We all know that the URA is responsible for the development of Singapore’s built environment, not just in the day-to-today affairs but also long-term planning of Singapore’s infrastructure to support its citizens.
The Master Plan plots the use of the very scarce resource here in Singapore. Broadly, the plan covers aspects like the formation of new estates, transformation of existing ones, and possibly even how Singapore will create new land space to accommodate its growing population. It’s also reviewed every 5 years to account for unforeseen circumstances and changes.
With that said, we take a deep dive into the latest edition of the URA Master Plan, and highlight 7 key plans for Singapore in the next 10 years that’ll affect how future potential homebuyers approach property purchases.
About the URA’s Master Plan 2019
Before we go into the highlights, let’s get up to speed on what the current URA Master Plan entails.
From what we know, the Master Plan was last gazetted in 2019. In essence, its strategy was to ensure that our sunny Singapore would promote inclusivity and sustainability, and that everyone young and old would be able to enjoy a wide range of community spaces and amenities.
We all know that our population has been steadily increasing over the years, and so the plan is also to create more capacity to meet the needs of the rising population.
Image adapted from: URA
There are 5 key themes of MP19:
- Liveable and Inclusive Communities
- Rejuvenating Familiar Places
- Convenient and Sustainable Mobility
- Local Hubs, Global Gateways
- A Sustainable and Resilient City of the Future
There are very detailed elaborations on the plans for most, if not all, of the regions around Singapore, which you can read more about on the URA’s website. We’ve crunched the information into 7 key plans that we think future homebuyers will be interested in.
1. Development of new estate Tengah
Image credit: HDB
One of the most exciting plans for the redevelopment of the Western region of Singapore has to be the establishment of a new estate – Tengah. Set to be the model for smart and sustainable living, Tengah Town is envisioned to be the first-ever estate that integrates smart technologies with greenery. Basically, exactly what a Garden City would be.
Other than the usual features that all estates would have such as retail and dining amenities, one other interesting highlight of Tengah is a “100m-wide, 5km-long Forest Corridor, forming part of a larger ecological pathway connecting the Western and Central Catchment Areas”.
This will certainly provide hiking buffs or even just Tengah residents in general a great avenue to unwind and relax on the weekends, amidst all the flora and fauna. Of course, right now there’s nothing much other than greenery, space, and construction sites.
Image adapted from: Google Maps
However, in a couple of years time, we’re sure Tengah will be a pretty lively estate teeming with activity. The entire Tengah Town will be divided into 5 districts: Plantation, Garden, Park, Brickland and Forest Hill. And don’t let the uluness dissuade you – there’ll be a brand new Jurong Region Line to connect places like Tengah with the rest of the West like Jurong.
In terms of housing, we already know that there have been projects which were announced and launched. For instance, earlier this year during the February 2022 BTO exercise, approximately 1,270 units were launched for Tengah Garden Avenue and Tengah Drive.
There will definitely be more BTOs in the pipeline as well, so keep your eyes peeled for any announcements. There will also be a brand new EC called Tengah Garden Residences, which will be launched later this year.
Overall, Tengah will feature an estimated 42,000 new homes, comprising 30,000 units for public housing, and 12,000 units for private housing. Remember how new-ish estates like Punggol first started out? We’re sure that in the years to come, Tengah will be transformed into a bustling and vibrant estate just like what Punggol is right now.
2. New residential and industrial district in the East
For those “East Coast, Best Coast” advocates, there are also exciting plans in store for you.
Image credit: @ek7sg
In particular, there will be a new housing precinct located along East Coast Park, called Bayshore. Ironically, it’s not really a new name; there are existing private condominiums in the area, such as The Bayshore and Bayshore Park, which have been around since 1999.
Image credit: URA
According to the Master Plan, this entire area will be redeveloped to host a suite of residential properties, alongside amenities and green spaces. Of course, the key highlight of the precinct has to be its proximity to East Coast Park, granting residents the luxury of having great views, refreshing sea breeze, and a great horizon to catch sunrise every day. There will also be 2 new MRT stations – Bayshore and Bedok South – which will serve the area, as part of the Thomson-East Coast Line.
While there has yet to be any formal announcements on what type of housing we’ll see in the Bayshore – Upper Changi area, we’re sure that there will be several BTO launches in the vicinity eventually.
If current property prices of similar estates like Marine Parade are anything to go by, expect these BTO launches to be red-hot, and priced on the upper bracket of HDB BTOs. As for private housing, we’d say that it’ll be unlikely that there will be landed property in the area since it wouldn’t be efficient use of the land, and so we’re more likely to expect ECs or private condos.
3. Redevelopment of Paya Lebar
If you caught PM Lee’s National Day Rally recently, you’ll know that he went into quite a bit of detail regarding the transformation of Paya Lebar.
Image adapted from: Prime Minister’s Office, Singapore
By now, you should know that come 2030, the current Paya Lebar Air Base will be relocated elsewhere, and the entire area will be redeveloped into a new Paya Lebar town. While exact details have yet to be confirmed, PM Lee suggested that the existing runway – all 3.8km of it – could serve as the new estate’s ‘spine’, with residential and commercial properties to be built along it.
One other interesting point about the runway is that it was built in alignment with the current direction of prevailing winds, so that planes can takeoff and land while avoiding crosswinds. In his speech, PM Lee noted that if the new Paya Lebar 2.0 could be built in the same orientation along this central spine, it would make the town more breezy and cool, and hopefully residents would rely less on air conditioning.
Notwithstanding all these transformation plans, the URA is keen to retain the area’s rich aviation history, because it is quintessentially the heart and soul of Paya Lebar. As such, they are exploring how elements of Paya Lebar Air Base, such as the buildings and parts of the runway, can be repurposed to retain the memories and identity of the place.
Image credit: URA
So, what would the redevelopment of Paya Lebar Air Base mean for future homebuyers?
For one, it’ll mean more homes. In fact, there would be up to 150,000 new public and private homes built in the area, amongst a mix of commercial spaces and offices. And not just any ordinary homes, but homes in a pretty much prime central location in Singapore that many would want.
With the air base being relocated, this would also mean that developments in the area as well as surrounding estates like Punggol, Tampines and Hougang can now be built higher, now that height restrictions no longer exist.
To a lesser degree, those staying in these surrounding estates would also probably be rejoicing at the news, since they wouldn’t have to contend with the noise generated from the Air Force’s planes in the future. Perhaps this would also factor in the assessment of property prices?
In the future, you can also expect prices of existing properties in the vicinity to appreciate fairly decently, as a result of the transformation. Not only that, but there is also the possibility of a future en-bloc for existing properties that are currently older than 25-30 years old. Certainly a big plus for current and future property owners.
4. Waterfront living at Greater Southern Waterfront
Another area that the government is keen to transform in the future is the Greater Southern Waterfront (GSW), which stretches from Pasir Panjang to Marina East. This also includes the planned redevelopment of our ports in the Pasir Panjang/Tuas region.
Image credit: URA
According to the URA, the area will be rejuvenated into “a new major gateway and location for urban living along Singapore’s southern coast”. There will be several phases to this transformation, the first of which being the former Pasir Panjang Power District, Keppel Club and Mount Faber over the next 5-10 years.
One exciting bit of news earlier this year that we’re sure was met with much anticipation and excitement was the announcement that there would be the first ever HDB BTOs in the current Keppel Club site. There will be over 6,000 BTO flats, and the first site is expected to be launched in about 3 years’ time.
Progressively, there will also be an additional 3,000 residential properties added to the area, though they would likely be private housing. Nevertheless, make no mistake that the GSW will be a very popular option for future homebuyers, especially since it’ll mean having a home in a prime central location with amazing connectivity to the city as well as enjoying the luxury of waterfront living.
Speaking of Marina East, the Master Plan also details that there will be over 9,000 new homes built next to Gardens by the Bay, as part of a new hybrid housing and recreational precinct. From what we know, this new neighbourhood is envisioned to be car-lite and pedestrian-friendly, which is aligned to the spirit of the sprawling greenery of Gardens by the Bay.
As for its hybrid nature, there will be retail and community spaces on street level coupled with residential spaces on the higher floors. This is a model that has proven success in other estates like Punggol and Yishun, and so promises for a very lively and energetic precinct.
All in all, the GSW is envisioned to be a vibrant and thriving district, with not just residential properties but also with commercial and lifestyle outlets. We’re sure that prices of housing will be quite high, and definitely oversubscribed to the moon. Will we see the most expensive BTOs ever? Possibly, but till then we can only wait with baited breath.
5. New residential and industrial district in the East
Image credit: URA
Another planned transformation of the East Region of Singapore will be the further transformation of Tampines South, which complements the existing development of Tampines North that has seen quite a number of new HDBs and even ECs launched.
Because there have been little to no details about how this redevelopment will look like, we can only take an educated guess on where these new HDB projects will be located. Looking at Google Maps, we suspect that the new Tampines South HDBs will be located somewhere near the existing SAFRA Tampines area where there is a fair bit of unused land, bordering Bedok Reservoir Road. Currently, it’s also where a few industrial buildings and warehouses are located.
Image adapted from: Google Maps
Looking at the possible site(s) for future HDBs, our take is that any new BTO offerings will be fairly small in number, only because of the limited land area that the projects can be built on. Even though it will probably be situated close to the Tampines West MRT station and also along the main Bedok Reservoir Road which will be good for those driving or taking public transport.
6. Punggol Digital District
Just about 15 years ago, Punggol was a relatively ulu distinct with nothing much other than some farms and a whole lot of land.
Fast forward to the present, and Punggol today is a vibrant and energetic town, with many young families having moved in over the years as well as commercial and lifestyle amenities such as the Waterway Point shopping mall and SAFRA Punggol having sprouted. Furthermore, new additions such as the upcoming integrated community hub One Punggol and Northshore Plaza have proven that Punggol is the place to be, especially if you’re a young couple hoping to start a family in the next few years.
Image credit: One Punggol
Given that there is still quite a bit of room for Punggol to grow, the Master Plan outlined that the young estate is set to transform into the Punggol Digital District (PDD); being a smart estate that incorporates both technology and innovation into its design and built environment,
According to the URA, the PDD will not just house the key growth industries of the digital economy like cybersecurity and digital technology, but will also be an inclusive and green lifestyle destination for the surrounding community. On the whole, the estate is set to be:
- A community playground and green heart for all residents of Punggol
- A car-lite precinct that allows everyone to travel with ease
- A vibrant economic and learning hub
- A pilot Enterprise District with shared spaces between industry and academic
In terms of housing options, Punggol is no surprise to many of us. We’ve seen quite a number of BTOs and condos launched over the past few years, with many more set to come. Because Punggol is still a relatively young and thus non-mature estate, expect prices of property to be reasonably priced and affordable, which is good news for many young couples hoping to buy their first home.
And for those who are already living in Punggol, fret not; these planned developments spell only good news in terms of property prices as the overall value proposition of living in Punggol increases, and you can expect a modest profit if you choose to sell your property in the future.
7. More Green Spaces and Connections
Wrapping up our list of highlights from the URA Master Plan is a key strategic thrust that is not necessarily centred around a particular region, but rather a broad principle to create more green spaces around Singapore.
Image credit: TheSmartLocal
It’s no surprise that we’re known for being a ‘Garden City’, where our modern architecture is integrated with plentiful green spaces; and you can literally see greenery at every turn. True to that spirit, the URA hopes that popular outdoor spaces such as Fort Canning Park, Gardens by the Bay, the various nature reserves and even the Singapore River would be able to support this vision, by providing ample greenery and space for recreation that everyone can enjoy.
In fact, it’s not just about being a Garden City, but to quote the URA: “a waterfront City in a Garden”. Apart from creating more residential, commercial and industrial districts, the government also hopes to enhance and connect our green and blue assets, so that “more people can readily access and enjoy our parks, open spaces and waterfront promenades”.
Overall, the vision is to ensure that Singapore in the next 15 years and beyond will be a place where everyone can enjoy living sustainably.
The URA Masterplan
As you may know, one of the perennial priorities on the top of government’s minds is housing; in particular, it’s common knowledge that affordable housing is one of the government’s perennial priorities, which is why it makes up a significant portion of the Master Plan.
With some of the major infrastructural changes already underway, and many more to come in the next decade, it won’t hurt to plan ahead on where you might want to stay in the future. No doubt it’s early days, but we’re definitely excited to see how Singapore will look like in the future. Will the West be the next ‘in’ place? How will an aviation-inspired town look like? Here’s to great things ahead for housing in Singapore.
Cover image adapted from: URA