sites like PropertyGuru and SRX will show you price trends from the sale of units in the same block but on different floors. You might find a trend of cheaper lower-floor units regardless of the location and size.
Ventilation, better view and privacy, as this list has mentioned, are the reasons most owners tout for setting a premium over other units.
The prices for lower and higher floor units can differ depending on whether it’s a resale flat or BTO, but the difference for a new BTO can range between $3,000 to $7,000 for each increment in floor.
A 3-bedroom resale unit in Ang Mo Kio sold for $435,000 for a fourth floor unit, while a 22nd floor unit commanded $620,000. That’s a whopping difference of $185,000 for a higher level unit with the exact same floor size, block and number of bedrooms.
Throw in selling points like a sea view and you can slap on roughly $100,000 on top of the average asking price of units in the area, and you might still get more than willing takers.
Although higher units seem better, especially for investment, that’s not to say that all low-lying units are terrible choices. Choose the right block, floor and facing, and you’ll be treated to views of lush scenery – in some areas, you might even spot exotic birds outside your windows.
High floor or low floor HDB flats – which should you choose?
High-floor units might have cinched the overall win here thanks to the fact that they make better investments and come with increased ventilation, better Feng Shui and views. However, lower-floor units also have their own sets of perks and conveniences.
At the end of the day, it boils down to what you’re looking for in a home and this list should help you narrow down your options if floor number is a concern.
Cover image credit: @ourslowhouse, @phoenix.captures, Laurent Langlais
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